Top stand-ups bring plenty of laughs to socially-distanced comedy festival

Rob Beckett, Russell Kane, Tom Allen, Rosie Jones, Dara O' Briain and Nina Conti at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Stand-up comics including Rob Beckett, Russell Kane, Tom Allen, Rosie Jones, Dara O' Briain and Nina Conti performed at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Having been one of the hardest-hit sectors of the arts during the pandemic, stand-up comics finally got their chance to get back on stage over the weekend at Cambridge Comedy Festival

Rosie Jones smashed her main stage set at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Rosie Jones smashed her main stage set at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

With each comedian given between 20-40 minutes to test out the new material that they had been crafting throughout the lockdown, the socially distanced three-dayer gave people the chance to watch their favourites in quick succession.

Tom Allen stormed the main stage at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Tom Allen stormed the main stage at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Being a camping festival, and with its own dedicated children's stage, the long-weekender at Abbots Ripton also gave families the chance to make the most of one of the first outdoor events of the year. 

A recent leg operation couldn't stop Dara O' Briain from making it to the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

A recent leg operation couldn't stop Dara O' Briain from making it to the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Aside from Friday's "apocalyptic" downpour, which resulted in dozens of shorts-wearing festival-goers cowering for cover under the nearby trees, the rest of the weekend went off without a hitch. 

Rob Beckett was the Friday night headliner at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Rob Beckett was the Friday night headliner at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Alongside headline sets from Rob Beckett, Dara O Briain, Milton Jones and Al Murray, newer names Tom Allen, Rosie Jones, Angela Barnes, Jack Gleadlow and Maisie Adam also proved why they could easily top the bill in the future. 

Maisie Adam was one of the highlights at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Maisie Adam was one of the highlights at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL


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Spread across three stages - the 'main stage' with a massive screen above it, the seated Amphitheater on the hill and the Glade inside the forest - there was certainly no shortage of laughs to be had. 

Hilarious ventriloquist Nina Conti pulled up a couple from the audience during her set at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Hilarious ventriloquist Nina Conti pulled up a couple from the audience during her set at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Nestled among the trees, The Glade offered an up-close setting for stage-standouts Rachel Fairburn, Esther Manito and Diane Spencer while Sarah Keyworth and Britain's Got Talent star Nabil Abdulrashid stormed the intimate Amphitheatre.

Milton Jones' quirky one-liners were a huge hit on Friday night at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Milton Jones' quirky one-liners were a huge hit on Friday night at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

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Commendable, too, was the fact that - after the Prime Minister delayed 'freedom day' - the festival organisers adapted things to ensure everything was as Covid-safe as it possibly could be.

Russell Kane performing at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Russell Kane performing at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Enlarging the campsite, marking out socially distanced squares and reducing the overall capacity helped give reassurance to people who may have been wary about being near a few hundred people.

Phil Nichol at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Phil Nichol at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Overall, Cambridge Comedy Festival was just what everyone needed: a weekend of (almost) normality with friends, and plenty of long-awaited laughs courtesy of a huge line-up stacked with the country's best stand-ups.

Angela Barnes on Friday night at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

Angela Barnes on Friday night at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Diane Spencer's lockdown experiences had the crowd at the Cambridge Comedy Festival's Glade stage crying with laughter. 

Diane Spencer's lockdown experiences had the crowd at the Cambridge Comedy Festival's Glade stage crying with laughter. - Credit: MATTHEW POWER PHOTOGRAPHY

Aerial view of the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival at Grange Farm, Abbots Ripton, on Saturday July 10.

Aerial view of the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival at Grange Farm, Abbots Ripton, on July 10. - Credit: TERRY HARRIS

The Cambridge Comedy Festival. Grange Farm, Abbots Ripton Saturday 10 July 2021. 

The Cambridge Comedy Festival. Grange Farm, Abbots Ripton Saturday 10 July 2021. - Credit: TERRY HARRIS

England supporters were out in force at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

England supporters were out in force at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

The crowd at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

The crowd at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL

The crowd at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival.

The crowd at the 2021 Cambridge Comedy Festival. - Credit: CAMBRIDGE COMEDY FESTIVAL


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