Vail to host three-day comedy festival on Memorial Day Weekend
The inaugural Vail Comedy Festival features over 30 comedians performing in venues throughout Vail
This Memorial Day Weekend, the Town of Vail and the creator of the Vail Comedy Show are teaming up to put on the first ever Vail Comedy Festival, a three-day affair featuring 31 comedians from all over the country.
On Friday, May 27 through Sunday, May 29, stand-up comedy acts will be taking place throughout the day in different venues around Vail Village. Bridge Street Bar, the home of the Vail Comedy Show, will be the central venue of the festival, with additional restaurants and shops turning into miniature comedy clubs to host acts.
Mark Masters, the founder of the Vail Comedy Show, said that hundreds of comedians sent in applications to be part of the inaugural festival.
“Earlier this year, there was a lot of buzz in the comedy community. People are excited,” Masters said. “I think it really speaks to the brand that Vail has. People are excited about comedy, people are excited about Vail, you put those two together, and people are extra excited now to be a part of the comedy festival.”
The 31 finalists selected for the festival will be flown in from all corners of the country, with acts that cover a wide range of comedy styles. There will also be live recordings of comedy podcasts taking place during the festival.
“The cool thing about a comedy festival to the attendees is the diversity of the performers and the performance styles,” Masters said. “If you don’t like one comedian, there’s going to be another comedian in just a few minutes, and with 30 plus comics, you’re pretty much guaranteed to come away with a comic that you’re going to love forever.”
The four headliners for the festival are all based out of New York, and have had a presence on some of comedy’s biggest platforms, including Late Night on CBS, America’s Got Talent, Comedy Cellar and HBO.
Xazmin Garza made her TV debut in November 2021 on HBO Max in “Comedy Chingonas,” was a Latino Stand Up Comedy Competition Finalist for HBO Max’s “Entre Nos,” and a Funniest Stand Up Finalist in the prestigious New York Comedy Festival in 2019.
“Anytime I get asked to do something on its inauguration, I feel honored,” Garza said. “Even if it’s just a bar show, it’s still the first one, and they thought of me to be on it. A festival is a way bigger deal, so I feel really good about getting asked to headline. If it turns into an epic festival, I’ll be able to say I did the very first one. It’s all about me, you see.”
Alongside Garza are headliners Caitlin Peluffo, Usama Siddiquee and Steven Rogers.
“It’s been such a great place for comedy for years, I’m super excited to make it official within the comedy community,” Peluffo said.
A list of all 31 comedians and their descriptions can be found at VailComedyFestival.com.
Festival passes are on sale now, starting at $119 for a two-day pass and $169 for a three-day pass. Passholders will have access to all of the shows taking place in the village, and will be able to pick and choose acts to attend, much like a film festival atmosphere.
In addition to the paid shows, Masters said the festival will also include free community events to help share the joy of comedy with more people. On Thursday, May 26, there will be a free late night comedy show starting at 10 p.m. at Vail Brewing Company in Solaris Plaza. Entrance will be first come, first serve.
There are also three outdoor family-friendly comedy shows planned at the Sunbird Park Playground in Lionshead Village, including an animal trivia event with Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a veterinarian and comedian who spent 10 seasons on the Animal Planet show Emergency Vets.
“That’s just us really trying to give something back to the community,” Masters said. “There are a lot of parents in the valley who have young children, and they can’t really get out at night because it’s hard to get a babysitter. This is a way for them to get some exposure to all the talent that’s flying in for the weekend, without having to go to a late night comedy show.”
Masters also said there will be street acts performing around the village during the day for passersby.
The Town of Vail is helping to sponsor the event, and Special Events Coordinator Jeremy Gross said that the town sees it as an opportunity for the festival to become a signature Memorial Day Weekend event in Vail for years to come.
“We are excited about a different type of event on Memorial Day Weekend that can be awesome no matter what the weather is like, because the weather in late May, early June is sometimes unpredictable,” Gross said. “This seems like a great opportunity for a new event to get a foothold on a high travel weekend. There’s a lot of potential for the festival for that weekend, and it becoming a signature event.”
Masters has been growing the monthly Vail Comedy Show for a number of years, and said he hopes that this year’s inaugural festival will plant the seeds for an even greater comedy presence in Vail in the years to come.
“My vision is like five, six years from now, when we rent out the ice rink and have a comedy show with a very famous comedian, and a thousand people come to that show,” Masters said. ”The Vail Comedy Show, it started small. It grew into something big and consistent, and it wouldn’t have done that without the help of the community. And we’re kind of recreating that. It’s really like that saying, that it takes a village. The community is going to make this happen.”
For more information about the inaugural Vail Comedy Festival, and to purchase tickets, visit VailComedyFestival.com.