Comedian, actor, musician and Strictly Come Dancing winner BILL BAILEY has been announced as the headline act for the first ever Festival of Comedy on Friday 13th August at Tredegar Park in Newport.

More star studded names have just been added to the line up that includes Ed Byrne one of Ireland’s finest comedic exports, Britain’s Got Talent finalist Robert White, Helen Bauer, Barry Castagnola and MC’d by Jarred Christmas. They will join the already incredible line up of Bill Bailey, Reginald D Hunter and Gary Delaney at the Festival of Comedy.

BILL BAILEY is such a familiar face across the UK, due to his popular stand-up comedy, musical virtuosity as well as his perennial presence on panel shows. Tackling topics as diverse as philosophy, politics and personal happiness, Bailey is lauded as one of the funniest comics on the British circuit.

He’s also well-known for his acting roles Black Books, Midsomer Murders and Hot Fuzz. The West country legend all danced his way into the nations hearts by winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2020 and becoming the oldest ever winner of the show.

He is of course a comedian, but also a musician, writer, author, director, presenter and keen stand-up paddle-boarder known for his live shows such as Part Troll, Tinselworm, Qualmpeddler and Limboland and his work on the television programmes Black Books, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI.

Bill was listed by The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy in 2003. In 2007, and again in 2010, he was voted the seventh greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups.

The music, although an integral part of his act, is a serious thing for him. He is a classically trained musician and anyone who has seen his live shows leaves dazzled by his skill on any instrument he picks up.

He can deliver a killer punchline but his more high-minded, philosophical riffs are amazing, intelligent, accessible, thoughtful and hilariously funny.

Bill Bailey to headline the first ever Festival Of Comedy at Tredegar Park in August

Since the early ’00s, Bailey has been wowing audiences with his live shows. In 2001, he crossed the pond bringing Bewilderness to New York for eight weeks, while 2004 saw him perform Part Troll at over 50 venues around the UK.

His comedic extravaganza Tinseltown helped earn him a reputation for outrageous routines. In 2007, Bill took it on a sold-out UK arena tour, then headed to Australia and New Zealand in 2008, before returning home for a 10-week residency at London’s Gielgud Theatre. 

The passing years brought more live shows, each with different twists and replete with musical offerings. From 2009’s Bill Bailey Live and Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra, to 2010’s Dandelion Mind and 2015’s Limboland, he has been selling out venues and raking in critical acclaim.

While we can’t quite say ‘won’t you come home Bill Bailey’ he does have his roots just over the water from Newport. Bill was not only a very academic King Edward School pupil in Bath, but also a pretty good sportsman. He would often combine music and sport by leading the singing on the long coach trip back from away rugby fixtures. It was here that he was given his nickname Bill by his music teacher, Lynda Phipps, for being able to play the song “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” so well on the guitar.

Bill Bailey

He launched his Larks in Transit tour in 2018, which explored his many tales of shenanigans and mayhem from over 20 years as a travelling comedian. The final leg of the tour had to be cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but he’s now announced a new limited run of socially-distanced performances to take place this summer.

Joining Bill on the show will be REGINALD D HUNTER & GARY DELANEY.

Since Reginald’s first UK comedy gig twenty-one years ago Georgia-born Reginald D Hunter’s searingly honest observations both onstage and on TV and Radio have garnered him a cross-generational fan base.

During that time he has become one of the Comedy industry’s best-known performers for his distinctive take on the most diverse range of subjects. His work can be brutally honest and is often considered to be controversial but it is always meticulously thought out and he has never been afraid to face challenging issues head on even when the focus is on his own principles or beliefs. Reginald has appeared frequently on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, QI and Have I Got News For You?

We’re sure you’ll have seen Reginald on TV over the years. His appearances have included Never Mind The Buzzcocks, QI and Have I Got News For You? He also filmed two series of the BBC2’s hugely popular Reginald D Hunter’s Songs Of The South & Reginald D Hunter’s Songs of The Border, documenting Reginald’s epic road trip through 150 years of American popular song.

GARY DELANEY not only performs his comedy but is actually one of the most sought-after joke writers in the country and longstanding Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo special guest. Gary’s shows are packed with hit after hit of side-splitting one-liners. To this day Gary’s the only comic ever to have got two gags in the same top 10 for Dave’s TV Funniest Jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe.

This is definitely worth a watch. Grab a cuppa and settle down to half an hour of Gary’s finest.

He put this compilation together of all 18 times he did the Wheel of News round on Mock The Week between 2012 and 2017. It’s mostly stuff from his first and second tours, and a lot of it he later reused on Live at the Apollo.

Just announced, for what is sure to be one amazing Festival is Ed Byrne, Robert White, Helen Bauer, Barry Castagnola and MC’d by Jarred Christmas.

During his twenty years in comedy, ED BYRNE has enjoyed huge critical and popular success in the UK and Ireland. He has performed hit tours, sold out many runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, had a successful two-week run in the West End and appeared on radio, television, the stage and the big screen including Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You, and has made several memorable appearances on the Graham Norton Show.

Ed Byrne

ROBERT WHITE first came onto the stand-up scene, as a finalist in the prestigious Hackney Empire competition. Robert has gone from strength to strength, and in 2010 won the Malcolm Hardee main award at the Edinburgh Festival and came 2nd in Britain’s Got Talent in 2018. He now is a sought-after act who regularly performs in big clubs, little clubs and those in-between around the UK and abroad.

Robert White

HELEN BAEUR is one of the fastest rising names in British Comedy; In August 2019, her debut show at the Edinburgh Festival beat out 700 other shows to be nominated for the Best Newcomer Award. Since then she has appeared on Fat Chat (Comedy Central), Edinburgh Nights (BBC Two), Period Dramas (BBC Three), Unexpected Fluids (Radio 1), and Radio 4’s Comedy Club (Radio 4).

Helen Baeur

BARRY CASTAGNOLA is also a regular on the club circuit with appearances on Live At The Comedy Store (Comedy Central) and The Stand Up Show (BBC1). He’s also supported Greg Davies and Rhod Gilbert on tour.

Barry Castagnola

Hosting the event will be JARRED CHRISTMAS, who’s unique style that deftly mixes gags with storytelling. His dynamic onstage persona and the ability to improvise and roll with anything that’s thrown his way, makes his comedy sizzle with originality.

Jarred Christmas

Accompanying the stellar line-up of live comedy will be a live house band, street food, a fun fair and so much more to be announced alongside a special guest compere!

The Giggling Goat and Just The Tonic are teaming up this event. Just the Tonic is a comedy club with branches in Nottingham and Leicester, which also takes acts to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Johnny Vegas has claimed that Just the Tonic is “the best comedy club in the country”. The club also promote their own shows across the UK and have over 25 years of experience.

The team behind The Giggling Goat is also the team who will also be bringing FEEDER back home to Tredegar Park on the 6th August, Wales’ best retro festival Party in the Park and the longstanding Colour Clash Festival.

THE FESTIVAL OF COMEDY is live at Tredegar Park on Friday 13th August. It starts at 5pm and is a full on evening of comedy, music and food, finishing around 10pm. Tickets are available right now, and you can get yours HERE

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