Storytelling is no longer limited to campfire circles or children’s reading time at the library. The oral tradition of storytelling lives on in festivals across America. Whether you’re looking for a humorous tall tale, a mystical folk story, or a musical travelogue, storytelling festivals will fill your niche and leave you yearning for more. You can even follow your favorite storytellers across the country. Professional storytellers—including Donald Davis, Clare Murphy, Bil Lepp, Carmen Deedy, Andy Offutt Irwin, and Kevin Kling—attend these storytelling events and often make repeat appearances at various festivals.
The next time you’re traveling across the United States, consider making a sidestop at the local storytelling festival, and help preserve the oldest form of oral tradition.
Timpanogos Storytelling Festival
Where: Orem, Utah
When: September 3–5
This festival is one of the largest storytelling fesivals in the West. In addition to the festival, Timpanogos Storytelling sponsers several storytelling retreats and conferences. This festival grew at an incredible rate in only 25 years.
Four Corners Storytelling Festival
Where: Farmington, New Mexico
When: October 9–10
This storytelling festival specializes in stories about the Old West. Four Corners Storytelling Festival is a great chance to experience the Navajo and Hispanic cultures while getting a glimpse of the past.
Athens Storytelling Festival
Where: Athens, Alabama
When: October 21–25
Storytelling invades downtown Athens, Alabama. Athens Storytelling Festival is located in the courthouse square. Visitors call easily appreciate the lost art of storytelling while exploring the differents shops just a block away.
Storytelling Festival of Carolina
Where: Laurinburg, North Carolina
When: October 16–18
Performing and visual arts thrive in North Carolina as the community works to create a cultural rich environment through storytelling. Storytelling is a perfect way for children and adults to spend a beautiful autumn night.
National Storytelling Festival
Where: Jonesborough, Tennessee
When: October 2–4
National Storytelling festival is celebrating 43 years of storytelling this year. Although some people believe storytelling is outdated, the storytelling community of Tennessee know there is something inspiring about sharing adventures together.
Feature mural by Norman Rockwell.