THE Somerset Comedy Festival – which was to be held at venues across the county – has hit a financial crisis and many of the shows have had to be cancelled.

But the organiser, Trish Caller, says some smaller shows will still go ahead and she is confidently talking about a big festival next year.

Trish said: “The Somerset Comedy Festival has been a dream of mine for so long. But the reality is these are tough times for people and tickets for some of our bigger events just haven’t sold. I have no option but to cancel them.

“I don’t think the timing of the general election has helped. People are just feeling nervous about everything right now. But I’m already planning for next year.”

Stars like Sean Walsh, once described as the best observational comedian of his generation, doctor-turned-comedian Phil Hammond, Royal Variety Show performer and famous prankster Simon Brodkin and Emmanuel Sonubi, who has gathered a huge following after being voted best newcomer at the Edinburgh Fridge in 2022, were due to headline the festival throughout July. But all their shows are off.

Of the 40 shows which had been planned in Taunton, Bridgwater, Weston-super-Mare and Bridgwater, 22 are having to be called off. People who have bought tickets will get their money back.

A full list of cancelled shows cancelled and information on how to get refunds can be found here:

But Trish is hopeful that the shows which are still going ahead – including those at Tacchi Morris Arts Centre, Taunton Minster, The Castle Hotel and the CICCIC venue in Taunton – will attract good audiences and she is urging people to buy tickets.

She said: “I often find that people say they intend to buy tickets for an event but they haven’t got round to it yet. I would plead with those people - buy the tickets now and we can make sure parts of the festival can be saved.”

“I will be working hard to get sponsors on board for next year, not just financial support but people who can, for instance, help us with marketing and promotion. Next year will be different.”