Jason Manford promising a three-day feast of fun for Blackpool's first comedy festival this weekend

Jason Manford launches Blackpool Comedy Festival tonight
Jason Manford launches Blackpool Comedy Festival tonight
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North West comedian Jason Manford says he cannot wait to open the doors on the resort’s first-ever comedy festival this weekend.

This Friday and Saturday the resort is set to welcome some of the biggest names on the UK’s comedy circuit from John Bishop, to Mick Miller and Adam Hills under one roof at the Opera House, Winter Gardens.

See here for the opening night line-up: https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/whats-on/entertainment/here-is-the-line-up-for-tonight-s-opening-of-the-blackpool-comedy-festival-hosted-by-jason-manford-at-the-winter-gardens-1-9761957

Speaking to The Gazette, Salford-born Manford added he was delighted with the sell-out success of the two-day event and plans were already underway to see its return in 2020.

He said: “I’ve always loved Blackpool - I have a strong connection with it from childhood.”

“Blackpool is undoubtedly the comedy capital of Britain . It’s part of its heritage.

“Some of my best moments and memories are tied up here – it was the obvious choice,”

Manford will open proceedings as compere for Jason Manford and Friends tonight (May 10) John Bishop will host Saturday.

He said: “I’d had this vision of a festival for some time, it just seemed crazy there wasn’t already one.

“The Winter Gardens got on board and it’s such a fantastic space.

“It’s taken a lot of work of many people involved but its grown and grown and it’s great to see it take off.

“There is so much top talent on the bill and we really want to see a buzz about the place.”

The headline shows are a sell-out but Manford said the late shows featuring some of the best rising stars on the circuit right now still have tickets available.

The new weekend event taking over the Winter Gardens will welcome more than 20 of the UK’s top entertainers from big name acts to those rising through the comedy club circuit.

Manford added: “To have some of the biggest names together for the weekend in the home of British comedy totally makes sense and I’m so pleased to have been able to call in a few favours and have it so well supported.

“It has taken some work but this is a chance for people to enjoy top quality very funny comics and some big shows on the doorstep."

And he is calling on audiences to come and join with a unique crowd karaoke event to take place in the Arena, Winter Gardens following the Jason Manford and Friends show the first night

Manford said the after-show sing song, open to everyone, would be a great way to finish the first night.

He said: “We’ve hosted the crowd karaoke in a few places now as part of the friends events and they’re always a lot of fun and a real laugh.

“The live band adds something else and I’m not just saying it but they really are amazing.

“We get the big screen up , some belting tunes and it’s not just Stacey attempting to croak it out on the mic but everyone joining in.

“I’ll be there to get you all started and it’s not just for those who have been at the earlier show, anyone can come and join us.”

The after-show Crowd Karaoke is set to take place in the Arena, Winter Gardens on Friday 10 May, following the Jason Manford & Friends show which is taking place in the Opera House.

A portion of the ticket sales from the After-show Karaoke event are to be donated to two local Blackpool charities Brian House and Streetlife.

Tickets for this event are available for £16.50 at www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk.