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.
Some of the 2019 acts included Jordan Brookes, winner of the 2019 Edinburgh Comedy Award; Spencer Jones, The Delightful Sausage and Jessica Fostekew who were all 2019 Edinburgh Comedy Award nominees; and Amusical, who featured in an hour special on Comedy Central. There were also four of Wales’ greatest exports, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Elis James, Tudur Owen and Mike Bubbins, as well as other big household names such as Mark Watson. The headliner on Sunday night was Elis James with a Welsh translation gig. You didn’t need to understand a word of Welsh. A headset was provided and simulataneously translated. 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 and my personal favourites are: Medina - the freshest of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes; Baravin - great food but also, in my opinion, the best cocktails in town; Ultracomida - amazing wines and tapas and the most moreish Tarta de Santiago; Gwesty Cymru - who pride themselves in serving the best of Welsh produce; and Ceredigion Museum - a great option for brunch and free entry to the exhibitions giving you a taste of Ceredigion and Aberystwyth history.