Top stand-ups bring plenty of laughs to socially-distanced comedy festival
- Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL
Having been one of the hardest-hit sectors of the arts during the pandemic, stand-up comics finally got their chance to get back on stage over the weekend at Cambridge Comedy Festival.
With each comedian given between 20-40 minutes to test out the new material that they had been crafting throughout the lockdown, the socially distanced three-dayer gave people the chance to watch their favourites in quick succession.
Being a camping festival, and with its own dedicated children's stage, the long-weekender at Abbots Ripton also gave families the chance to make the most of one of the first outdoor events of the year.
Aside from Friday's "apocalyptic" downpour, which resulted in dozens of shorts-wearing festival-goers cowering for cover under the nearby trees, the rest of the weekend went off without a hitch.
Alongside headline sets from Rob Beckett, Dara O Briain, Milton Jones and Al Murray, newer names Tom Allen, Rosie Jones, Angela Barnes, Jack Gleadlow and Maisie Adam also proved why they could easily top the bill in the future.
Spread across three stages - the 'main stage' with a massive screen above it, the seated Amphitheater on the hill and the Glade inside the forest - there was certainly no shortage of laughs to be had.
Nestled among the trees, The Glade offered an up-close setting for stage-standouts Rachel Fairburn, Esther Manito and Diane Spencer while Sarah Keyworth and Britain's Got Talent star Nabil Abdulrashid stormed the intimate Amphitheatre.
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Commendable, too, was the fact that - after the Prime Minister delayed 'freedom day' - the festival organisers adapted things to ensure everything was as Covid-safe as it possibly could be.
Enlarging the campsite, marking out socially distanced squares and reducing the overall capacity helped give reassurance to people who may have been wary about being near a few hundred people.
Overall, Cambridge Comedy Festival was just what everyone needed: a weekend of (almost) normality with friends, and plenty of long-awaited laughs courtesy of a huge line-up stacked with the country's best stand-ups.