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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