by Kirby Lindsay, posted 19 December 2014
On December 31st, at Hale’s Palladium, Fremont’s favorite vaudevillians will welcome in the New Year in joyful, hilarious, astounding and fun-filled style with the Moisture Festival Extravaganza. This family-friendly evening of food, entertainment, dancing, champagne-toasts, and Godfrey Daniels’ red balloons brings together the community of Moisture Festival varieté supporters – celebrating not only the start of 2015 but also the imminent start of the 12th Annual Festival on March 19th.
With Moisture Festival, “you’re witnessing something that is a phenomenon,” acknowledged Ron Bailey, Artistic Director (and founding producer.) The NYE Extravaganza, like the varieté shows, gathers together world-famous artists – and the ebullient Moisture Festival community – for a showcase of live, highly-skilled music, dance, aerial and vaudeville performances. “New Year’s Eve is a fundraiser,” Bailey pointed out, “It’s one of my favorite holidays. It lets people appreciate what just happened in 2014, and anticipate what is going to happen.”
A Reputation Rising
“The Festival is getting a reputation,” Bailey observed, “When artists meet now, around the world, they share the Moisture Festival story.” Bailey recently returned from a tour of Scotland and Ireland, where he met many other vaudevillians, but also spent time digging into the history of music halls, and the theaters that inspired this art form.
In Glasgow, the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall Trust has been working to resurrect one of the oldest music halls. Music halls came about during the Industrial Revolution, when populations in cities like Glasgow practically tripled overnight and the theaters, that could serve spirits, sprang up for audiences anxious for entertainment after a long work week. “It was the Everyday People’s entertainment,” Bailey explained, “that entertained everyday people.”
In Glasgow, the effort to save one of these former theaters, is captured in the book ‘Glasgow’s Lost Theatre: The Story Of The Britannia Music Hall.’ According to Bailey, the theatre auditorium would accommodate 1,000 people – with no bathrooms to speak of – where audiences would crowd in, standing to see acts that would became legend. Stan Laurel, of Laurel & Hardy, started at the Britannia in 1906.
Today Hale’s Palladium fits a few less than 1,000, comfortably, and has bathrooms, but it otherwise provides a similar setting to music halls of the United Kingdom. A similar legacy is being built, now, by the Moisture Festival, due in part to its supporters.
Bend Over Backwards, Or Ride The Coattails?
“After 12 years as Artistic Director,” Bailey admitted, “I’m disappointed in the businesses that don’t support the arts.” Every year businesses, such as Hale’s and Roxy’s Diner/The Backdoor, and non-profits, such as the Fremont Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Fremont, step forward and bend over backwards to give to, and promote, the Festival, “and the rest ride on their coattails,” Bailey observed, “You have artists that have made Fremont world famous. The artists shouldn’t feel like they’re begging.”
“We’ve gotten way more support from the city at large than from Fremont,” Bailey said. The Georgetown community has shown great love, and support, to the Festival, as have businesses like Des Moines based Marvin J. Osterhout DDS and Ballard’s New Roots Organics. “It doesn’t matter how much you give,” Bailey said, “but if you like what we are doing – contribute!”
“It’s not necessary that everyone gives something, but it is nowhere near 70%,” Bailey observed, “Give something! Make sure you’re contributing.” Volunteer. Donate. “People can contribute in lots of ways,” Bailey explained, “don’t forget, it can be very small. It all helps fuel the enthusiasm!”
A Lot Of Options For Contributing
Attending the NYE Extravaganza at Hale’s Palladium (tickets can be purchased in advance through Stranger Tickets or, maybe, at the door starting at 6:30p, if it isn’t already sold out) is a fun and fulfilling way to support the Festival.
“We have a lot of options,” Bailey acknowledged about contributing, “Be creative!”
- Volunteer: The Moisture Festival depends upon, and loves, its army of volunteers that do everything from helping improve the theater to sweeping up after performances. Ushering, selling tickets, serving food, handling rigging, driving, security and dozens of other jobs are done by over 200 volunteers each year. To find out how, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate: Any amount helps, but those who donate at a star ($100,) comet ($250,) or nova ($500+) level will get a name posted on the walls of the Palladium to shine for all to see. To see a list of donors in 2014, view the Moisture Festival.org page.
- Sponsor: Businesses and non-profits can reach a diverse community of patrons and performers by sponsoring (and advertising) with the Moisture Festival. Cash underwriting, in-kind donations, and auction items can all be ways to reach the Moisture Festival community, and link your business with the excitement and enthusiasm of this showcase. Contact Director of Development Jeremy Johnsen at Jeremy@moisturefestival.org for more information.
- Smile: In 2014, the Moisture Festival joined the list of charitable organizations receiving money through the AmazonSmile program. When purchasing items on-line, consider using smile.amazon.com, then select Moisture Festival as your charity of choice. For each eligible purchase, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to MF.
- Speak: Spread the word! Tickets are now on-sale for 2015 Moisture Festival shows. Now is the best time to start talking to friends and family – and scheduling the shows between March 19th and April 12th that you want to attend. A list of the show dates can be found on the Moisture Fest website.
“One way to get people to give more is to inspire them,” Bailey observed, and one Moisture Festival show will inspire, if not awe, overwhelm and delight everyone!
Attend New Year’s Eve with your favorite Moisture Festival performers and patrons, and celebrate another year of varieté in Fremont! For more information on tickets, visit Stranger Tickets through MoistureFestival.org. Give your new year a new, wilder view – with all your MF family and friends!
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©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.