Tips for the 2019 Festival

Tips for the 2019 Festival

The 2019 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival officially kicks off next week and we are thrilled to be back at our new site at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point. As with any new experience and location we have learned a few lessons, but lucky for you that means this year will be better than ever. We’ve tried to think through as many things as possible to give you a few tips that will hopefully help us all to have a wonderful weekend of storytelling.

Tip #1: Parking and Shuttles

The parking is plentiful at Thanksgiving Point and the parking staff is efficient. Guests will be directed to designated parking areas as they arrive at the Ashton Gardens. There will be a second entrance next to the Museum of Natural Curiosity, which will make it easier for guests who are parking in those lots. Patrons using this entrance should have purchased their tickets in advance.

For evening events at The Electric Park Pavilion and The Show Barn, you may park in any available parking stalls near the venues. When exiting, we highly recommend that you head south to access I-15 (rather than north where you will run into traffic exiting the gardens).

Parking in unmarked areas or on the street is not permitted. Carpooling is strongly recommended to help alleviate traffic congestion.

Avoid Traffic by riding UTA and using the free Shuttle
Tickets for the FrontRunner will be available for $3.75 per person per day during the festival. A shuttle will be running from the Lehi FrontRunner Station to the Festival from Thursday evening until Saturday evening.

The Thanksgiving Point Trolley will be running through the parking areas of the festival!

Tip #2: Food

As usual, Utah restaurants will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks at the Festival. This year our vendors will line the rim of the Garden Amphitheater and will include several local restaurants as well as Thanksgiving Point Concessions. Most meals are around $10. In addition to these vendors, you also have the option of having a sit-down lunch or dinner (11:00 am to 7 pm Friday and Saturday) at The Trellis Café located at the Garden Visitor Center. Reservations are recommended for those wishing to eat at The Trellis Café and can be made by calling 801-768-4996.

Music will be available for those wishing to dine in or around the amphitheater, with tables set up just west of the amphitheater for your eating and listening pleasure. A few picnic tables are also available near the Thanksgiving Point concessions. Besides these designated eating areas, there are many beautiful areas in the gardens and we invite you to bring a blanket and enjoy the beauty of our new location. And, of course, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks into the Gardens.

Concessions (no vendors) will also be available at the Electric Park location for Bedtime Stories and Laughin’ Night.

We anticipate that the traffic between the Ashton Garden’s and the entrance to I-15 will be busy (very, very busy) on Friday between 4pm and 6pm and so we (highly) encourage those coming for the day and staying for the evening to plan on not leaving the Festival site between our day and evening events. Instead, we welcome you to explore the gardens (feed the koi!), visit fanfare, and have a lovely picnic dinner (now easier than ever since you can easily run back to your car and grab a cooler full of your own food).

Tip #3: Bathrooms

We are (perhaps inordinately) excited for the many, many bathrooms available to us during the Festival. There are three bathroom locations (real bathrooms with actual running water!) that you will want to acquaint yourselves with upon arrival. The first (and largest) (and air conditioned) is located in the Garden Visitor Center (the main entrance to the Festival). The second is located along the rim of the Garden Amphitheater at the back of the Thanksgiving Point Concessions. And the third is located just south of the pottery tent.
And this year we have added new portable bathrooms for your added convenience. You can never have too many bathrooms. Am I right?

Tip #4: Amphitheater Seating

The Garden Amphitheater will be used this year for My Favorite Stories on Friday night and as one location of Laughin’ Night on Saturday night. The line for each of these events will start to form at 5 pm at the amphitheater and seating will open at 5:30. Any blankets, chairs, or other materials put out before 5 pm will be removed by Ashton Gardens’ staff before seating opens. Live music will begin at 7 pm.

For everyone’s convenience, the Garden Amphitheater is split into different sections: a blanket area (B), a low back chair area (no taller than 30 inches) (LB), a high back chair area (HB) and reserved seating. Each section will have a designated area that will be clearly marked (see picture below). If attendees are interested in having a chair for the performance, they can bring their own or rent one from Thanksgiving Point for $5. There will also be designated areas for wheelchair seating along the rim of the amphitheater.

Tip #5: Electric Park Seating

This one is an easy one: Electric Park will be chairs only and all chairs will be provided and set up prior to the storytelling.

As noted in the food tip, concessions (but no vendors) will also be available at the Electric Park.

Tip #6: Gates Open

Thursday, September 5:

Registration for the Conference begins at 8:30 am.

Gates open for Look Who’s Talking at 5:00 pm. (Live music begins at 6:00 pm.)

