How the Cape Fear Comedy Festival Gave Away Thousands of Dollars in Comedy Festival Submissions

2015_0211_GIVEAWAYby Matt Ward

Many comics out there feel that comedy festivals are a money grab.  In many cases, I agree.  Comedians end up the primary source of capital for comedy festivals all across the country.

The Cape Fear Comedy Festival owes a lot to the comics that have submitted that allowed us to grow to what we are today. We recognized a few years ago that we needed to put in place a strategy that gradually eliminated the need for comedians to be the primary funding for the operations and promotions of our festival. In 2013 we began allowing comics that had submitted in the past and not gotten in to receive a discount on submission.

In 2014 we carried on this tradition.  Many submitted for free, all past performers submitted for free and discounts were given to those that had previously submitted and not gotten in. All of this is done to move closer to one ultimate end goal;  To make festival submissions free to all comedians.  We knew we couldn’t do this all at once, but could make slight changes every year in order to increase the affordability of submitting to our festival.

Before we began accepting submissions for the 2015 Cape Fear Comedy Festival we made a big decision.  How do we take the next step?  How do we make it even cheaper for comics to submit?  How about making it free?  Well, sure, that’s the end goal, we discussed, but can we afford it?  Probably not.  What if we made it free for a short period of time?  We did just that. And the response was, well, overwhelming.

On December 1st, 2014 submissions to the Cape Fear Comedy Festival went live and were free for the first 72 hours.  Our site crashed due to something unrelated and we extended our submissions for exactly how many hours the site was down. In the end, we had 151 people submit for free.  This totaled $3775 in submission money we decided to give away.

In addition to the money we decided to forfeit that surely would have been helpful in paying for things, we also added likely 8 hours of work reviewing and making decisions on these submissions.  So what the fuck did we go and do that dumb shit for?  Because we are comics.  We KNOW comics are broke.  We KNOW how expensive it is to drive to a comedy festival and get paid nothing to perform and have to pay for your own food and your own room.

We continue to work on every aspect of our festival to make it the BEST experience a comedian can have of any comedy festival in the country.  We strive to fully fund our comedy festival with ticket sales and sponsorships and to one day not have to charge for submissions.  That’s why we did it.  We thank those that submitted for free and we thank those that paid to submit.  Without each and every one of you, our festival would be nothing.

Finally, we decided this year, festival submissions would stay $25 the whole time.  They wouldn’t go up to a higher fee at any point. That being said, submissions end this Sunday February 15th at Midnight.  Thank you for reading this, and it would be an honor if you could take a moment to share this blog.  To submit to our 2015 Festival, Go here>>

CFCF2016 Partners

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *