Bil Lepp – Storyteller

Bil Lepp – Storyteller

If you listen to Bil Lepp long enough, you know he changes tires on planes while they are in the air. He can pick up a bit of conversation and turn it into a tale that wraps itself around the world.
And he comes by it naturally.

“I come from a long line of people who stretch the truth. As far back as I can remember, people in my family lied . . . in a good-natured way,” says Lepp.

“In the 1990s, I entered the West Virginia Liars Contest, having no idea that a person could be a professional storyteller. I just liked doing it.

“Around 1998 I saw Ed Stivender perform and was blown away. As soon as I saw Ed, I knew I wanted to be a professional storyteller.

“I did a 15-minute spot at the National Storytelling Festival in 2000, and the first big festival to sign me up as a full-blown teller was Timpanogos (Storytelling Festival), in 2001. The rest is history.”

“I love storytelling because I love taking an idea, creating a story around it, and then watching the audience enjoy it.”

Lepp says all good storytelling is conversation.

“I’m not talking at the audience, I’m talking with them.

“That’s why I like to see my audience, so I can gauge my pace, style, jokes, and story choice based on how the audience reacts.

“My stories come out of my mouth in a direct reflection of the audience experiencing them,” he said.

That’s why online telling during the Pandemic was hard for him.

“I so loathed online telling during the shutdown. I couldn’t get a handle on how the audience was reacting,” Lepp explained.

He uses common experiences and builds on audience response, sometimes taking a story in several directions before he comes back to the original thought, with hilarious and deliciously surprising results.

“I try to tell stories about topics my audience has something in common with. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in a big city or a small town or on a deserted island—we were all kids once. I try to start at a point that has as many opportunities as possible for the audience to connect with what I am saying, and draw on their own experiences.”

Lepp is a favorite at the Festival which is in its 32nd year scheduled from Sept. 9-11 at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival 2021–The Best of Both Worlds!

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival 2021–The Best of Both Worlds!

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival 2021–The Best of Both Worlds!

Upcoming Events

“We’ve been listening to you, our devoted storytelling enthusiasts, and we’re thrilled to announce that you’re about to get everything you’ve been asking for . . . at least as far as our Festival is concerned!

For the first time ever, the 2021 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival will be presented both in person at the stunning Thanksgiving Point Ashton Gardens AND virtually! Yes, that’s right! You will be able to attend the Festival in person, at home, or both! Tickets will be available for all three scenarios. There’s nothing like experiencing the Festival in person, but it’s tough to decide who to see while missing out on 4-5 other fantastic storytellers. Well, worry no more! For half the price of an in-person ticket, you will have the opportunity to see every single performance after the Festival. We’re still working out the details, but we’re hoping you’ll also have the flexibility to start your virtual pass at the best time for you. Stay tuned to see how it’ll all work. However it turns out, rest assured you will be able to see the storytellers “live” in person and/or filmed “live” in front of some of the very best storytelling audiences in the world.

Mark your calendars for September 9-11, 2021 today and plan to join us as we celebrate storytelling together once again. We can hardly wait to see you there!”

Get Tickets Here

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: www.donwhite.net – and a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Don-White-62176263069/ – 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 (www.andyhedges.com) 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.

Antonio Rocha – On Timeless Tales

Antonio Rocha – On Timeless Tales

We recently interviewed Antonio Rocha (pronounced Haw-sha) and he gave us his thoughts on the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, advice for new storytellers and the timelessness of storytelling.

Q- As you well 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- I have many wonderful memories of being at Timpanogos: the setting, the people all creating an awesome Festival atmosphere. As one of the Nation’s top festivals with incredibly dedicated listeners and staff, Timpanogos delivers a setting where I can relax to do my work for I know I will be well taken care of. I have also a great memory of resting between sets in the green room and getting a revitalizing massage. Timpanogos is the only festival to offer massages in the green room. What a great treat! I understand it’s not offered anymore, but it was a great memory. With all these amazing qualities, it is hard not have have great memories.

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

A- Storytelling is not about words, it is about the images the story creates in your imagination. So, the more immersed you are in the imagery world of your story, be it fictional or not, the better will be your telling. Dive deep into the imaginary and you will never be lost for words and enthusiasm to tell about it.

Q- Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. In what way do you think storytelling is timeless or timely?
Storytelling is timeless because we are the only species on Earth who use story. They have been our companions, teachers and care givers for millennia.

A- Storytelling is timely because we, as a species, tend to spend too much time forgetting what being human is all about. Stories remind us of our humanity. Storytelling is the new fire we sit around of in order to keep us warm.

Join us on September 5-7, 2019 at The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point for the 30th Anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Ticket prices increase August 1st, so get your today!

Tim Lowry – Timeless Tales and our 30th Anniversary

Tim Lowry – Timeless Tales and our 30th Anniversary

Our theme this year is Timeless Tales, a perfect theme for our 30th year don’t you think? For thirty years we have been celebrating the timeless tradition of storytelling and the timeless stories that transcend the generations. As part of this celebration we have asked our returning veteran tellers to give us some thoughts on the theme and on what the Festival means to them. We’ll begin our series with Tim Lowry.

Q- As you well 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 with us some of your memories of the Festival?

A- Of all the festivals in which I’ve been privileged to tell, Timpanogos best fulfills the promise of a “family event.” I love the wide mix of age groups that you see in the audience and on the stage. You have young children listening as older children tell; teenagers and college students telling. There’s juggling, and playing music, and presenting puppet plays; parents and grandparents cheering the young folks and also sharing stories. Everyone is involved in every way!

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

A- I like to think of stories as wonderful treasures or marvelous discoveries that are best shared with others. Whether you sing, speak, or dance, generosity of spirit is essential to good storytelling. Love the story enough to treasure it, love your audience enough to share your treasure with them. Don’t worry about yourself—Will my voice shake? Will I mess up? Will they like me? Just love your story and love the people who have come to listen. Storytelling is an act of love!

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

A- Timeless Tales! Oh, that makes me think of so many classics—Moses’s Pentateuch, the four New Testament Gospels, Arabian Nights, The Brothers Grimm, the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Aesop’s Fables, Mother Goose, Robin Hood Legends, Stories from Dickens and Twain, the Greek myths, Norse legends, and Cinderella. We mustn’t forget Cinderella! So many stories! So many voices! And yet one message—See! Hear! Wonder! (I’ll try to come back down to earth in time for the 30th annual Festival!)

Join us September 5-7, 2019 for the 30th Anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival at The Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

Timpanogos Storytelling Institute
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Lindon, UT 84042

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