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International Storytelling Center

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Address: 116 W Main St, Jonesborough, TN 37659-1239
Phone Number:
+1 800-952-8392
Website
Today
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Mon - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Description:

In our age of fast-moving technology, it seems unlikely that thousands of...

In our age of fast-moving technology, it seems unlikely that thousands of audience members could spend a weekend mesmerized by the voices of storytellers. But that's exactly what happens in Jonesborough every year, starting the first Friday in October and running through the weekend. The National Storytelling Festival began in 1973 when 60 people came to hear a few Appalachian tales from the back of a hay wagon parked beside the town courthouse. In the decades since, those 60 people have grown to 10,000, and the hay wagon has been replaced by large, circus-like tents raised throughout the town. Those first mountain tales are supplemented now with stories from around the globe, spiked with the flair of poetry, blues, ballads and banjo. The Festival encompasses a wealth of cultures, traditions and styles- a world of stories within one small, historic town.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 108 reviews
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  • 86
    Excellent
  • 15
    Very good
  • 5
    Average
  • 1
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  • 1
    Terrible
Delightful outing right in our backyard.

The city of Jonesborough is a beautiful little city full of quaint shops and also packed with history that even Tennessee residents are often not aware of. You can spend a day... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
hendersonc473
,
Oakland, Tennessee
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108 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 108: English reviews
Oakland, Tennessee
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

The city of Jonesborough is a beautiful little city full of quaint shops and also packed with history that even Tennessee residents are often not aware of. You can spend a day here enjoying the restaurants and the craft shops; in addition the annual storytelling festival will keep you entertained with raconteurs from all over the nation plying their significant... More 

Helpful?
Thank hendersonc473
Marion, VA USA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2016

For many years I have enjoyed journeying to Jonesborough, TN, just spend the day visiting all the wonderful shoppes and having a great meal at one of their many restaurants. I have introduced many of my family and friends to Jonesborough, and they have returned with others of their friends. In fact, we are traveling that way this coming Thursday... More 

Helpful?
Thank Diane J
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Thanks for the great review, Diane, and for spreading the news of our great little town with your friends and family. More 

Jonesborough, Tennessee
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2016

The stories were good but the amplifier was so loud it made me cover my ears much of the time. Do they assume that because many of us are older that we can't hear? I couldn't hear much for a while after that event.

Helpful?
Thank rs112346
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Thanks for taking the time to review us! We're so glad you enjoyed the stories, but sorry to hear that the volume was an issue. We will certainly take that in to account during our sound checks next year. More 

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Level Contributor
48 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 27, 2016 via mobile

I came with high expectations but was disappointed. The day we visited the resident story teller told her family history, not really any "stories" as I had expected. We both almost fell asleep. Better luck next time!

Helpful?
Thank KenBarbie432
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

We're sorry to hear your experience wasn't top notch. Please accept our apologies and two tickets to give us another try during our upcoming Teller-In-Residence season. I can be reached at reached at 800-952-8392, ext. 224. Sincerely, Rachel Stiltner Communications Coordinator More 

New York
Level Contributor
119 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2016

While visiting relatives we went here to see what it was like. The story teller Laura Simms was a great story teller. She kept us on the edge of our seat throughout the entire story. I didn't know what to expect but I really enjoyed it. Was a great afternoon.

Helpful?
Thank cobra487
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Thanks for reviewing us. Isn't Laura Simms fantastic? We hope to see you again for this year's Teller-In-Residence program or the National Storytelling Festival! More 

Annandale, Virginia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2016

I attended the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. It was fabulous. First of all, the historic city is impressive. There is history in every part of downtown. The tens for the festival dotted the town and the stories of the professional storytellers amazed, engaged, entertained, and informed the audiences. The Center registration process and ample materials about storytelling were wonderful... More 

Helpful?
Thank PEWhite
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. We're glad you enjoyed the festival and hope you'll visit again next year! More 

Westmont, New Jersey
Level Contributor
76 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2016

We attending the annual International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough just last week (October 2016). The festival lasts from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon. We were unsure what to expect and were blown away. Thought sitting in tents for hours listening to stories would be iffy but the storytellers were, without exception, fabulous and kept our attention easily. The festival is... More 

Helpful?
Thank Barbara V
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Hi, Barbara! We're glad you could join us. Thanks for the great description and review of the festival. More 

Tucson
Level Contributor
84 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2016

This is a bucket list item for anyone who loves great entertainment. It is amazing, inspiring, fun and unique. And if anyone tells you it is an incredible experience, take that recommendation and multiply it by 400%...nothing will prepare you for how wonderful this Festival is. Have attended 4 times, have already registered for next year.

Helpful?
Thank RinconTraveler
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Wow! Thanks for this stellar review, RiconTraveler. We believe it's the people who attend the National Storytelling Festival that make it so great. We look forward to seeing you in October! More 

Anderson, South Carolina
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2016

Awesome tellers at this festival. This was my first experience at Jonesborough, TN, but it will certainly not be my last. Minton Sparks will light you up then bring you to tears with her sing-song poetry set to guitar strumming, plucking and sweet pickin. Add her animation, whispers and sighs and you're hooked! Donald Davis can spin a tale that... More 

Helpful?
Thank SCTaxLady
International S... C, Communication Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Hi, SCTaxLady! We love your descriptions and have to agree- our tellers are the best in the world! We're glad you had such a wonderful first experience. We hope you can join us again in October. More 

Lima, Peru
Level Contributor
142 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2016

This event is now very expensive. $550 for a family 3 day pass plus hotel plus cost of getting to Jonesborough plus food is too much. The story telling is usually good although there are a few that I would rather have not heard. The chairs in the tents are very uncomfortable.

Helpful?
Thank SilverLlama
International S... C, Communications Coordinator at International Storytelling Center, responded to this review

Hi, SilverLlama. I'm sorry to hear your experience wasn't great. If you find yourself in Jonesborough anytime between May and October, give me a call at 800-952-8392, ext. 224 and I'll make sure you get two tickets to one of our Teller-In-Residence performances in the Mary B. Martin Theater. The seating is sure to be more comfortable! Sincerely, International Storytelling... More 

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State College, Pennsylvania
isle of palms,sc
over a year ago
Raleigh, North Carolina

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?