More top comics distance themselves from 'woefully handled' Comedy in the Park and say they've NOT been rebooked for next year's gigs

Katherine Ryan, Nish Kumar and Ed Gamble are among those who say they have nothing in the diary for the dates that are STILL being promoted

Friday, 20th August 2021, 10:22 am
Updated Friday, 20th August 2021, 11:33 am
All these stars now say they'll not appear at next year's gigs that are due to take place around the country. Images: Getty.

Comedians due to take to the stage on Comedy in the Park events, including one at Wicksteed Park this summer, have confirmed that they have not been rebooked for the rescheduled dates.

The event organisers, M&B Promotions and Wicksteed Open Air Theatre, with ticketing under the auspices of sister company Easy Ticketing, has failed to respond to customers on its social media channels and is still promoting a series of gigs around the country despite some of the UK's best comedians saying they're not on the line-up.

Katherine Ryan, Nish Kumar, Dara O Briain, Al Murray, Desiree Burch, Ed Gamble and Tom Davis all confirmed on Twitter that they have not been booked for the new dates that were rescheduled to next year after being postponed this summer.

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And bookers A Rush of Laughter have also now said they have severed ties with Easy Ticketing because the disagree with their 'no returns' policy.

The Northants Telegraph told this morning how Judi Love and Rob Beckett have already pulled out of the Wicksteed gigs following concerns over audience members not being given refunds. Many people had asked for their money back after saying they could no longer make the dates of the rearranged gigs. Now it has emerged the Tom Davies and Al Murray have also pulled out leaving only James Acaster and John Bishop on the bill.

Billed as the UK Biggest Comedy Event, there are gigs planned for Wicksteed Park, Norwich, Exeter, Gloucester, Lincoln, Southport and Temple Newsham in Leeds.

Acts John Bishop, Russell Kane, Rob Beckett, Al Murray, Nish Kumar, Jason Manford, Ed Gamble, Dara O Briain, Katherine Ryan, Paul Cowdhry, Phil Wang, Judi Love, Fern Brady, Desiree Burch, Tom Davis, James Acaster and Paul Smith had all been booked to take place in one or more of the shows last year. The promoter said fans were 'guaranteed' to see six of the line-up.

Marketing is still ongoing on social media despite the serious issues. Easy Ticketing and M&B Promotions were signed over to a firm of accountants in May.

When asked on social media by a fan if the comedians were booked for next summer's new dates, Katherine Ryan said: "I'm not rescheduled." Nish Kumar said: "Me neither." Dara O Biriain said: "Neither am I." and Al Murray said: "Snap." Desiree Burch said: "Me neither." Ed Gamble also said he had not been rebooked. Bafta award-winning Tom Davis, who had been due to play the Wicksteed gig, also said: "I'm 100% not involved. The whole thing has been woefully handled. Sorry to anyone who has lost money due to this, bad form from organisers."

A Rush of Laughter Comedy Management said on social media: "As some of you may be aware, A Rush of Laughter was acting as an external comedy booker for M&B Promotions and the Comedy in the Park gigs.

"We terminated this agreement three weeks ago after it became apparent M&B Promotions and their sister company have been refusing to refund customers for the Comedy in the Park gigs they themselves had cancelled.

"AROL does not approve of or condone this sort of behaviour and is now working with other agencies and some of the venues to get everyone refunded.

"Going forward neither AROL nor any of its acts will be working with M&B Promotions or Easy Ticketing again."

M&B Promotions and East Ticketing have not responded to requests for comment.

Katherine Ryan's agent Kitty Laing spoke to our reporters yesterday to say that she had been trying to help fans get their money back after Katherine's gig was cancelled at the last minute.

M&B Promotions and Easy Ticketing are also running a series of music gigs at Wickesteed Park this year including McFly, Craig David, 80s in the Park and UB40. Their future is, as yet, unknown.

M&B and Easy Ticketing have not responded to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Wicksteed Park said: "We would like to apologise for the uncertainty and confusion surrounding events due to be held at Wicksteed Park by M and B Promotions.

"As the venue booked by the promoter for the events, we are also seeking clarity on the situation as we are relying on revenue from them to help with the park’s recovery.

"The events are not our events but we accept that by agreeing for them to be held at the park we have given them our support.

"We are liaising with other venues due to host M and B events, and which appear to be in a similar situation to us, and are working to try and find out as much information as possible, which we will share as soon as we can. “