National Storytelling Festival FAQs

Read below for information about the 2018 National Storytelling Festival.

Who are the National Storytelling Festival sponsors?

The National Storytelling Festival appreciates the generous support of all its sponsors, Alliance for Peacebuilding, Carmen Agra Deedy, Carnegie Hotel, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa, Dunkin’ Donuts, Foster Signs, Holston Distributing, Mauk’s of Jonesborough, National Endowment for the Arts, Niswonger Foundation, One Stop Wines & Spirits, Poetry Out Loud,  and The Tennessee Arts Commission.

Media sponsors are News 5 WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times News, Herald & Tribune, Hillhouse Graphic Design, and Cumulus Media.

The International Storytelling Center would also like to recognize the generous donations received from the Storyteller Circle of Support and the Friends of the Festival in support of the 2018 National Storytelling Festival.

When is the National Storytelling Festival?

Each year, the National Storytelling Festival begins on the first Friday in October.  The 46th annual festival will take place October 5-7, 2018. View the 2018 Festival Brochure.

Where does Festival programming take place?

We erect large, circus-type tents in downtown Jonesborough with seating in each tent. Regular programming is then scheduled in each tent throughout the day; our attendees simply choose which tent they want to attend at which time. You will be given a program which will include the schedule when you pick up your passes. The tents are all located within easy walking distance of each other. The daily events schedule is available at the Festival and can be viewed online a few days prior to the Festival.

What are the hours for Festival programming?

Regular Festival programming runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Daytime sessions are one hour long, with a 30-minute break between. A dinner break is scheduled between 5 and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The daily events schedule is available at the Festival and can be viewed online a few days prior to the Festival. View the 2018 Schedule of Events. View a Map of the Festival Grounds.

Where is parking available?

Beginning Friday of the Festival weekend, we suggest you park your vehicle at the elementary school located along Highway 11-E and ride the shuttle bus to the Jonesborough Visitors Center where Festival registration is located. The shuttle runs to the Visitors Center (and back) every 20 minutes beginning at 8:30 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday and until 5 p.m. on Sunday. As you near Jonesborough there will be signs to assist you in locating the elementary school as well as other informational signs. The parking fee is $5 per car and the cost to ride the shuttle is $1 per person each way. A real convenience and time saver! Click here for a map of the Festival grounds.

Where is the Festival ticket pick-up area?

After you register – either online, by phone, or mail – you will receive a confirmation letter. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the Festival. Please bring a copy of your confirmation letter with you to the registration desk, located in the Jonesborough Visitors Center. You will need this letter in order to pick up your passes. Registration hours are:

Thursday, October 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, October 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 7 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

ALL passes will be given to the person bringing in the confirmation letter. We are not able to hold passes for a part of your group. If your group is traveling separately, you may want to designate a place and time to meet in Jonesborough.

What do I need to do if I must cancel  or adjust my reservations?

All tickets purchased to the National Storytelling Festival are final.  If you are unable to use your tickets, these options are available:

*Exchange your ticket for a ticket to next year’s Festival. The exchange request must be made in writing prior to the ticket date.  Exchanges are one-time only and must be made prior to the ticket date. Individual event tickets are not eligible for exchange.

*Donate your ticket purchase back to the Organization as a tax-deductible contribution. This option is only available during the year in which you purchased the ticket.

Adjustments (meaning a change in the number of days you plan to attend) must be received by September 21, 2018, to allow time for processing before the Festival. Adjustments may also be made at the Adjustment Table, located at the registration area, after your arrival in Jonesborough. If you have questions about the policy, please feel free to call our office at 800-952-8392, ext. 283 or 423-753-2171, or email us at

Is there Handicapped parking and facilities available?

We strive to accommodate the special parking needs of our attendees. A map showing spaces designated for the handicapped is available at the Visitors Center for those with handicapped credentials on their vehicle. Restroom facilities are located in the Visitors Center as well as on the Festival grounds. Click here for a map of the Festival grounds.

Are there Sign language interpreters?

Nationally certified interpreters from Chicago will be interpreting throughout the Festival weekend. For more information, call our offices at 800-952-8392, ext. 221 or 423-753-2171.

What kind of weather can we expect during the Festival?

October weather in northeast Tennessee is hard to predict. The temperature might run 65-75 degrees during the day and 45-55 at night. We suggest dressing in layers. Since our regular programming is done inside tents, storytelling continues rain or shine! You may wish, however, to bring light rain gear.

What about food?

The Festival food court offers a variety of foods, from bar-b-que and pizza to stir-fry and vegetarian burgers. Conveniently located in the heart of the Festival, food court hours are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.  Click here for more information on nearby food options.

What is the Photography, video and audio recording policy?

Photography and recordings are permitted on the Festival grounds but prohibited in the tents where performances are occurring except for authorized media representatives.

Is it possible to receive a college credit for attending?

One semester hour graduate or undergraduate credit is available through East Tennessee State University. STOR 4817 is the undergraduate section and STOR 5817 the graduate section of the course. For more information contact the ETSU Storytelling Program at 423-439-7601, or visit Deadline: Monday August 27, 2018.

Are there scholarships available to help me attend the Festival?

The International Storytelling Center is excited to provide one special listener a scholarship to attend the National Storytelling Festival. Click here for more details.

What is the pet policy?

Pets are not allowed on the Festival grounds with the exception of service dogs trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  Under the guidelines of the ADA, the work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals.

What’s the best way to travel to Jonesborough by car?

Jonesborough is easy to reach by car.  From Interstate 81, Jonesborough is located along U.S. Highway 11 E.  It is 15 minutes southwest of Johnson City, 25 minutes northeast of Greeneville, and 90 minutes north of Knoxville, Tennessee.  For specific driving directions from your home, visit the Travel and Lodging page in the Festival section of ISC’s website.

What airline options are available for traveling to Jonesborough?

The Tri-Cities Regional Airport conveniently located less than 20 miles from Jonesborough, offers non-stop service to four hubs in the United States.  TCRA’s carriers include Allegiant, Delta Connection and US Airways Express. The McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee is located approximately 100 miles from Jonesborough.

Still have questions, call 1-800-952-8292 or email

See you soon!