DMU for Life's Alumnus of the Month for February is Geoff Rowe, co-founder and director of the Leicester Comedy Festival (LCF).
Geoff studied Arts Administration, now renamed Arts and Festivals Management BA, at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). He came up with the idea for the festival as his final year practical project in 1994.
As the current director of the LCF, Geoff has overseen its growth from a student project to a world-renowned festival spanning 870 events across 72 venues across the city. Over the years the festival has attracted top comedic talent, including the likes of Jo Brand, Alan Davies, Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle, alongside other huge names.
DMU for Life caught up with Geoff to find out more about his journey from studying to running the festival.
He said: “I applied to study at DMU because of the course. I had always wanted to be a producer or promoter since I was 13 years old. Studying at DMU gave me the opportunity to follow my passion.
“What I really enjoyed about the course was the practical elements and experience it provided. We were visited by guest speakers and had the chance to do placements and build industry connections, which are vital when trying to get work in the arts sector.
“My time at DMU helped to broaden my horizons. I initially wanted to work specifically in music production but the opportunity to work on a project in my third year led to my involvement in creating the comedy festival.”
DMU at 150: Leicester Comedy Festival
DMU alumni work behind the scenes at Leicester Comedy Festival
Arts and Festivals Management BA (Hons) at DMU
Geoff came up with the idea for the festival with some fellow students on his course.
He said: “I decided to stay in my rented accommodation in Leicester over the summer and worked as a bin man to earn money. The shift work gave me spare time to plan and get in touch with promoters, venues, comedians and their agents.
Geoff Rowe, c1998
“What I learned from this experience is that university is a fantastic time to develop and test ideas in a secure environment. Going out there and contacting people, making connections with venues and agents, is hugely helpful if you go on to work in the industry.
“As the festival has grown I don’t get to see as many events as once I did, due to the increase in organisational work, but I am really proud of the way it has grown.
“I still get the chance to interview several comedians on stage, which I really enjoy. This year I was excited to speak to Milton Jones, Arthur Smith and ‘Lost Voice Guy’ about their careers in comedy.
“The festival has continued to go from strength to strength and I’m committed to keeping it growing over the coming years”.
Posted on Monday 24th February 2020