As teased in November when it was still under the shadow of the established annual SF Sketchfest, a new San Francisco comedy festival, this one thrown by Comedy Central in collaboration with Outside Lands and Bonnaroo organizers Superfly and Another Planet Entertainment, is announcing itself to the world with a luminary-filled lineup, a promo video, and an event preview in the New York Times. Colossal Clusterfest, as the event is billed, will bring luster — and, per the name — 30,000 ticket-holding comedy fans, to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and outdoor stages in Civic Center Plaza from June 2-4.
Sarah Silverman, Bob Odenkirk, Hannibal Buress, and Broad City stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are on the bill, which is headlined by Jerry Seinfeld. Music from Ice Cube, Tegan and Sara, Chromeo, and SNL genius Maya Rudolph's beloved Prince cover band Princess is in the works, too. Overall, the "cluster" is three days with 50 comedians on five stages. Tickets are on sale March 2 at music festival prices, starting at $200 for a weekend pass, although you're welcome to pay as much as $600 for VIP treatment.
Clusterfest is Comedy Central's first foray into the events biz, the Chronicle notes, and as tie-ins to their shows, the channel is advertising experiences and attractions ranging from a recreation of Paddy's Pub from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to a Seinfeld inspired Festivus celebration to a paint-by numbers Broad City mural with the show's graphic designer. Okay, that last one just sounds like free labor for them to create an ad.
According to records obtained by the Chronicle, City Hall its getting a $207,600 fee from the festival's organizers, plus tens of thousands more in staff overtime fees, and street closures will begin in phases between May 29 and June 6.
“We are thrilled that Comedy Central and Superfly are launching its very first comedy festival in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza,” Rec and Park representative Connie Chan told the Chronicle. “We want to continue to activate this area with arts and cultural events and to highlight its historic significance as our city’s” civic center."
Though Chan says her goal is to keep the area "as open as possible throughout the event,” Clusterfest is likely to have quite the effect downtown, making good on its name. Meanwhile, some out-of-towners will encounter Civic Center and Mid-Market for the first time, perhaps with horror.