MOISTURE FESTIVAL DEVELOPMENT GETS DIRECTION
by Kirby Lindsay
Moisture Festival, the amazing, outrageous and, well, indescribable vaudeville show, won’t hit Seattle until March 11, 2010. In October it may seem odd to consider Moisture (except as weather), but to stage a month of jugglers, trapeze artists, clowns, musicians, bubble-blowers and many other (very) odd assorted acts takes more than just opening the hall doors.
Ron Bailey founded Moisture Festival, but took on the new title of Development Director. It may sound like a demotion, but who better to direct development of the Festival than someone already enthusiastic about it, and already there with a clear vision. As Bailey described, the job “is more than raising money;” he sees it as “more community outreach.”
Bailey described a team approach, and the plan to delegate to each member a specific direction – corporate, grants, networking within the Fremont/Wallingford/Ballard zone, and networking the ACTheater/Downtown Seattle zone. While he repeatedly acknowledged the tough times for businesses, he still wants “to give people the opportunity to contribute.” While he began the job October 1, he has already launched a campaign to find 101 people to give $100 each, “so it feels like people in the community are interested. A surprising number of businesses, if you knock on the door, they’ll help.”
“I love the holiday season,” Bailey admitted, and this year the Festival will try to raise funds with a New Year’s Eve party at Hale’s Palladium(4301 Leary Way NW). While this party will most likely be a celebration for die-hard Moisture fans, Bailey sees it as a fundraiser if only because, “at New Year’s Eve it is customary to pay a little more… Plus,” he said, “I just haven’t been to a good New Year’s party in a long time!”
In addition to developing relationships in the community, Bailey explained the improvements being wrought at Hale’s Palladium. As Bailey acknowledged “the Festival wouldn’t exist if Mike [Hale] weren’t in there supporting.”
“Once it became clear,” the Festival would have regular use of the ‘Palladium’ (a warehouse still used most of the year as loading space for kegs and cases at Hale’s Brewery) “Mike Hale made the decision to hire an architect and work with the City of Seattle.” He’s had to have major changes made to the space to meet fire and safety codes. This year, between Festivals, they will install sheetrock and cut in more doors. Each year the space has been upgraded including bathrooms, mezzanines, chair risers and a mobile, continually modified stage. Hale’s donation has kept the Festival viable, and as Bailey acknowledged, Hale “gets the community aspect of it, and the sheer fun of it.”
“The original idea was that the show happens in a variety of neighborhoods,” Bailey explained, and the Festival reach continues to expand. In 2010, a week of shows is planned for Vashon Island, at Open Space.
For two years now Moisture Festival has partnered with A Contemporary Theater (ACT) in Downtown Seattle. ACT has their ‘Central Heating Lab’ specifically to bring in new and different works, under which Moisture Festival qualifies. “Also, it is a professional theater,” which gives Moisture crew, performers and audiences an alternative from the “funky, homey Hale’s Palladium.” ACT provides professional grade lighting, seats and union workers, and “a whole new audience,” for the Festival, “and we bring a new audience to them.”
Moisture Festival does not take the stage, officially, until March, but support of community activities year round can help it survive. Contact Bailey at RonW@moisturefestival.org to contribute to the 101 People campaign. For information on the New Year’s Eve party (and to find out about a ticket price discount) subscribe to their e-newsletter at http://www.moisturefestival.com/email.html
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.