TWO old friends, a glass of wine and one dream – that was the unassuming beginning of the Halls Gap Comedy Festival.
Gariwerd Motel’s Angeline Martin and Cassandra Toombs, of the Tuxedo Cat in Melbourne and Adelaide, were discussing the ten-day gap between the Adelaide Comedy Festival and its Melbourne counterpart when they came up with a solution – bring the comedians to Halls Gap.
Ms Martin said four comedians had already signed on for the first Halls Gap Comedy Festival, with a few more in the works.
She said for the first year the event would be a simple one night of comedy at the Halls Gap Centenary Hall.
“We’re starting small this year, with tickets only $10 and giving heaps away for free,” she said.
“It’s about getting the community support for the festival – when this community supports something it goes great guns.
Ms Martin said eventually the pair envision a four-day festival of absolute comedy.
“This can be huge for our little town and indeed the region,” she said
“Our vision is to have laughter echoing from the mountains and pouring down through the creeks and in every available venue.”
Ms Martin said the community support had been astounding, but she hoped more people would get on board and attend the 200-seat venue.
“It’s gone a bit bonkers,” she said.
“In the first day we sold more than 60 tickers and we’re up to about 80 now.
“The community has really got behind us, everyone is sharing the post.”
The festival’s March 25 show features Deanne Smith, USA, Seymour Mace, UK, Markus Birdman, UK, and Zach and Viggo, Norway.
Ms Martin said not only would Halls Gap businesses benefit from the cash influx and residents from the entertainment – but the event could put Halls Gap in the international spotlight.
“Potentially you could have international exposure,” she said.
“These comedians come from overseas, in many ways Halls Gap is still a bit of a secret so to have international comedians coming in with the easy lure of seeing kangaroos we can give them an experience not to be forgotten.
“People talk and the international exposure would be fantastic.
“This is also something Halls Gap hasn’t really seen before, we’ve got music and exhibitions but having comedy in our own community would give a different flavour to the town.
“We’d hopefully attract people not just from the Wimmera region but Adelaide and Melbourne too.”
Ms Martin said eventually she hopes Halls Gap residents or businesses could ‘foster’ a comedian, providing accommodation and a tour guide during their stay.
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