The Freerange comedy festival returns to Kendal this month, bringing a troupe of Britain’s top comics and acts to the Lakeland town for three days of laughter.
Comedy legends Mark Steel, Tony Allen, Arthur Smith and Nick Revell top the bill at Kendal’s Brewery Arts Centre, from Friday, May 18 to the following Sunday.
A host of other comic talent bring up the rear, including Edinburgh Fringe hits and, hidden on the Saturday evening while everyone is getting some tea, the Lancashire turn and self-styled sage, Barney Farmer.
Farmer has written for Viz and other lesser publications since 2002, and in 2016 launched a bash at live performance which has since underwhelmed as many people as it has bemused, and appalled at least the same again.
The Lancastrian’s first novel Drunken Baker was published earlier this month to muted response, and Barney says the festival show will largely be an attempt to explain himself.
“I don’t know how many people in the Kendal area have bought the book, but I’m sure they have many questions, and this is their opportunity to air valid concerns,” the writer explained, adding that if anyone threw their copy during his appeal these would not be returned.
“Given the chance I’m sure I can explain to them that while my written thoughts on alcoholism, urban decay and the decline of craft bakery might come across as – and I quote, ‘a thankfully slight incoherent rant’ – they are, at least, not certifiable.”
This will be Farmer’s second appearance at the Warehouse Café, following an ill-fated live bake-off at the venue in 2015.
“They wouldn’t let us near the ovens because we told them we’d also be drinking, heavily, so we were forced to cheat, which was a disgrace,” he said.
“So sadly there’ll be no pretending to make fresh scones then smuggling in some old ones next week. On the bright side, every ticket will entitle the bearer to one free drink, but NOT from the bar.
“I’ll pick up some pocket-money bottles on the day.”
Barney is looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with the Kendal crowd.
“Fraud aside it was a great night, and the audience were brilliant. I just hope we aren’t reduced to physically dragging people in again.”
Farmer takes to the stage on May 19 and Freerange tickets for all shows are available at www.breweryarts.co.uk/whats-on/comedy/
* Barney Farmer’s Drunken Baker is published by Wrecking Ball Press and is available at http://wreckingballpress.com/product/drunken-baker-barney-farmer/ and certain good book shops.