The financial structure of the Moisture Festival reflects the philosophy of its producers, and differs in many ways from other festivals around the world. The purpose of the festival is to present live Comedy/Varietè performance in the upper left hand corner of the USA, to give performers a chance to interact with each other, and to educate audiences and performers about the history of Comedy/Varietè from its roots in Europe through American Vaudeville to its present day resurgence. The festival is organized by performers - for performers and their audiences.
One of the things which makes the festival's financial structure unique is the "share" system, wherein all the performers receive the same amount of money per show. For each show in which someone performs, they accumulate one share. Likewise, the festival's producers also get one share for each show in which they participate, and do not draw a salary.
The festival finances are dealt with as a whole, and not on a show-by-show basis. Thus the total income of the festival is pooled, and after the expenses have been paid and some money is put aside to pay the bills for the coming year, the balance is divided among all the performers on a per-share basis. One result of this system is that the amount of each share is determined by the overall financial success of the festival, and each performer receives the same size share whether they perform in a sold-out Saturday night show or a casual Wednesday show.
The festival is incorporated in Seattle, Washington, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As a community-based organization, it depends on the generosity of volunteers and seeks sponsorship from local businesses to help defray the production costs.
Moisture Festival also dedicates some shows as benefit shows to raise money for other organizations. The festival receives most of its income from the sale of tickets. However, this is limited by three factors:
1) the desire to keep ticket prices affordable (tickets ranged from $10 to $25)
2) the size of the theaters - 250 - 360 seats
3) the desire to provide complimentary tickets to the performers, reducing the number of seats available for sale