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Saturday, January 5, 2013

What Sucks About Comedy Festivals

Trophy for Best of Show?
Over the last three years we have had a chance to gather a lot of feedback about our festival and also about other festivals our participants have performed in.  Turns out, there are a lot of things that comics think suck about comedy festivals.  Here are a list of some of the ones we heard about most.  These are not in any specific hierarchy. 

1.)  Contest not Festival
That's right, some of the comedy 'festivals' out there are really just contests and not really as much festivals.  The competitive part of these events is what turned off quite a few comedians that we have spoken with over the last few years.  If you are going to make your festival a contest, then call it what it is, a comedy contest.  This doesn't hurt large events like the Seattle or San Francisco Comedy Contests.  Both do very well but they call themselves what they are, comedy contests. To us here at CFCF a festival is a celebration of the specific item the comes before the word festival.  The Cape Fear Comedy Festival is not a contest style-festival but a showcase.

2.)  Not enough stage time
The most common feedback we got from folks was that we didn't give them enough stage time the first few years of our festival. We weren't alone on this.  Many of our attendees claimed that the stage time was scarce at many of the festivals they entered. Many festivals have recognized this complaint and are working to fix it. At The Cape Fear Comedy Festival stage time is now one of our biggest priorities.  We are working with multiple venues in WALKING distance from one another for our festival comics to perform more than once.

3.)  Festivals are Expensive!
Yes they are. In addition to the submission fee you have to travel to them unless they just so happen to be in your home town.

At the Cape Fear Comedy Festival we start networking comics together early in the game for the purposes of car pooling, rental sharing and any other travel cost splitting that helps everyone not only save money but meet and hang out with some awesome fellow comics. We also work with a few local hotels to get discounted rates on rooms. 

The important thing to note from all of this is that we listen to the feedback we receive at the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  We want to improve our festival in multiple ways EVERY YEAR.  While we will never be perfect, we want to balance a well balanced festival with one that is very comedian-centric.  

-Matt Ward
Co-Founder of the Cape Fear Comedy Festival

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