2022 Moisture Festival: Opening March 17

2022 Moisture Festival: Opening March 17

FAQs for Donors

Why should I donate to Seattle Moisture Festival and what does my donation go to?

Ticket sales cover half of our operating expenses, so we rely on the generosity of our community to cover the remainder of expenses necessary to present the festival each spring. Seattle Moisture Festival is a 501(c)3 charity and all donations may be tax deductible.

What does Seattle Moisture Festival hope to achieve with my donation?

The Seattle Moisture Festival’s mission is to enrich the community by presenting an affordable annual festival showcasing the art of live comedy/varieté performance. The Seattle Moisture Festival encourages the contemporary creativity that is constantly emerging in this field and strives to educate people about the rich history of this genre.

What community does Seattle Moisture Festival serve?

The Seattle Moisture Festival community includes 12,000+ community patrons every year who appreciate local performing arts, including families, youths, seniors and low-income groups. Each year the Festival does one or more special shows to benefit a local non-profit organization and extends our outreach by hiring ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters for some shows that are advertised within the local deaf community to better serve people in their community who love local performing arts.

The Moisture Festival community embraces an international and national community of artists as well as our local community artists. Besides their professional stage opportunity, Moisture Festival provides a hot meal for our performers each day they perform which is a favorite aspect for many in our community. This opportunity to break bread with fellow performers is an integral part of their experience while performing in the Festival, and one of the main reasons our best acts keep coming back. Eighty artists/ technicians/ volunteers/ musicians are fed one hot meal each day with generous support from local restaurateurs including: Ivar’s, Pecado Bueno, Roxy’s, Ballard Seafood Bros/Taco Mama’s, Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar, and Shawn O’Donnell’s Pub. New Roots Organics, Macrina Bakery, Talking Rain, Beecher’s Cheese, Field Roast Grain Meat, and Casscioppo Brothers Sausage provide additional food for our artists.

Artists from out of town are also served by being housed in local volunteer guest homes during their stay in Seattle. Moisture Festival volunteers also provide free transportation for artists to/from the airport, their homestays and their venue.

The Moisture Festival includes the community of volunteers who help us produce all shows. This is an enthusiastic and loyal group of 250+ local individuals who derive enjoyment and meaning from participating in the very necessary role they contribute in making this Festival happen.

What is the artistic vision of the Seattle Moisture Festival?

The Moisture Festival celebrates the art of creating a truly successful variety show. We learn from the time in American history when these types of shows were the main form of entertainment for the people. It is not only finding the most creative variety artists but also the challenge of how to combine them in a two-hour show in a way that surprises and delights audiences. Currently there are few examples of organizations celebrating this unique and exciting art form with over 50 variety shows at a month-long festival. Variety shows are not just a nostalgic remnant of yesteryear, because there are many talented modern artists keeping variety arts very contemporary, even as they pay tribute to variety’s roots in the Music Halls of 19th-century England, cabaret in Europe and vaudeville in America.

The artistic vision of this organization is to present variety shows that give variety art its earned place in American history and to give performers working in this genre a place to mingle and perform. These variety artists include but are not limited to: aerial arts, slack rope walking, acro-balancing, juggling, puppetry and ventriloquists. Our variety shows inspire considerable excitement in audiences and performers alike, with Seattle audiences at the festival becoming renowned for their big-hearted wild enthusiasm for these shows. This is our biggest reward.

Michael Orlove, director of the National Endowment for the Arts is also excited about the contemporary creativity of this rich genre, “To quote P.T. Barnum, “The noblest art is that of making others happy,” and there is no doubt in my mind that the circus arts are doing just that. It is our job, collectively, to see that this unique art form receives the requisite attention and unconditional support it so deserves.”

What is unique about the Seattle Moisture Festival and how have you stayed in the black since 2004?

Our Unique business model – the Share System:  Moisture Festival’s unique compensation system is based on the concept of sharing. All income is gathered, then at the end of the festival, after all hard expenses are paid and enough money is put aside to cover the year-round operating costs, the remainder of the proceeds from all shows is put into the proverbial hat. These funds are then divided among the artists, the musicians and the tech crew. They are compensated equally.

Decisions about pay, accommodations, travel, meals, safety etc. are discussed among the relevant parties before the processes are put in place.

The producers stay in touch with the artists, the show bands, the many volunteers and the tech crews – the decisions affecting these areas are then shaped and discussed with the board of directors. This community approach within the organization has allowed us to grow in a sustainable way from a small, volunteer-run festival held in a circus tent in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle to becoming the largest, longest-running comedy/varieté festival in the world.

What are the Seattle Moisture Festival’s goals for the future?

As we move forward representing not only the history of variety arts and American vaudeville, but the current, modern artists actively representing this creative community, we realize the very real need to increase diversity in our audiences, on our stages and in our volunteer ranks. To that end the board of directors has created a committee to meet with leaders of different ethnic cultures to find performers and acts that may help draw members of those communities to the festival. Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, to their credit, has made diversity in the arts a priority for the city. The Moisture Festival has committed to making their future follow the city’s lead.

Another aspect of this evolution is exploring performance venues in different locations in the city that reflect different ethnic communities. Not only do we want to attract more diverse audiences to our two current main venues, we also want to take the festival to neighborhoods where they live. In so doing, we will build a volunteer pool from that community. We are very proud of our volunteer program and we fully realize that our volunteers are our best source for word of mouth advertising.

The challenge of achieving ethnic and racial diversity is significant. Our intention is to meet that challenge in the same way we have built the strong foundation of our festival – through steady, determined, thoughtful processes that include our board of directors, our festival producers, our performers and our volunteers.

What is the main public benefit delivered by the Seattle Moisture Festival to our community?

The main public benefit of our festival is facilitating the joy of laughing together and

sharing moments of stunning beauty and skill in live performance. We also measure public benefit by, 1) maintaining the lowest ticket prices possible for 10,000+ patrons, 2) providing discounted youth/seniors tickets, plus distribution of free tickets to community groups; 3) providing free and low-cost public and professional educational presentations, and, 4) presenting 250+ skilled variety artists from around the region, the nation and the world.


A thriving arts community is a key component to creating and sustaining an economically strong, authentic, and dynamic population.  One barrier to including more people in the arts is the cost of a ticket, especially for families. Many ticket prices are quite high for working families, so quality entertainment remains out of the fiscal realm of many, including students and underprivileged people in our community.  Moisture Festival’s Public Benefit includes discounted youth and senior ticket rates and additionally, certificates redeemable for tickets donated to many charitable and arts non-profits for use in their fund-raising programs.   Laughter can be private, but it’s best when shared in as many ways with as many people, young and old, as possible.

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501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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