Moisture Festival is an annual loose and funny variety arts event in Seattle, WA. It includes comedians, jugglers, music, circus, and burlesque. The name refers to the raininess of Seattle.
Since 2004, Moisture Festival has been flying in amazing acts from around the world to come and jam in Seattle. Its grass roots style and community support make it a very unique comedy and variety happening. It seems like only Seattle could play host to this magical stuff.
Run by many volunteers and planned by the Flying Karamazovs, Tom Noddy and other stellar performers, the thing gives world-class entertainers a chance to really hang loose and do what they do best.
Audiences of the Moisture Festival get a rare glimpse into a collection of the best in the variety arts world. Mostly through a network of friends, performers are booked based on reputation and funness instead of quality of promotion materials, so you get the best.
The moisture festival shows are spread over several weeks. This year (2014) you can show up any time during March 20 – April 13 and get a cool eye full of fun. The venues are kinda shoddy and hand-made. Though this might detract from some live experiences, it actually enhances the vibe of community and frolic. Imagine the little rascals with nice fancy toys… not as fun.
The hand-painted signs and volunteers in weird outfits aren’t the only thing freeing about the fest. You are also free from criticism. That’s the beauty of well constructed shows with good content. You don’t have to figure out whether it’s good, whether it’s worth the money, what time it is, etc. You sit and collect the download of beauty, comedy, skill and calamity that are handed on a silver-ish platter.
It might seem strange that some of the highest paid comedians, acrobats and burlesque dancers flock to Seattle when the pay is not guaranteed, the lodging is in a volunteer’s attic and the transportation is a stoner’s station wagon. Why lower yourself? What’s the benefit?
As top-level entertainers, we find ourselves performing alone a lot. Flying to Tokyo is a cool cultural experience, but you’re staying in a hotel alone, renting a car alone and doing a show for some people you will never see again – people who often don’t really care. When you get to perform with others, you’re usually the best person in the show. Though it’s nice to feel accomplished, it’s not very inspiring or motivating.
Moisture is the opposite of all that. It’s held in the suicide capital of the U.S. with the most white people per capita. You live like an exchange student – meeting lots of people who think you’re the best and sleeping next to someone’s glass blowing oven. I don’t really know how exchange students live. The festival appreciates you. The community appreciates you. The audience appreciates you. You meet performers that you’ve heard of in legends. You get to see them perform. You get to talk about entertainment and hang out and make friends. Because they’re so good, you get the rare opportunity to feel like a real audience member! Moisture Festival is a place where the stage will be set, the band will be ready, the lights will be lit and you know you’ll be able to have a blast on stage and off.
Also, there’s beer.
I didn’t really realize all this stuff when I first went. I knew that it was a place where some of my favorite comedy variety people went, so I wanted to be hired. As the information trickled in, I was less interested and more interested at the same time.
I performed at Moisture Festival in 2011 and 2012. The first year, I got to meet the Checkerboard Guy for the first time. I teamed up with him and we did some fun randomness for our performances. Since it wasn’t a normal gig, we had freedom to jam and to jam with each other was bliss. We stirred things up. We juggled around random people in the audience and made jokes and messed around. I met a bunch of other people that I’d wanted to meet also. Like the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Tom Noddy, and I don’t know who else.
In 2012, I got to see my friend Shay Horay from New Zealand and met two guys that live in L.A.: David Deeble (comedy juggler also) and Eric Schwartz. I was maybe too wild, but it was fun. I get too excited when I’m in an environment like that. Fantastic. Here’s a video of me saying some comedian type things at Moisture Festival. I couldn’t understand the ending when i watched it today.