A rare copy of the 2001 Birmingham Comedy Festival brochure. The debut festival ran from May 5 to May 13, 2001.
Birmingham Comedy Festival 2001 brochure cover — the first and final year the festival used Comic Sans for a logo.

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Birmingham Comedy Festival, making the annual arts festival the second longest-running comedy festivals in the UK, and one of the longest running multi-site independent arts festivals in the West Midlands.

Here, we quiz the festival’s founder, Dave Freak, to get the lowdown on how it all started …


Birmingham street artist Foka Wolf.

Over the last few years, Birmingham-based street artist Foka Wolf has found his bold posters and flyers increasingly grabbing the headlines and going viral.

With his work appearing mysteriously and suddenly on street corners, in doorways, and even on public transport — where it’s quickly snapped and shared online — some have referred to him as ‘Brum’s Banksy’.

Using the language and style of advertising, Foka’s cheeky paste-ups publicise voodoo classes for children, the Conservative Party’s plans to “cut all homeless people in half by 2025”, and predict the arrival of Robocop-styled police units — all, it must be stressed…


Singer Robert Lloyd and members of The Nightingales in the background.
Robert Lloyd and The Nightingales.

Comedian Stewart Lee is such a big fan of Birmingham band The Nightingales, he’s made a film celebrating their career.

Written by Lee, directed by Michael Cumming (Brass Eye and Toast Of London) and produced by Fire Films (The Ballad of Shirley Collins), entertaining rock-doc King Rocker traces the hitless band’s 40-plus year history, and ponders why frontman Robert Lloyd and his combo have curiously continued to remain outsiders - despite substantial critical acclaim.

The Nightingale’s story begins in the late-1970s with The Prefects, who are often (divisively) cited as Birmingham’s first ever punk band.

“I think that is right…

Birmingham Comedy Festival

Award-winning arts festival. Making Britain’s Second City laugh since 2001.

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