The Great Outdoors Comedy Festival is produced by Trixstar LIVE, a 360º event management & consultation firm focused on creating impactful experiences. The firm has worked with comedy and entertainment legends to create a one of a kind experience, and they are proud to launch this unique festival series within their home province of Alberta.
We had an opportunity to sit down with Brennan McFaul, Vice president of Trixstar Entertainment and founder of the Great Outdoors Comedy. A successful Canadian promoter who now resides in Nashville, McFaul talked about the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival and what it means to Canada and Canadian travel.
Vacay.ca: Hello Mr. McFaul, thank you for meeting with us. You recently had the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival in Edmonton, and just wrapped up a successful show in Halifax. Congratulations!
Brennan McFaul: My pleasure! Yes, Edmonton was the first one to kick-off in 2023. We had Theo Von, Sam Morril, Laura Peek, and Bill Burr on it. You know, smashing success. We had to deal with a little bit of smoke issues because of the wildfires. On the Friday night show with Theo Von, the air quality wasn’t good so we had to postpone the show. We were lucky because all the artists were willing to stay over and do the show the following night.
Vacay.ca: It certainly hasn’t been an easy summer for our friends on the West coast with these wild fires, that’s for sure.
McFaul: No kidding, hasn’t been easy anywhere on the continent it seems. But that speaks to how these artists love their fans and the lengths they’ll go to keep their contract intact illustrates the respect they have for the brand that we’ve built in the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival. For some artists it’s very easy to walk away and just say ‘oh well, it is what it is’. We couldn’t perform on our scheduled date but those artists love their fans and want to be part of the brand we have built with the Great Outdoors for many years to come. Bill Burr was on Sunday night, he put on a tremendous show.
Vacay.ca: You have just completed the Halifax show. I understand it was also a success.
McFaul: Bill Burr was in Halifax too. Bill’s got a little bit of connection to the northeastern part of North America. And the fact he’s from Boston, there are a lot of similarities with Boston and Halifax and a lot of shared values and family between the two locations. It was a great show in Halifax and we were happy to have Bill there alongside Jerry Seinfeld, Anthony Jeselnik, Zarna Garg and Michael Longfellow.
Vacay.ca: What can we look forward to next?
McFaul: At the end of August, August 25th to 27th, we have the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival, Calgary. Friday night has Nick Offerman, Sam Morril, and Dan Soder. On Saturday, we have Jonathan Van Ness, Monet X Change and Priyanka performing for us. And then on Sunday, we have Andrew Schulz, Annie Lederman and Mark Gagnon performing for us.
To wrap up the 2023 season we’re making our debut in Vancouver, which we’re very excited about. On September 15th, we have Russell Peters, Steph Tolev, and Reggie Watts. On the Saturday we have probably the biggest comedian, if not global superstars, in the world with Kevin Hart performing at Stanley Park, a world renowned park and one of the most scenic outdoor parks in Canada and even North America. The atmosphere is going to be tremendous and we’re gonna have some of the biggest comedians in the world on stage.
Vacay.ca: Canada has always been a great landing spot for comedy – let’s face it Canadians are funny people and Canada has produced more than a few legendary comedians.
McFaul: No argument there. But I have to say that I think COVID really took it to another level. People were sitting at home a lot more. There were all sorts of specials on Netflix and on Amazon and on YouTube that people were consuming and, obviously, during COVID, didn’t necessarily have an opportunity to see those artists perform. So coming out of COVID I think that there was a lot more demand for these artists. But they also had new fans that they gained during the pandemic.
Vacay.ca: What does this mean for travel? Especially coming out of COVID, have you seen a real eagerness for people living in, say, Winnipeg to jump in a car and get out to Edmonton? Have you noticed an impact with tourism at your events?
McFaul: To be honest, we’re seeing upwards of 30% of our ticket buyers coming from outside of the host city and that means they’re filling up restaurants, hotels, using gas along the way, airlines and stuff like that. We’re putting together big lineups that thousands of people aren’t necessarily going to be able to see in their home city or town. And there are also fans who travel to multiple Great Outdoors Comedy Festivals throughout the year to see different comedians.
Vacay.ca: That’s awesome. Last question, what’s next for the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival?
McFaul: Yeah. I mean, I can’t officially announce anything. We do have some markets locked in for expansion next year. I will say that, you know, we had a lot of different city and markets approach us about bringing the festival there. And so it just shows the waves we’re making across Canada. We are also looking at some US expansion as well.
Vacay.ca: Thank you for sitting down with us. We look forward to catching your shows in Calgary and Vancouver and wish you continued success.
GREAT OUTDOORS COMEDY FESTIVAL
Festival Website: greatoutdoorscomedyfestival.com