The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The 34th National Storytelling Festival

Image: Last years NSF brochure cover.

Now is the time to make plans for the 34th National Storytelling Festival, October 6-8, 2006 in Jonesborough, Tennessee! The festival begins Friday morning and continues through Sunday afternoon.

I know that it may seem a little early to be telling you about an event that doesn’t take place until October but, if you want to go hear these fascinating tales unfold beneath big festival tents and nighttime stars, you need to purchase tickets and make hotel reservations early; this festival attracts the world's best raconteurs to regale crowds of some 10,000 people.

Over thirty years ago, a high school journalism teacher and a carload of students heard Grand Ole Opry regular Jerry Clower spin a tale over the radio about coon hunting in Mississippi. And the teacher—Jimmy Neil Smith—had a sudden inspiration: “Why not have a storytelling festival right here in Northeast Tennessee?”

On a warm October weekend in 1973 in historic Jonesborough, the first National Storytelling Festival was held. Hay bales and wagons were the stages, and audience and tellers together didn't number more than 60. It was tiny, but something happened that weekend that changed forever our culture, this traditional art form, and the little Tennessee town.

The festival, now in its 34th year and acclaimed as one of the Top 100 Events in North America has sparked a renaissance of storytelling across the country. To spearhead that revival, Smith and a few other story lovers founded the National Storytelling Association. The founding organization became the center of an ever-widening movement that continues to gain momentum to this day. Storytelling organizations, festivals, and educational events have popped up all over the world. Teachers, healthcare workers, therapists, corporate executives, librarians, spiritual leaders, parents, and others regularly make storytelling a vibrant part of their everyday lives and work.

For more information and too purchase tickets, visit the National Storytelling website.

For an interesting read and an interview with Jimmy Neil Smith click here.

And, to read, or listen to, a couple such stories written by yours truly click here.

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  • At Wednesday, 22 February, 2006, Blogger Leslie Shelor said…

    Story is so much a part of these mountains; this is a wonderful celebration!

  • At Thursday, 23 February, 2006, Blogger D L Ennis said…

    It is a wonderful Celebration. Storytelling would be a nice addition to your festivals Leslie!

  • At Friday, 24 February, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a cool surprise to find a blog devoted to life as I know it (other than my own blog of course). It just so happens that I live in Jonesborough and help out with this festival and several other events as well here in Jonesborough. You are spot on when you say plan ahead for this event. There are sold out tents each year with people standing around trying to listen to the tellers spin their yarns. I love this festival! Do yourself a favour and get tickets soon. You will go away filled to the rim with stories from around the world. If you would like to peer into my life, take a look at this.

  • At Saturday, 25 February, 2006, Blogger D L Ennis said…

    Thanks for your comment Anonymous! What a lucky guy, to be able to be at this event every year. Very cool!


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