Ever since the advent of television effectively killed the radio drama, oral storytelling has been on the decline. Now that we have the Internet, iPods, YouTube, and any number of other visual media at our fingertips, some may think that storytelling is completely dead. Well, there are some folks that beg to differ.
Starting April 10th and running through the 13th, the Tejas Storytelling Association will host the 2008 Texas Storytelling Festival. This year’s festival will be held in Denton, just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and will feature storytellers from all across the country, including Doug Lipman, Tim Tingle, Doc Moore, James Ford, and Carmen Deedy. The festival will feature ghost stories, Native American tales, and Cowboy Poetry.
According to their website, the Tejas Storytelling Association was started in 1986 with the mission of perpetuating the art of storytelling throughout the South Central Region. TSA will continue to promote all facets of storytelling and to expand the understanding and experiences of storytelling by nurturing storytellers and listeners and recruiting new audiences. They named the new organization Tejas to express founding member Finley Stewart’s grand vision of creating an organization that would bring together listeners and tellers from throughout the Texas region. Tejas is the Caddo Indian word for friend, from which Texas derives its name.
Some of the highlights of this year’s event include:
GHOST TALES: Thursday night means ghost stories. Tales begin at 7:00pm with frights appropriate for the younger set, and get progressively more scary throughout the evening. Come hear haunting legends and eerie tales of the unexplained and unexplainable. This concert is free.
TALESPINNER DINNER AND SILENT AUCTION: April 12th 5:00-7:00 p.m. Join the featured storytellers for dinner before the evening concert. Relax with beer and wine and lots of great food, plus a chance to place bids on a number of goods and services at the festival’s silent auction. All funds raised will go to support activities of the festival. Cost $20.00
LONE STAR LIARS COMPETITION: The second annual contest that’s a crowd favorite. Whether fact or fiction, come see if you can be the biggest liar at this year’s festival and compete for a $250.00 prize and bragging rights. Application can be found at the festival website. Entry Fee: $20.00.
TRADITIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN STORYTELLING: A unique and very special feature of the festival occurs on Saturday morning with 2 hours of traditional Native American stories which remind us of the sacredness of all life.
COWBOY CHURCH AND COWBOY POETRY: It’s not Texas without cowboys. Come out Sunday morning at 10:00 am to worship the cowboy way, followed by a cowboy poetry reading from 11:30 to 12:30.
The festival is located in Denton, Texas at Hubbard Hall on the Texas Woman’s University campus. Times are Thursday April 10th (7pm – 9 pm); Friday April 11th (9am – 11 pm); Saturday April 12th (9am – 11pm); and Sunday April 13th (9am – 3pm).
A four-day Festival Package includes all concerts and 90-minute workshops, but not Talespinner Dinner: TSA Member $100; TSA Non Member $150; TSA Youth Member $50; and TSA Non-Youth Members $65. Individual event ticket. Costs for individual events are: Texas Talespinner Dinner $20.00; Student Field Trip Day $6.00; Tiny Tales for Tiny Tots $2.00; Individual Workshops $20.00; Friday or Saturday Day Passes $40.00; Lone Star Liars Application Fee $20.00; Sunday Day Passes $20.00; Evening Concert Tickets $10.00; and Individual Day Concert Tickets $5.00.