Outdoor comedy gig lined up at Great Dalby farm
Farms across the Melton borough are having to diversify to cope with the challenges of a depressed economy and the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and one is set to take the unusual step of hosting a comedy gig.
James Mann came up with the idea at Great Dalby’s Vine Farm Dairy to use the land for a socially-distanced outdoor show.
He used to go to the town’s former King Edward VII School two decades ago with local comedian Jon Pearson and decided to give him a ring.
James recalled: “I’ve been following Jon’s career over social media since we left school.
“I saw that he was looking for outdoor spaces to abide with the government guidelines on social distancing, so I gave him a call.
“Surprisingly he still has the same phone number from 20 years ago.”
The pair hadn’t spoken since studying geography A-level but quickly came to the conclusion that it was a great idea.
They plan two gigs on Sunday August 30 - one at 4pm and the other at 7.30pm.
Jon said: “The farm is perfect for this new type of stand-up gig.
“Big outdoor spaces with plenty of room for people, all at a safe distance from each other.”
And he couldn’t resist a couple of farm-related jokes, quipping: “I just hope we can be herd.
“Sorry I love a pun, but don’t worry, I won’t milk it.”
The farm has already innovated with the launch two years ago of a milk vending machine, using the produce of its 350-strong dairy herd, and they hope the comedy event will be equally successful.
Audience members will be asked to bring their own alcohol and chairs but there will be hay bales available for those who want a proper countryside feel on the day.
Each show will have a maximum capacity of 50 people with the headline act being Tom Wrigglesworth, a star of BBC Radio 4, BBC3 and Comedy Central.
Jon continued: “Due to the popularity of the evening show and it being on a bank holiday Sunday, we have also now put on an early matinee show at 4pm.
“This is fantastic for the comics as we have all been missing the rush of performing to a live audience.”
Since lockdown started Jon has been successfully hosting Comedy Virtually Live, an online standup show via Zoom, streamed onto social media, but he is itching to get out and see real people again.
“My love of comedy comes from creating something in the moment, be that a heckle put down or just talking to the audience and creating something funny out of nothing,” added Jon.
“Spontaneous comedy, for me, is always the best.”
Vine Farm has been a family farm for over a century and the dairy started in the 1950s with two cows which were milked by hand.
Tickets are selling well for [email protected] and are available online at www.JonPearson.co.uk/Tickets and cost £8 each.
The farm is on Top End in the village with doors opening at 3.30pm and 6.30pm for the respective shows.