A Message About the 2017 Green Mountain Comedy Festival
A lot of friends, fans and comedians have been asking lately, “what’s the deal with the Green Mountain Comedy Festival this year?” Well, the short answer is, we’re going to take a year off from producing the GMCF in 2017.
The reasons are many, and most boil down to the sheer amount of work and expense that goes into this annual event. Vermont Comedy Club’s physical venue is in its critical first few years, and requires all of Nathan & Natalie’s time and energy to operate. Last year, the GMCF added to that workload a major event, with several dozen shows, nearly a hundred performers, and the myriad promotional and logistical tasks that go along with it. Even with our fabulous volunteer corps, it was too big to handle on top of the full-time operation of the comedy club.
The other thing we discussed at length was the mission of the GMCF. Since its founding by Kathleen Kanz as a single show in the FlynnSpace eight years ago, the purpose of the festival has been twofold: A) to get Vermont comics more stage time, and B) to get locals to realize comedy existed here. Back then there were 12 comics who struggled to find an audience. The scene grew, but our friends still looked at us quizzically, saying “Wait, there’s comedy in Vermont?” It was there, happening in restaurants and bars and bowling alleys, but it was hard to find. The festival was an attempt to shine a light on the existence of a vibrant comedy scene that was developing here.
Now, people know. There are shows happening literally every night at venues around Burlington and throughout the state; there are hundreds of people doing standup, improv and sketch comedy here, and there’s a downtown venue featuring national acts every weekend. Comedians are getting onstage, and locals know there’s comedy here now. So where do we go from here? What’s the new mission of the Green Mountain Comedy Festival? What kind of festival does the Vermont comedy scene need now? What would be a cool new direction to take things in from here?
These are the questions we aim to answer in the coming year, as we take a respite from the GMCF and focus on dialing in operations at the club. Should you have any questions or ideas, feel free to drop us a line. Thanks for your understanding; see you out at the shows!
Nathan, Natalie & Kathleen