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In its second year, this weekend’s Great Outdoors Comedy Festival is one of those feel-good, pandemic success stories.
“We were one of the first events in Canada coming out of COVID to fly Americans across the border,” said producer Mike Anderson of TRIXstar Entertainment of last year’s fest featuring David Spade and Nikki Glasser at the two-day event entertaining 4,000 people each day .
This year’s is bigger and better, Friday through Sunday, and Anderson happily lists off some of the talent.
“We’ve got Tom Segura, Amy Schumer, Nick Swardson from Adam Sandler movies. There’s Bobby Lee from Mad TV, Pauly Shore, Becky Robinson, and many more.
“Tom Segura’s got a couple of the most popular podcasts out there, one with his wife Christina Pazsitzky, and one with Bert Kreischer, 2 Bears, 1 Cave,” said Anderson. “About COVID he’s just become this monster superstar selling out arenas.
“And Amy Schumer: iconic comedian turned actor. We’re thrilled to have her, and it’s great to have two different styles of comedy coming in for different audiences, making sure we have something for everybody.”
The full lineup is Nick Swardson, Bobby Lee, Pauly Shore and Becky Robinson Friday; Amy Schumer and Friends Saturday; and Tom Segura, Trevor Wallace, Michael Blaustein, Ricky Velez and Maddy Smith Sunday. There will also be local comedians and DJs throughout the three days.
The setup will mirror last year’s, tickets available at reserved tables of two, four and six people with a limited number of general admission, first-come-first-served spots in a grass seating area. Find them all at greatoutdoorscomedyfestival.com.
“We were going to get rid of the tables, but the reviews on it were incredible,” Anderson said, but they have shifted to eliminate the biggest lineups at the festival for merch and beer.
From your table, using Apple Pay or Google Pay, you just order whatever you want and it’s brought your way within minutes.
“So we’ve designed the world’s largest comedy club that’s outdoors,” Anderson laughs, currently in Ontario, scouting out locations to make this Alberta festival a national thing. He also notes next year’s fest will be in Kinsman Park under the High Level Bridge.
The GOCF has again partnered with Boyle Street Community Services, donating $2 a ticket, the 50/50 sales, and employing people through the non-profit’s Hiregood program.
“They’re just the greatest group I’ve ever worked with. The smile on their faces, kept the place clean — everybody loved having them around.”
Everyone’s welcome to bring their own camping chairs, though there are also folding chairs provided on site. And blankets, towels and festival chairs are allowed in the general admission area.
The event is 18+, no minors, and is a go rain or shine. Parking will cost you $15, so consider taking the LRT.
Other than that, any advice?
“Get ready to laugh,” Anderson says. “It’s been such a success we’re going national.”
Great Outdoors Comedy Festival
when Aug. 12-14
Where Edmonton Exhibition Lands Racetrack Infield
Tickets $49-199 at greatoutdoorcomedyfestival.com