Just for Laughs cancels this year’s comedy festival, seeks creditor protection

By Kelsey Patterson

The Just for Laughs comedy festival will not take place this summer, as the company that operates it seeks to avoid bankruptcy.

Groupe Juste pour rire Inc. says it is seeking protection from its creditors as it begins formal restructuring under Canada’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

“Unfortunately, the 2024 edition of the Just for Laughs / Juste pour rire festival will not take place, at least not at the same time and in the same form as it customarily has,” the company said in a news release Tuesday.

“Once the restructuring is completed, we hope that the festival will take place in 2025.”

The company says it intends to maintain operations in a “scaled-down format” during the “restructuring process.”

Tickets for the French and English language comedy festivals in Montreal this summer remained on sale on the company’s website as of Tuesday morning.

Just pour rire, which held its first Montreal festival in 1983, blames the pandemic, inflation and the changing entertainment industry for its financial challenges.

“The decision to initiate restructuring proceedings was reached after thorough consideration of all options available to the company, taking into account its very difficult financial situation given the significant changes in our business landscape in recent years,” Groupe Juste pour rire wrote.

“The purpose of the restructuring is to allow the business to emerge stronger and healthier, and successfully position the festival and the other JPR properties for the long term to preserve the rich 40-year legacy of Just for Laughs / Juste pour rire, ensuring it is better equipped to meet the challenges of an ever-changing entertainment landscape.”

It says it is looking for investors or to sell parts of its business.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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