March 28, 2011

Housing The Performers Moisture Festival Housing Coordinators Match Performers With Local Hosts

By Susan Miller 
Moisture Festival Housing coordinator
Ah, The Moisture Festival! It gives welcome distraction in the last gray days of late winter, & passes the time nicely until Folklife in May. Now here’s something interesting: Moisture Fest is run almost entirely by volunteers. Did you know that? When you come to the show, you can see the people taking tickets, doing the lights & stage work, but there is a not-so-small army of highly motivated people who remain unseen. From food prep to airport rides, The Moisture Festival would fail utterly if not for a network of eager & obsessive people who are happy to be paid in satisfaction. We look about as organized as ants on tangled jungle vines, yet we function with the crack efficiency one might expect if one were to cross the detail-oriented nerdiness of the high school chess club, with the uber-efficient gossip network of the girls’ cheerleading squad. Somehow it all comes together. Somehow.

One flavor of invisible volunteer is the performer host. And these are the folks with whom I work. This is the fifth year my husband & I have been arranging performer housing. This year we have about 70 performers coming to town, & we find housing for about half that. The rest stay with friends or relatives. Most of the performers fly in, so they don’t have cars. This makes rooms near the main venue of Hale’s very coveted. Even more rare are mother-in-law apartments, which I save for performers who simply need more privacy for their off-stage moments. Housing is a tricky thing. Over the years we’ve come to know many of the hosts, & also many of the performers. We put a lot of thought into finding the right match, & many returning performers stay with their hosts of previous years.

Do you want to help? You can! We always need more hosts. We could still use a host or two for this year, and we would love to have you on the list for next year. Hosting is easy, & an excellent way to provide a truly vital service to the Fest. Finding a good bed, a place to rest one’s mind & body from the rigors of the road, having a secure & peaceful retreat, is hugely important to the quality of the performers’ visits here, & to the quality of their work.

What is it like to host? It’s pretty darned easy. We discuss your space & schedule with you, & on the arranged day, your guest arrives. You will need to give them a key or in some method of entry; the shows end very late & they’ll need a way to get in. And that it all. Some hosts invite guests to dinner, as they tend to be highly interesting folk, full of stories. But all we ask is a comfortable room & a welcoming attitude. If you want to host or know more about hosting, email us at Thanks so much – Susan & Rodman Miller

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