Friday, September 6:

Gates open for daytime events at 9:00 am. (Live music and puppetry performances begin at 9:30 am. Storytelling in the tents begins at 10:00 am.)

The line for My Favorite Stories at the Garden Amphitheater starts to form at 5:00 pm.
Amphitheater seating opens at 5:30 pm. (Live music starts at 7:00 pm with storytelling beginning at 8:00 pm.)

Gates open for Bedtime Stories at The Electric Park Pavilion at 5:30 pm. (A preshow performance starts at 5:45 pm with storytelling beginning at 6:30 pm.)

Gates open for Shivers in the Night at The Show Barn at 8:30 pm with storytelling beginning at 9:00 pm.

Saturday, September 7:

Gates open for daytime events at 9:00 am. (Live music and puppetry performances begin at 9:30 am. Storytelling in the tents begins at 10:00 am.)

The line for Laughin’ Night at the Garden Amphitheater starts to form at 5:00 pm.
Amphitheater seating opens at 5:30 pm. (Live music starts at 7:00 pm with storytelling beginning at 8:00 pm.)

Gates open for Laughin’ Night at The Electric Park Pavilion at 5:30 pm. (Live music starts at 7:00 pm with storytelling beginning at 8:00 pm.)

Tip #7: Miscellaneous

*Need your Festival peaches and ice cream fix? Thanksgiving Point Concessions at the Ashton Gardens is the place to pick up this Festival tradition.

*While average daytime temperatures are 80 F and above, early morning and evenings in the Gardens can be a little chilly so plan accordingly.

*Trying to map out your day and need a schedule and map right now? We have an app for that. You can also find this same map and schedule in the Festival program book, for those who prefer a physical copy. Just click on the bar to your right.

*Golf carts? Of course! Golf carts will be running on back paths from the Garden Visitor Center to the tent areas for those who need assistance.

*Pottery is open from 10:00 am to 11:30 am and 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. You can sign up at the Pottery tent which is located south of the Rose Garden Tent. The slots fill up fast so be sure to sign up early!

*At the end of the day, consider taking a few minutes to explore the gardens, share a few stories with your friends and family, and just generally let the traffic get moving before you join the throng. This year we will be opening all lanes of traffic at the end of Saturday’s Laughin’ Night to allow for a quicker exit of vehicles from the parking lots near the Amphitheater venue.

*We have an amazing group of volunteers that have made it possible for this Festival to happen for the last 30 years. If you see one of them, give them a smile and a quick thanks. I’m sure they would love it. Remember, patience, kindness and courtesy have been the hallmark of festival goers since it began. Let’s keep that tradition going.

*If you have questions or concerns during the Festival, the fastest way to get ahold of us is to find one of us wearing or a white Timpanogos Storytelling shirt with a lanyard around our necks or through Twitter or Instagram (@TimpFest)..

Get to Know Don White

Get to Know Don White

Don White is a storyteller-comedian-author-troubadour-folk singer-songwriter, and since it’s his first time performing at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival we thought it would be nice if he could introduce himself to our Festival attendees so we asked him three questions.

1. This is our 30th anniversary and we’re so happy you will be celebrating this milestone with us. As a first-time teller at the festival, what would you like our audience to know about you?

“My performances used to be songs with little stories in between them. Over the past twenty years they became stories with little songs in between them. I like to go back and forth between being funny and being serious. I think humor that is friendly and not mean spirited is a very powerful tool for connecting with an audience. I’m interested in putting stories into the world through as many genres as possible. Whether I am singing or telling, being funny or serious, speaking plainly or poetically, I am always trying to serve the story so that it will find as many ears and hearts as possible.

Old people are hunched over by the weight of their untold stories.
If you encourage an old man to tell you his stories you will see his back straighten and his skin tighten quite discernibly with the telling of each one.
If an old woman could find an attentive ear for the dispensing of only one story each day she would be young again in the span of one year.

An odd world, don’t you think, where billions of stories live for year upon year in search of a place to be told?

Of what earthly good is a story without an ear to receive it, without a mind to be challenged by it, without a sense of wonder to marvel at it and, most importantly, without an open heart to possibly see the world differently after being moved by it?

It is something of a miracle to me that a body of ninety years can summon the strength to move one inch under the weight of ten thousand untold stories.”

2. Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. Would you consider your stories to be more timeless (traditional stories) or timely (personal narrative)?

“My stories and songs are drawn from my life. I’d like to think that the stories I tell from my life focus on universal themes.”

3. How can a new fan hear more from you after the festival? Do you have any published work, a website or other social media sites?

“I have a website: – and a facebook page: – My ten CDS, my two DVDs and my book are available on the website as well as lots of concert video for viewing.

