Stories Bind Communities
Taos and Farmington keep spoken word tale-telling alive in New Mexico with two storytelling festivals
Janet Webb, October 1, 2017
October is storytelling month around the country. While the behemoth of all storytelling festivals is the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee (45-years-old in 2017), two northern New Mexico communities also make a big splash with mostly-free, community-wide storytelling festivals every October. Taos and Farmington have both chosen the second weekend in October for their annual storytelling festivals.
IN TAOS, SOMOS, the Literary Society of Taos, is preparing to host the 18th annual Taos Storytelling Festival on October 13 and 14. Youth workshops, StorySwaps, and StorySlams will be held in the new SOMOS Salon on Civic Plaza Drive, just north of the historic Taos Plaza. The grand Big Stage event will be held just down the block at Taos Community Auditorium on Saturday evening. SOMOS arranges for a teller to visit Taos public schools to bring the craft of storytelling to students.
IN FARMINGTON on October 13 and 14, Farmington Public Library hosts a city-wide festival called Four Corners Storytelling Festival, now in its 17th year. Two venues will present four headliners and many youth storytellers: Totah Theatre is a Pueblo Deco-style movie theater built in 1948, now a thriving music and live theater venue. The Totah will host the evening performances for the festival; Farmington Public Library will host workshops led by pros for aspiring storytellers on Friday.
Here are more details on each festival with links to learn more and videos by the tellers.
Taos Storytelling Festival – October 13-14, 2017
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Andy Offutt Irwin
James Nave, festival director
Schedule (all events are free except where noted):
Friday, October 13
7:00-9:30 pm: SOMOS Invitational StorySLAM, with the theme of generosity, hosted by James Navé, ticketed. SOMOS Salon.
Saturday, October 14
10:00-12:00 pm: Youth storytelling workshop, Swing Your Stories, with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and James Nave. SOMOS Salon.
12:45-3:15 pm: Fibbers Can Tell the Truth, adult storytelling workshop with Andy Offut Irwin, ticketed. SOMOS Salon.
3:30-5:00 pm: SOMOS StorySWAP hosted by James Nave. SOMOS Salon.
7:00-10:00 pm: Big Stage Show, Stars Shine Bright, featuring headliners Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and Andy Offut Irwin, along with Cisco Guevara and winners of the Friday StorySLAM, ticketed. Taos Community Auditorium
Visit festival website for tickets and more details.
Find Taos visitor resources at TAOS.org.
Four Corners Storytelling Festival – October 13-14, 2017
Micheal Reno Harrell
Schedule (all events are free):
Friday, October 13
9:30am – 2:00pm Storytelling
5:30pm – Join Kim Weitkamp and Michael Reno Harrell for your favorite bedtime stories– wear your jammies! Recommended for pre-K to 6th grade.
6:30pm – Prepare for scares with Lyn Ford, Sam Payne, Doug Elliott, Michael Reno Harrell. Recommended for ages 13 and up
Saturday, October 14
9:30am –3:00pm – Stories from nationally-recognized storytellers with Sam Payne, Doug Elliott, Lyn Ford, Kim Weitkamp, Micheal Reno Harrell
6:30 pm – Festival Finale with Sam Payne, Doug Elliott, Lyn Ford, Kim Weitkamp, Micheal Reno Harrell
Events are free but reservations are required; see festival website.
Find Farmington visitor resources at FarmingtonNM.org
More about the art of storytelling
Storytellers of New Mexico – An organization that promotes, supports, and encourages the art, knowledge, and history of storytelling.
International Storytelling Center – An organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering people across the world to accomplish goals and make a difference by discovering, capturing, and sharing their stories. Host of the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough.
SOMOS, the Literary Society of Taos – Since 1983, supporting and nurturing the literary arts, both written and spoken, honoring cultural diversity in the Southwest