the last performance of the 2022 moisture festival happened last night. it was the last performance (that we currently know of) in hale’s palladium, EVER… the palladium has been sold, and there is no word on whether or not the “new owners” (whoever they may be) are interested in continuing to rent their former beer warehouse to a bunch of crazy hippies for a month, every year.
the largest, longest-running comedy/variety showcase IN THE WORLD is now looking for a new venue… rather like Teatro Zinzanni (a long-time moisture festival ally), which has been looking for a new venue, on and off, for 20 years. 😒
in 2004, the moisture festival was held, for the first time, in rev. chumleigh’s circus tent in downtown fremont. it was two days: the fremont philharmonic was to play the first day, and the zebra kings were supposed to play the second day, but because of the fact that the zebra kings were nowhere to be found, and most of the fremont philharmonic was backstage when the show was getting ready to start, the fremont phil played both days. at the time, i was under the impression that the moisture festival was going to be a “one off”, because i couldn’t imagine the city actually allowing us to set up a tent in a parking lot all the time, but little did i know that, already, there were plans being made.
the fremont phil, at the time, consisted of fred hawkinson, on trombone, the leader of the band, and the composer of most of the tunes we played; jeremy reinhardt on baritone and flute, and the composer of the rest of the tunes we played; ted lockery on trumpet, pam mcrae on clarinet, sasha malinsky and alan… um… i don’t remember alan’s family name, on drums (they alternated); john cornicello on keyboard, and myself on E♭ tuba. we were just off playing for billion bunny bash, and the cirque de flambé shows at magnusen park, but before fred quit the band. i remember, specifically, people not being able to find ANY of the zebra kings, and it being about five minutes before curtain when they asked us if we wanted to play, i also remember A LOT of chaos, disorganisation, and people running around like headless chickens… something which never completely went away, even after we moved to the palladium.
the first show in the palladium was when it was still being a beer warehouse: pallets of kegs, empty beer bottles and cans, A LOT of beer, porta-potties for public toilets, and a significant rat problem were among the first recipients of the moisture festival shows. the second year (the first year in the palladium, which would have been 2005) was four days, i believe, and the start of the tradition of the “marathon”, which was, the last show went on until there were no acts left who “wanted” to perform. the first marathon lasted until midnight, and from that time on, until we decided that it was getting to be a bit too much, the marathons got longer, and longer… and longer… and LONGER… the last marathon (year 6 or 7, possibly) started at 9:30 pm and lasted until 6:30 am the next morning… and we STILL had acts that wanted to perform, but some of us had to go to work in the morning, and ALL of us were so tired that we couldn’t see straight. after then, we decided that the tradition of the marathon had outlived its purpose. 😉
after year 2 (the first year in the palladium), i was more convinced that we were going to establish a yearly event.
the moisture festival started expanding after year three or four, i think… primarily because of the fact that, during one of the burlesque performances, an arialist had a “strategic costume malfunction”, ripped off her costume, and continued the performance entirely naked. the audience LOVED IT, but mike hale (the owner of the palladium) was a “christian” and was completely scandalised, although he made it sound a lot more like he was concerned about the city ordinance regarding “titties and alcohol”. 😉 he threatened to have the entire event shut down unless we found another venue for the more “suggestive” shows. 🤣
i made the programs for year 7. year 9 the programs went online, because that way it would be easier to modify them, when (as happened in previous years) an artist cancelled at the last minute, or changed their schedule without notifying anyone. and it made excellent use of the new domain and web site that the event had just purchased. 😉
the 2020 moisture festival was all set to go when the pandemic hit, and it was unceremoniously cancelled at the last possible moment. the 2021 moisture festival was four days of online presentations. i took part in two of them, but it was so totally “not the same” that it was entirely forgettable.
the moisture festival WILL continue… we now have the infrastructure and the network to insure that. what is still in question is how that continuance will take shape.
whatever happens, despite my near-constant griping and moaning about individuals associated with the moisture festival, there will be nothing, EVER that even remotely compares to the moisture festival, as it has been.