National Storytelling Festival


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Storytelling Festival, National

First weekend in October
A three-day festival in Jonesborough, Tenn., the National Storytelling Festival was started in 1973 to revive the ancient folk art of storytelling. The popularity of storytelling seemed to be dying, replaced by radio, television, and movies. The first festival was the idea of Jimmy Neil Smith, a Jonesborough schoolteacher who became executive director of the festival's sponsor, the National Association for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Storytelling (now known as the Storytelling Foundation International), which was formed in 1975 and is headquartered in Jonesborough. That first event drew about 60 people. At first, people sat on bales of hay, then the festival moved to kitchens and parlors and porches, and finally into the large tents that are used now. The festival has inspired scores of similar events around the country as well as college courses in storytelling.
About 6,000 people now attend to listen to storytellers relate ghost stories, sacred stories, ballads, tall tales, myths, legends, and fairy tales. Restaurants set up food booths, and a resource tent provides tapes and other material. The 20th-anniversary celebration in 1992 brought together more than 80 storytellers who had all appeared at previous festivals. A highlight was a special ghost-story concert by tellers of supernatural tales.
See also Tellabration and Yukon International Storytelling Festival
CONTACTS:
International Storytelling Center
116 W. Main St.
Jonesborough, TN 37659
800-952-8392 or 423-753-2171; fax: 423-913-8219
www.storytellingfestival.net
SOURCES:
GdUSFest-1984, p. 174
References in periodicals archive ?
Live and Thriving at the 30th National Storytelling Festival, National Storytelling Festival, www.storynet.org, two volume CD featuring 18 different tellers and telling styles.
`Live and Kickin,' ' a 2003 CD of his performances with Zeb Holt at the National Storytelling Festival, includes such tales as `123-Year-Old Washboard Player" and "Dizzy Gillespie's Jaw Harp."
There's a huge history of things that need to be talked about that have to do with the evolution of the people." Storytelling Festivals and Resources, 2003: The 21st National Association of Black Storytellers Festival November 12-16, 2003 Providence, Rhode Island, (410) 947-1117 www.nabsnet.org The National Storytelling Festival sponsored by the International Storytelling Center Jonesborough, Tennessee (800) 952-8392; (423) 753-2171 www.storytellingcenter.com Now in its 31st year, the event attracts nearly 12,000 people.

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