Leading Brum musicians set for comedy festival line-up

Robert Lloyd and The Nightingales

Birmingham Comedy Festival is welcoming two leading local music acts into their 2020 line-up.

With the current pandemic knocking the festival’s venue-based line-up back (regular festival venues such as Town Hall Symphony Hall, MAC and Old Joint Stock Theatre are yet to re-open, for example), organisers have shifted their attention online for a series of free daily activities, chats and streams.

Running from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 October 2020, activities will also be available on-demand / for catch-up after they’ve debuted.

Among the line-up are appearances from The Nightingales and musician Dan Whitehouse.

Emerging out of Brum’s punk scene Robert Lloyd’s The Nightingales were firm John Peel favourities, and should – if there was any justice in the world – be to Birmingham what The Fall were to Manchester!

Sadly, the closet they’ve ever been to a hit record was a Top 75 appearance for Rockin’ With Rita with Fuzzbox as part of a team-up for Brum (anti) comedian Ted Chippington in the mid-80s.

But the band’s fortunes are changing as their 10th long-player, Four Against Fate, is their most successful to date, and comedian Stewart Lee has also made a documentary about them. Entitled King Rocker, the film debuts at Sheffield Doc Fest at the end of October, with a cinema release to follow further down the line.

Robert Lloyd will tell more in a festival podcast, released on Saturday 10 October 2020.

In the wake of his surprising Dreamland Tomorrow album, the Black Country’s Dan Whitehouse has composed a new score for Charlie Chaplin‘s silent The Vagabond. His instrumental compositions owe more to the textures and electronics of his recent album than the acoustic-based songs that he’s previously been best known for.

Dan’s score for The Vagabond is available from Monday 5 October 2020.

The festival has also produced a two episode online sketch show which they’ve called, somewhat descriptively, The Sketch Show.

Episode One, featuring improv’ troupe Jumprov, Josh Pugh, Craig Deeley, Linda Hargreaves, Harvey Hawkins, Mary Flanigan, and Celya AB, is available now, with Episode Two due on Friday 9 October 2020.

Also appearing across the 10-days are Carl Donnelly, Laura Lexx, James Cook, Maureen Younger, BBCWM’s Daz Hale, Mrs Barbara Nice, Clinton Baptiste/ Alex Lowe, Richard Dadd, and Lindsey Santoro.

In addition, the festival is also releasing a new merchandise line, which includes t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, coasters, and more.

With a strong emphasis on local acts, coupled with an appreciation of the city’s rich cultural heritage, it’s a surprising and intriguing programme – made even more impressive given the challenges arts organisations, such as the festival, face in these Covid-dominated times.

For the full line-up, including details of how and where to watch (including catch-up), see: www.bhamcomfest.co.uk

Birmingham Comedy Festival 2020 poster / graphic – featuring Linda Hargreaves as Shyrell Torks.

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