Aberystwyth Comedy Festival is a great excuse to return to my hometown. And what an excuse. Around 50 of the best UK-based comedians descend on this seafront university town and I get to stay at my parents’ house, with all the perks that brings with it. We’re talking three back-to-back days of comedy, so I’ll require some R&R.
When at the Edinburgh Fringe I try to fit in as many shows as possible. But you can never see everything, so near the end of August I find myself prioritising shows to see based on whether I’d be able to catch them in Aberystwyth in the autumn. And this is my chance.
The organisers’ vision for the festival is to provide a space for acts to perform polished shows following ‘work in progress’ slots at Machynlleth Comedy Festival in the spring, and a run at the Edinburgh Fringe over the summer. The festival is already growing and expanding its reach from along the seafront, through the town and up onto the Aberystwyth University campus.
The 2022 line-up included 2019 Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Jessica Fostekew, BBC New Comedy Award winner Yuriko Kotani and great Welsh exports, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Tudur Owen and Steffan Alun.
On Saturday acts included Tim Key, Sikisa, Alex Kealy, David O’Doherty, Athena Kugblenu and comedy in Welsh from Dan Thomas. On the bill for Sunday were Ed Gamble, Rosie Jones, Stephen Bailey, Angela Barnes, Chloe Petts and me. There was also a comedy translation gig. You don’t need to understand a word of Welsh, as the comedians provide the translation. Complete chaos, but a heck of a lot of fun.
In between shows, the possibilities for socialising are endless. Over the last ten years, Aberystwyth’s food and drink scene has really matured. Ultracomida has amazing wines and tapas and the most moreish Tarta de Santiago.