March 13, 2012

The Moisture Festival - The World's Largest Comedy Variete' And Burlesque Festival Opens Thursday In Seattle

Entrance To Hale's Palladium - Laughter Is The Key
Seattleites your one good spirited group of people we think because you love and support the genre of comedy, variété' and burlesque. Years before America's Got Talent came into being along with a host of other similar television talent shows you brought tickets to see the Moisture Festival during our annual showcasing of comedy,  variété and burlesque acts from around the world.  Over the years you've grown with us in your love, appreciation and support of this unique art form and our non-profit. Now the journey is about to continue again.

On Thursday March 15th we begin our ninth annual festival with our opening night show and Gala at Hale's Palladium. The festivités will continue through April 8th with 50 shows in 4 venues involving nearly 200 performers, over 200 hardworking and beloved volunteers, staff and a host of festival sponsors. This year the festival will also offer a night of cinema at SIFF and two special free to the public lecture film and educational events that represent our continuing effort to enrich the public's understanding of the genre.

People tell us all the time that once they have been to a Moisture Festival show they're hook. We know the feeling well.

The seeds for the festival were planted at the Oregon Country Fair, and the Moisture was added by the vaudeville/circus/music scene in Seattle. In 1996 Tom Noddy the Bubble Guy, a regular at the Oregon Country Fair, surprised Ron W. Bailey with an invitation to attend a Comedy/Varietè Festival in Berlin. The event was created by Hacki Ginda, a notorious German clown. The trip was thrilling because it was a great time for the creative performers in Berlin and it was a festival that inspired everyone involved. Every day and night there was unique and wonderful entertainment in two tents, one large theater "The Chameleon" and several smaller venues in mid-town Berlin. Tom Noddy, Ron and Hacki dreamed about someday bringing a festival like that to the people in Seattle.

Enter Maque Davis of Cirque de Flambe, The Fremont Players and ex-President for Life of the Fremont Arts Council. Maque helped organize the Fremont Solstice Parade and created "Trolloween." Maque and Ron had often talked about bringing some of the acts from the Oregon Country Fair to Seattle, so in 2003 they joined ideas.

Realizing the grand scope of a festival they brought in Tim Furst, aka Fyodor Karamazov of The Flying Karamazov Brothers, along with Sandy Palmer and Simon Neale of the Fremont Players to help organize the event. In 2004, with the help of Fremonstor Theatrical and Du Caniveaux and the contributions of many artists and sponsors, they created "The Moisture Festival" to bring Comedy/Varietè to the center of the universe and the greater Seattle area.

The first festival was only five days long and held in a tent in Fremont, rented at a discount from His Reverend Chumleigh. Fortune was on the festival's side when many of our favorite artists responded to the request to perform in the tent and help us create and christen the first shows. It has continued to be the generosity and willingness of the comedy/varietè artists that keeps the festival alive. Also, it should be mentioned that there is much more to a festival than performing in it. There have always been many volunteers who work hard and share in the fun of making it happen.

There were key sponsors who came on board with early enthusiasm. One was the Utilikilts company, Megan Hass and Steven Villegas. Another sponsor, an unassuming guy delivering the kegs to the tent for Hale's Brewery, turned out to be Mike Hale. He would end up bringing his wife Kathleen to an evening show and later they would offer to help in any way they could. This led to the Hale's Brewery warehouse space being converted to The Palladium for the two week 2005 festival, at which 13 of 19 shows sold out. Hales Palladium has been a venue each year since and serves as the heart of the festival to this day. The 5th anniversary in 2008 was a wonderful celebration and the Moisture Festival continued to evolve. We achieved our goal of becoming an official 501©(3) nonprofit organization.

Looking ahead to 2013, which will be the festival’s 10th anniversary, we are ever mindful of all the help from our volunteer staff. We would have no history at all with out the hundreds of volunteers who work hard, play well with others and spread some real joy to the people of Seattle.

We as producers of the festival continue to believe that the way to a better life is through lightheartedness and parody and that creating laughter is the key to it all.

Have a great 2012 festival!

The Moisture Festival Board of Directors

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