First ever Fringe Comedy Festival hailed a success

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At Hastings’ first ever Fringe Comedy Festival, 65 comedians from up and down the country performed across seven venues in the Old Town.

Organised by local residents Chris Young and Jake Alexander, the three-day event from June 23 to June 25 consisted of a series of free shows at a variety of locations, including the Pump House, Whistle Trago, and Blackmarket VIP to name but a few.

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Comedians such as Doug Segal, Eleanor Conway and Abi Roberts performed alongside a host of circuit comedians, many of whom were previewing their Edinburgh Fringe shows.

A Newcomer of the Year Competition, hosted by comedian Sonia Aste, took place at the Albion on the Saturday, with kids comedy at the chess board on George Street the same afternoon.

In addition, a ticketed gig, hosting the likes of Australian comedian Brendon Burns, President Obonjo, and the festival’s own Chris Young, raised roughly £300 for East Sussex charity, Home Works.

Providing help for those with housing issues in the local area, the organisation will use the donation to top up the welfare fund, enabling the charity to provide support workers for those who are at risk of homelessness.

Branded a success by the public and comedians alike, it is estimated that roughly 3,500 people attended the festival, despite the rainy weather and the various football matches taking place throughout the weekend.

Although the organisers faced some setbacks, including a comedian pulling out of the charity show last minute and Dragon Bar having to close early on the Saturday evening, Mr Young said the event went ‘better than planned’, and described himself as ‘passionate about putting Hastings on the comedy map’. He also hopes that the Fringe will be an annual event and is already involved in talks about the plans for next year.

“This year we had seven venues, hosting comedians over three days. Next year we hope to have ten venues over five days, with a secret venue which no one will know about.

“We will also be holding it mid-June, before Glastonbury this time.”

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