Almost half the 900 tickets have been sold for Chippenham’s first comedy festival this weekend.

Mark Thomas, best known for the Channel 4 show that bears his name, is sold out and only a handful of tickets remain for appearance of Richard Herring, described as man’s answer to The Vagina Monologues, at the event at The Three Crowns pub that opens tomorrow and runs to Sunday.

Organiser Wil Hodgson, who will also be performing on Saturday at 7pm, said he had seen each of the 23 acts perform at least once and could vouch for every one.

He said: “I would encourage people to give the comedians they’ve not heard of a chance. Spend the day in the pub; there’ll be nice beers on as usual, and pies and sausage rolls. It would be a shame for people to just come and see one thing, when they’re not going to be out of pocket seeing four or five.

“It’s only £24 to see all six acts in the outhouse on Sunday – you wouldn’t get six hours of comedy for that price at most comedy clubs.”

He said all the names with TV credits were selling best. But the festival is giving the chance to see people who may well be the big names of the future, in a 20-seater shed. They had even cleared the spiders out of the outhouse especially, he said.

As part of her first solo stand-up tour, Lancashire lass Katie Mulgrew will be entertaining on Saturday at 4.45pm with tales about following in the footsteps of her Irish comedian father.

She said: “I knew that everything written about me would be ‘Jimmy Cricket’s daughter’, so I thought, ‘why not embrace it?’ Let’s do the show on that and get it out of the way – so it’s not an elephant in the room. I’ve got quite a small house, I probably couldn’t fit an elephant in there anyway.”

Steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, who headline the main bar on Sunday night, contain two comedians of their own – Andrew O’Neill and Marc Burrows. The band sold out The Borderline in Soho at the end of April with their witty tales of Victorian England.

Vikki Stone has had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances. Tickets for all other acts still available are on sale at The Three Crowns on The Causeway.

There will also be tickets on sale there on Friday night for musical comedian Duncan Oakley, who will be at the pub for its next regular monthly comedy night on July 9.