Manchester Comedy Festival cancelled due to funding cuts

Michael Quinn

This year’s Manchester Comedy Festival has been cancelled and the future of the 11-year-old event seems uncertain following the withdrawal of funding by Manchester City Council.

The annual festival was established in 2001 by Comedy Store founder Don Ward, who said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the collapse of this year’s festival, which was scheduled for October.

Blaming government cuts for “wiping out funding for a lot of festivals”, Ward said that the festival’s funding “has shrunk down over the years but with the help of comics in the Manchester area we just scraped through last year. But we can’t ask comics to do that every year”.

Ward added that “we are not saying goodbye but goodnight” and that he will re-evaluate plans for a possible revival of the festival in 2013 at a later date.

Executive member of Manchester City Council’s culture and leisure department Rosa Battle said: “We’ve been proud to support Manchester comedy festival but unfortunately the government’s settlement – which left the council having to save £109 million over two years – meant that we had to take the difficult decision to discontinue funding, although we continued to offer in-kind support. We hope to see its return in the not too distant future and would be happy to assist in whatever way we can.”

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