The UK Vegan Comedy Festival returns to Brighton

The UK Vegan Comedy Festival is back at VegfestUK Brighton 2017, with a selection of stand-up comedy sessions on Sunday, March 12 at the Brighton Centre.

Carl Donnelly
Carl Donnelly

All the comedians are vegan, and around the 60 per cent of the audience will be too, says VegfestUK manager Tim Barford. The rest aren’t non-vegans, Tim insists. They are pre-vegans.

The notion of a non-vegan is a bit too negative, Tim explains: “Pre-vegans represent people that are yet to get there.

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“For me, being vegan is a philosophy, a way of life. One of the lovely things about Vegfest is that it is there to help people of all stages to see veganism as a way of life that seeks to exclude the use of animals wherever possible. You cease to use animals wherever you can.

“It is just trying to make it clear that if you can get to this point where you don’t use animals, then you have cracked it. The idea is to try to get everybody to that point so that our children can grow up in a world where animals aren’t being used. But is it not a judgemental thing. It is just basically saying ‘Let’s agree that it is a good idea to try to get there. Let us just agree that it is obtainable and desirable.’ But we are not going to be lecturing about it or being puritanical!

“Comedy has been a staple of VegfestUK Brighton for five years now and the VegfestUK organisers are delighted to see the rise of veganism reflected not only in the materials that await at the comedy festival but also in the sheer number of vegan comedians present at the event.

“Headlining the comedy festival is Carl Donnelly. Carl started performing stand-up in 2005 and quickly established himself as one of the UK's most exciting young comedians. Carl has appeared on various TV shows including Mock The Week, Dave's One Night Stand, Stand Up for the Week, Russell Howard's Good News and Comedy Store. His conversational, silly sense of humour saw him win a host of awards (Chortle Best Newcomer 2007, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2007 among others) and become a regular at all of the finest comedy clubs in the UK and Ireland.

“Supporting acts include the brilliantly-wry and award-winning comic Chris Stokes. Chris has been performing stand-up professionally since 2009. His career has seen him support the likes of Milton Jones, Pete Firman and Stewart Francis on tour, appear on Dave's One Night Stand (Channel Dave), BBC Radio 4, 5Live and Radio X (formerly XFM) and take four critically-acclaimed solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“With a hilarious and erudite turn of phrase, Chris has been described as playing on social misconceptions and dismantling them both on stage and on the page via gag-packed first-hand anecdotes told with a charming and offbeat sincerity. Having been vegan for ten years this year, Chris is passionate about veganism and has been talking about it onstage in an approachable and considered way since he began his comedy career.

“Also not to be missed at the comedy festival is Lou Sanders, who has just had her second appearance on Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, starred in Live from the BBC, ABC1's Comedy up Late and Russell Howard's Good News. She has written for 8 out of 10 Cats, Mock the Week, Stand up for the Week and Miranda.

“Other up-and-coming acts performing at the comedy festival include James Cartwright. Rather than just seeking to inflate his ego, James mostly got into comedy to make people laugh with vegans, rather than at them, and examine social taboos from fresh, egalitarian perspectives (even if that means tearing himself down in the process).

“Out of 10 Cats, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Would I Lie to You are just some of the shows James has... heard of, but not been on sadly, but he's watched a lot of them so probably knows what he's doing, and having spent a year on the London comedy circuit, 2017 is already shaping up to be very exciting.”

The comedy festival will be compered by Mike Kelson.

For full schedule of comedians,

Tim added: “Taking place on March 11 and 12 at the Brighton Centre, this massive event consists of a huge amount of vegan food, goodies, shopping, cosmetics, clothing, from 230 stalls and 20 caterers, plus dozens of talks on Easy Veganism, Light Veganism and Deep Veganism, Cookery Demos, an Intersectional Vegan Summit on Saturday, a Vegan Film Festival, a Vloggers Corner, a Teen Zone, a Mature Zone, Kids Cookery Classes, Magic Shows, Face Painting and many more!”

Advance tickets cost £7 per day and £10 for the whole weekend, plus booking fees. They are available on

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