You can see Don and all of the other tellers at the 30th Anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival September 5-7, 2019 at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point by purchasing tickets online or at the gate.

Andy Hedges, Cowboy Poet and Songster

Andy Hedges, Cowboy Poet and Songster

Andy Hedges is new to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival this year, but his brand of storytelling is not. He joins a select group of cowboy poets and storytellers that have graced the stage at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, so we asked him to introduce himself and his Texas brand of storytelling.

“I come from Lubbock, Texas and I recite cowboy poetry and I sing old-time cowboy songs. Cowboy poetry is an oral storytelling tradition and I think it will be a great fit at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Would you consider your stories to be more timeless (traditional stories) or timely (personal narrative)?

“I would say more timeless traditional stories. My performances are centered around traditional cowboy poetry recitations and the folk songs of the working cowboy. Many of these poems have been passed down for generations and the roots of cowboy music go all the way back to the British Isles.”

Where can we go to hear more from you?

“I’m on all of the social media sites but a great way to hear more from me is to listen to my podcast Cowboy Crossroads. I do in-depth interviews with poets, musicians, and working cowboys. My guests have included Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Waddie Mitchell, and Colter Wall. It’s available on my website ( and on podcast providers like iTunes and Spotify.”

Thanks Andy. We’re looking forward to having you join us at our 30th annual festival. To see Andy, get your tickets to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival September 5-7 at the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

Introducing Simon Brooks

Introducing Simon Brooks

One of the new featured tellers at the festival is Simon Brooks. He is here to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary and we’ve asked him to tell us a little about himself.

“I was born in Tuffley, Gloucestershire, England, but spent most of my growing up in Worcester, near the Malvern Hills and the Welsh border. From Worcester we would make forays into Wales to see the castles, and travel visiting standing stones burial grounds, battle sights and other story places. I moved to the United States in 1994 to marry an American girl I had met in Eastbourne, England where I had been working and telling tales! Fast forward 25 years. We now live in New London, New Hampshire, New England, New World, and have a son and daughter, and cat and dog. If you follow me on Instagram (SimonMBrooks), you will see the hashtag – #inthewoodswithmoe which shows the hikes I take with my dog. You will also see where I have been telling my tales when you use #ontheroadstorytelling.

The tales I tell are the Ancient Tales – myths, legends, folk and fairy tales. I rarely tell personal stories, although sometimes use personal narrative as a segue in or out of a tale. I feel the old stories are powerful, and filled with wisdom and wonder, whereas my life is well, my life and therefore lacking mermaids, giants, and the wee folk I love so much! I tell these tales to adults as well as children, and absolutely love my job.

I have five CDs out, Second-hand Tales (2006); More Second-hand Tales (2008), which won a Silver Honors from Parent’s Choice; and A Tangle of Tales (2011), which won a Gold Award from people’s Choice. In 2015 I hurriedly released Moonlit Stories for a theatre show – Revels North which features Tam Lim. This went from inception to release in under two months! Never again. I released The Epic of Gilgamesh, a retelling in 2017, and in 2018 it won a Gold Award from Parent’s Choice. This is an authentic retelling of the epic, and accessible to anyone, with the goal of being appropriate for middle school children. I felt the versions I saw used in schools I visited were not authentic, or were boring. I have a lot of very happy Gilgamesh fans out there of all ages!

My first book, Under the Oaken Bough, a collection of 17 folk and fairy tales, was released in 2018 to great reception. It is a handy little book with a section on tips for telling, an author’s Q & A (did you know that most authors write their own Qs to A?), a resource list/bibliography, and a lexicon, or vocab list with all the “big words” so I wouldn’t have to take them out of the book! It is published by Parkhurst Brothers and is available most places – order it from your local brick and mortar book shop or snag your copy at Timpanogos! Although you can order it on-line!

If you have never heard my work before, or want to hear even more of my work, my CDs can be found for sale at my distributor, CDBaby:
and here:

I also have a number of other places you can find my work. On SoundCloud ( I rotate work in and out, put new work up, some of which might make future albums. My YouTube Channel ( features a number of videos of me performing, and some other storytellers who were filmed by me. You can find my work for free on my website (which points to ) > Videos, Audio and Free Stuff page ( If you are interested in listening to interviews of the elders in my community who tell, or told folk and fairy tales, myths and legends – such as Elizabeth Ellis, Laura Simms, Michael Parent, Jay O’Callahan and others – please visit my podcast: which comes out once a month. You can get early access and other goodies if you sign up on my Patreon page: which helps keep the podcast running! You can also hear me on Rachel Ann Harding’s podcast, StoryStoryPodcast where I occasionally host and also tell stories!

