National Storytelling Festival, Oct. 4-6

The 41st annual National Storytelling Festival, held each year in Jonesborough, Tenn., features nearly two dozen world-class tellers, from old-time balladeers to modern humorists. The event takes place October 4 – 6, with regular programming scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

From a press release:

Throughout the weekend, featured tellers will perform beneath circus-style tents scattered across downtown Jonesborough. Other activities include the festival’s second annual Story Slam and the Exchange Place, which showcases up-and-coming talent. Everyone is welcome to trade stories at the Swappin’ Ground, grab a snack at the food court, or enjoy a break in the beer and wine garden.

A few separate ticketed events are available for night owls throughout the weekend, including Ghost Stories and Midnight Cabaret. These popular concerts are on both Friday and Saturday nights, at 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., respectively.

Two pre-festival events have been organized for local fans and early arrivals. Storytelling icon Donald Davis will christen the grounds of the festival with a special evening performance on Wednesday, October 2. Then on Thursday, October 3, musicians Tim O’Brien and Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line will host an exclusive concert. All tickets are sold separately and advance purchase is recommended.

Tickets for the National Storytelling Festival — as well as its special events — can be purchased online at, at the International Storytelling Center (ISC) in downtown Jonesborough, or on the Festival grounds. The National Storytelling Festival is sponsored in part by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. For more information or to make reservations, call ISC at (800) 952-8392, ext. 221.


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