Machynlleth Comedy Festival: Everything You Need to Know
Widely regarded as one of the UK’s best alternative comedy festivals (move over Edinburgh Festival Fringe), ‘Mach Fest’ has become an annual highlight of the Welsh festival season. Find out why Machynlleth Comedy Festival is well worth a visit.
What to know about Machynlleth Comedy Festival
Machynlleth Comedy Festival has cemented itself as one of the best alternative comedy festivals in the UK for good reason.
For over ten years, the festival’s ethos has been simple. Organisers started out by wanting to provide acts with a space to experiment and try out new ideas in a welcoming, intimate environment. It’s always been about helping audiences, comedians and performers, and the wider festival team make the most of their time – everyone should be having fun.
Steeped in picturesque splendour, the town of Machynlleth seemed like the ideal spot to host just such a festival. Aside from the weird, whacky, and wonderful performance spaces that the town offers, it also embodies the warm welcome that’s so characteristic of the Welsh heartlands.
Today, Machynlleth Comedy Festival is a highlight of the UK comedy festival scene. Over half of the thousands of annual attendees at Machynlleth Comedy Festival travel from outside Wales, helping to make this event the standout that it is today.
The festival is by supported by a number of organisations – including BBC Radio Wales, the Welsh Government’s Major Events Unit, Visit Wales, and Powys County Council.
What to expect from Machynlleth Comedy Festival
Machynlleth Comedy Festival takes place annually over the May Day Weekend. Hundreds of shows of different capacities take place in a wide range of locations all in the town. From rooms seating 30 people through to venues hosting over 500, each show is within easy reach of the town’s centre.
Unlike traditional music festivals which see audiences spending money on one all-inclusive ticket that covers a set number of days, at Machynlleth Comedy Festival, you only buy a ticket (or tickets) to the shows you actually want to see. That way, you can watch as much or as little as you like over the course of the weekend.
Just be aware that shows do sell out, so it’s worth booking advance tickets to an event that you’ve got your heart set on via the website. The programme will be available online from early April each year.
Alternatively, there’s also a festival box office at the Owain Glyndwr Centre that sells tickets for all remaining, unsold shows over the weekend. If you have questions about accessibility, there’s also a dedicated email address to contact in advance (email@example.com), and you can get advice at the Access Information Point during the festival itself.
Can I attend with family?
Some shows at the festival do have age limits, so it’s always worth checking these in advance – particularly if you’re buying for anyone under the age of 18.
That said, there are also dedicated family shows with performances for young children. The kids tent also has a free interactive family programme, and some of the free and pop-up performances around the town may be family-friendly, too.
Are there free events?
If you’re based nearby Machynlleth Comedy Festival and fancy heading into the town to soak up the atmosphere, you can head to the Beech Bar in the big top – find it on the laws of Y Plas.
You’ll be able to enjoy a weekend-long, free musical programme there, alongside a range of draught products, wines, spirits, ciders, and a 50 cask festiv-ale that’s unique to the festival.
Is there food and drink?
Machynlleth Comedy Festival works with some of Wales’s best producers to deliver delicious food and drink throughout the festival weekend. As well as the dedicated festival offerings, attendees can also explore some of the town’s fantastic pubs, cafes, and restaurants.
The Beech Bar on the lawns of the Plas has a dedicated cocktail bar alongside a range of other spirits and draught products, and the grass outside the Owain Glyndwr Centre promises similar offerings. Street food traders serving up everything from artisan pizzas to authentic curries can also be found at both locations.
Accommodation and transport for Machynlleth Comedy Festival
Mach Fest sees a relatively small town in mid-Wales attracting comedy fans from all over the UK, meaning it’s wise to plan your transport and accommodation options in advance.
The Machynlleth Comedy Festival website has a helpful section on transport and accommodation options, which includes details on how to camp at the official festival campsite in the centre of town.
How do I get involved?
Besides being one of Machynlleth Comedy Festival’s thousands of audience members, you can also choose to work and volunteer at the festival.
Volunteer opportunities abound in everything from stewarding and box office to environmental impact, with paid opportunities offered to those with the relevant skills and experience.
Machynlleth Comedy Festival – 2023 details
The 2023 Mach Fest takes place over the weekend of Friday 28th to Sunday 30th April.
You’ll be able to enjoy shows from comedians like Phil Wang, Lou Sanders, Rosie Jones, Jessica Fostekew, Alison Spittle, Jen Brister, Ken Cheng, Ivo Graham, and Kiri Pritchard-Mclean across the weekend.
Keep up to date with the latest announcements and highlights by following the festivals’ Twitter and Instagram pages (@machcomedyfest for both), or you can sign up to the festival’s newsletter via their website to receive updates straight to your inbox.