If you have any questions please feel to reach out to me and I will do my best to answer them. You can use the from on my website or shoot me an email: simon at diamondscree dot com. The form sends me an email, so it’s kind of the same thing! I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can. Sometimes I am on the road travelling and telling stories!

We’re so glad to have you join us this year, Simon. To hear his stories as well as others, please join us at the 30th anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, September 5-7 at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. Tickets can be purchased online.

Bil Lepp – Telling It Like It Is

Bil Lepp – Telling It Like It Is

We asked Bil Lepp to share some of his memories of the festival as well his thoughts on storytelling in general. As usual, he tells it like it is.

Q- As you know, this is our 30th anniversary and we’re so happy you will be celebrating this milestone with us. As a veteran of the festival would you please share some of your memories of the festival?

A- Timp is one of my favorite festivals! I don’t always answer my phone if I don’t recognize the number, but if the area code is 801, I pick up on the first ring.

I did the Exchange Place at the National Festival in 2000. That was really my first introduction into full fledged storytelling. Shortly after that I got a phone call from Janet Low. She asked if I would be a New Voice and said something like, “We can offer you (…) hundred.” Up to that point I had never made more than $100 for telling stories. And I said, “(…) hundred what?” She laughed and said, “Dollars.” I was blown away.

Timpanogos was the first festival I was invited to as a full fledged teller, even if I was just a New Voice. I was going to be on stage with the big names! The festival was then still at The Homestead and I performed with, I think, Syd Lieberman, Carmen Deedy, Bill Harley, David Holt, Waddie Mitchell, and others. To be honest, I was so new I didn’t even know who most of those people were. I did know Harley was a big shot and a great teller. On Friday night at the SCERA Shell I was telling the Buckdog story and Bill & Syd were in the front row. They were laughing very hard and nudging each other. I’m sure now that they were laughing at how awful I was, and nudging each other as if to say, “Who is this yokel?” But I like to think they were impressed with my telling, and that has always been a very proud moment for me.

I miss the SCERA Shell. That was a great venue. I think it is still the largest single audience I have ever performed for, and the roar of that crowd on a breezy summer night was confirmation that my hours spent telling in sweaty school gyms and church basements to 300 kindergartners or 8 retired ladies were worth the while.

Of course the new venue at Thanksgiving Point is wonderful as well. I’ve only been there once, but I am certainly looking forward to being back this year. I’m sure I’ll come to love it as much as the Homestead, and Timpanogos park.

And the people that run the festival, from the staff to the lowliest volunteer, are some of the best folks in the storytelling community. I don’t want to name names because I don’t want to leave anybody out, but I have to mention that Stephanie A. was my first van driver at Timp, and it has been fun to grow as a teller at Timp while the festival has grown and people like Stephanie have grown in responsibility. Also, I can’t forget Dale, the intrepid and unflappable sign language interpreter.

Q- What is one piece of advice you could give our young tellers or anyone who would like to share their stories?

A- A storyteller isn’t presenting a story to an audience. The teller and audience are working together to get the story told. You’ve got to pay attention to the audience and respond to how they are hearing the story. All good storytelling is a conversation, an extension of the supper table or the front porch. When you are telling a story to your friends or family, other people are asking questions, interrupting, interjecting, contradicting and having various emotional reactions. A good teller responds to the input of the listeners. When you are on stage hopefully people aren’t vocally interjecting or worse, contradicting, but you have to be aware that the audience is an active participant in the story. Also, you gotta listen to what the other tellers tell. If you’re anything but first in the line-up, you are continuing a conversation, not starting a new one.

Finally, know you’re story and be confident. You can be nervous, but if you’re ill at ease your audience will be too. You want your audience cheering for you, not worrying about you.

Q- Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. In what way do you think storytelling is timeless or timely?

A- Whether you are telling ancient stories, traditional stories, serious stories, true stories or tall-tales, you are talking to people of all ages. When you get everybody from the grandchild to the grandparent laughing, or otherwise engaged in your tale, you are spanning generations and and uniting the feelings and memories of everyone involved. In that way, you are spanning time. If you have a 9 year old, a 45 year old, and a 95 year old simultaneously remembering when they were each 7 years old you have breached the space time continuum: you have three people- or 3000 people- actively reliving and reveling in separate events that happened decades apart but are happening all over again in the present moment. That’s pretty timeless. As for timely, if stories didn’t teach timely and timeless values they wouldn’t still be being told 1000s of years after they were created. If you see trouble, and you know it’s trouble, don’t pick it up! is a message as timely now as it was then.

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