As a fitting finale to the 25th anniversary, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has announced record attendances and box office for the 2011 Festival.


With a total attendance of over 611,079 and paid attendance of more than 450,506, it goes without saying that the Festival is much loved by Melbourne audiences, as well as interstate and international guests and remains one of the biggest events in the cultural calendar of Australia.


Melbourne Comedy Festival General Manager, Virginia Lovett said: “The results reinforce the Festival's position internationally and nationally as a "must see" event for audiences and "must perform" festival for artists.  This year we attracted a new audience to our extended free family programming and consolidated our position as a major Autumn event.”


For lovers of numbers, there were 364 shows 5,156 performances by 961 performers helped by over 1600 support staff in 124 venues. The average ticket price was $26.92.


The 2011 Festival recorded $12,127,793 in box office – an increase of 11% on last year’s record breaking Festival.


To mark the 25th anniversary, this year the festival introduced a massive free family program in the City Square, Federation Square and River Terrace, The (Very) Big Laugh Out. This new initiative proved a hit with more than 109,019 people of all ages taking part with, up from 16,458 in 2010.


“With a mix of international and local artists Melbourne’s streets and major public places came alive with site specific performance with thousands of people getting caught up in the spirit and buzz of the Festival” said Virginia Lovett.


The Festival is currently showing off the best of Australian and international comedians across Australia on The Comedy Festival Roadshow.


The 2012 Melbourne Comedy Festival runs from 28 March – 22 April.