Story festival moves downtown

By: By Beth Lawrence - blawrence@laurinburgexchange.com

LAURINBURG — Some of the nation’s most highly acclaimed storytellers will be joined by regional tellers and musicians at the Storytelling Festival of Carolina – held for the first time in downtown Laurinburg at the Arts Center.

The performers draw fans from around the state and beyond at the three-day event, to be held Friday through Sunday.

“Join us to hear the best tellers in professional storytelling and nationally recognized singers and songwriters– all without having to leave Laurinburg,” said Erin Rembert, director of the Scotland County Arts Council.

Featured headliners include Bil Lepp, Michael Reno Harrell and Priscilla Best, along with the Bold-Faced Liars’ winners, Natalie Jones and Gary Buchanan, and musicians Lakota John, Clay Brown and The Legends Band and Momma Molasses.

Headlining story tellers will conduct workshops on Saturday, providing valuable educational tools for tellers, parents and teachers. Food and craft vendors will show and sell their wares throughout the day Saturday at the festival.

As in previous years, the festival’s outreach is highlighted with a full day of storytelling performances for area school children. More than 500 students and their teachers will be in attendance during performances designed specifically for their age group.

“Students from local schools come out on Friday and they have their own private performance,” Rembert said.

The festival kicks off Friday night with a Storytelling Olio, spotlighting a story from each of the featured tellers, beginning at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and early reservations are encouraged. Guests who preregistered can pick up packets then.

“It’s kind of a preview event with the story tellers and guests can listen to them and learn their style,” Rembert said.

Saturday’s events begin at 9:30 a.m.

A music stage will be set up on Roper Street featuring local performer Lakota John who will perform between story sets. His style is described at blues,bluegrass and soul.

Roper Street will be closed off between Atkinson and Main streets and crafters and vendors will be set up there.

“We hope that this move downtown will attract new people especially more local people who haven’t come out before,” Rembert said.

In addition to the daytime activities, there is a Storytelling and Musical Gala Saturday night.

“Enjoy sweet and savory desserts and share the evening with the tellers, musicians and old and new storytelling friends,” Rembert said.

Tickets are $20.

Rembert said the festival provides a good opportunity for county residents to support arts in the community.

“There’s no better place to come out and see these world class entertainers,” Rembert said. “Our festival is smaller so you can really look them in the eye and enjoy the talent they bring. These artists are award winning and renowned and we’re lucky that we get them here.”

The Storytelling Festival of Carolina is made possible with grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, The Scotland County Tourism Development Authority and the generosity of many donors.

For information and to purchase your tickets, visit: www.storyartscenter.org or call the Storytelling and Arts Center at 910-277-3599.

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Annual event starts today

By Beth Lawrence

blawrence@laurinburgexchange.com