THE third Great Yorkshire Fringe has sold 5,000 tickets already – an increase of 100 per cent on this time last year – and the York festival is still eight weeks away.

The full programme is complete for the July 21 to August 6 event and from Monday this week the organisers are distributing 32,000 brochures in York and across Yorkshire, with a further 11,000 being dropped between now and the opening day, 10,000 of them in York, 1,000 in Scarborough.

Festival director and York resident Martin Witts says: "Our third birthday year once again brings a multitude of performances from around the world: over 30 nationalities, 600 performers and 150 fantastic festival staff all wrapped up in a City of Delight.

"This year sees the return of many favourites, including the 2015 Best In Show Flat Cap award winners Slightly Fat Features and 2016 stars The Ronnie Scott Big Band. Toby Clouston Jones's Hyena Lounge Comedy Club, Henning Wehn, Paul Foot, Tony Law and musicians Holy Moly & The Crackers rub shoulders with newcomers to this glorious walled city, Curtis Stigers, Storage Hunters' Sean Kelly and a plethora of new talent in our Great Yorkshire Fringe New Comedian of the Year Competition."

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Paul Foot: "the show that offended a thousand piglets"

Locations will include the regular White Rose Rotunda, The Teapot and The Shed on the Parliament Street village green and a newcomer for 2017, the 1,500-seat York Barbican.

"Parliament Street will once again be transformed into a smorgasbord of culinary delights serving up the loveliest of surroundings and fodder to be found in any World City, truly a Feastival," says Martin, whose entertainment empire also embraces running the Leicester Square Theatre and Museum of Comedy in London.

"You can celebrate the arrival of Julia Donaldson’s Scarecrow’s Wedding (her of Stick Man and Gruffalo fame); walk the Great Northern Comedy Trail, eat, drink and be merry," he adds.

Among the highlights of a festival that takes in comedy, theatre, family entertainment, cabaret, music, activities and food and drink will be American jazz vocalist, saxophonist, guitarist and songwriter Curtis Stigers, joining forces with The Ronnie Scott Big Band to perform Sinatra At The Sands at York Barbican on July 28.

York Press:

Auctioneer and comedy turn Sean Kelly

Stigers is returning to Britain after recording One More For The Road, his album in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sinatra At the Sands, and now he is combining with the world-class Ronnie Scott jazz musicians to present his very own renditions of the Sinatra classics.

The Great Yorkshire Fringe's favourite German comedian, Henning Wehn, will be back in York once more, this time with his Westphalia Is Not An Option show at York Barbican on July 29.

The German Comedy Ambassador invites you to join him for an evening of Teutonic jolliness, wherein he will take "an unbiased look at immigration". Wehn also wonders, if, generally speaking, people are competent. "Luckily in my case this doesn’t matter as either I'm funny or I live up to a national stereotype. It’s a win-win situation. Come along. Or else," he says.

The ever-smiling, ever-shouting Storage Hunters auctioneer Sean Kelly will present his new show Sold Your Way! in The White Rose Rotunda on July 22, ahead of his Edinburgh Fringe summer run.

York Press:

Slightly Fat Features: comedy, cabaret, chaos... and calories

Kelly will open up about his crazy life, telling anecdotes of his past escapades, doing everything from holding Top Secret military clearance status to serving on a combat tour in Iraq, catching shoplifters as an undercover store detective in Italy, travelling to 80 countries, headlining the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and still managing 25 years of marriage to his wife Lori. All of this plus a charity auction, for which the York audience is encouraged to bring a cheeky item from home for auctioning off, with all proceeds going to Help For Heroes.

On July 27, at The White Rose Rotunda, Paul Foot will return with Tis Pity She’s A Piglet, the show that "offended a thousand piglets". Now "honed by an extensive tour of four countries across six continents", Foot promises "Paul's Pandora's box of laughter".

Variety is back and it's Slightly Fat in the porky hands of 2015 award winners Slightly Fat Features, who will crash-land into York for five performances of The Slightly Fat Show at The White Rose Rotunda from July 31 to August 4. Expect comedy, cabaret and chaos in a variety show for the 21st century stuffed to the bursting seams with physical feats, orchestrated mayhem and large dollops of laughs.

Among further comedy acts will be festival regulars Richard Herring, Paul Sinha, Morgan & West, Mitch Benn, Simon Munnery, Glenn Wool, Tony Law, Tony Jameson, Tom Wrigglesworth and Andre Vincent, plus one-liner ace Gary Delaney.

See next Thursday's What's On for more information on the festival's cabaret, music, theatre and family shows. The full programme and ticket details can be found at