by Greg Wright
The PowellsWood Storytelling Festival “is like a little pearl,” enthuses storyteller Syd Lieberman.
The two-day festival, which runs July 18-19 this year at PowellsWood in Federal Way, is decidedly unique.
The first day of the festival, storytellers engage registered guests with workshops designed to turn everyday people into tellers of their own stories. Full-pass participants even get a chance at “Tea with the Tellers” on PowellsWood’s fabled Garden Room Terrace.
The second day, it’s all telling, all the time, with special secret spots in the 3-acre garden set up with tents featuring storytelling tracks for adults, families, and children. This year’s tellers include Donald Davis, Diane Ferlatte, Angela Lloyd, Barbara McBride-Smith, and Ed Stivender.
“I haven’t been to anything like this,” says Lieberman. That’s quite a testimony from the man who’s a regular feature at internationally-renowned festivals like Timpanogos and the National Festival in Jonesborough. “It’s this little special thing in the woods that you come upon and you find,” he continues. “It’s wonderful that way. ‘Wow! I’m telling in this beautiful setting!’”
It’s magical by design, a “fairy tale come true,” to use the words of the Federal Way Mirror.
“Our belief is that people come away from the Festival happier, more joyful,” says garden founder and Festival organizer Monte Powell. “And maybe revitalized—from being here at the Festival, and also from doing the Festival in a beautiful, green environment.”
And make no mistake. The garden setting offers a one-of-a-kind experience. “Telling a story in a garden like this definitely makes a difference,” attests Indian storyteller Jeeva Raghunath, who also appeared at last year’s festival.
“I’ve told stories in the classroom,” she notes. “I’ve told stories in the auditorium. I’ve told stories by the sea. But this is very different, the reason being that it’s very identical: the gardener and the storyteller. Both of them do it with a lot of soul. And stories are not from head to head. It’s from heart to heart. So every story has soul. It has life.”
Festival anchor and master teller Donald Davis has the heart of it.
“I love trees,” says Davis. “They are listeners.”
Visit the PowellsWood Storytelling Festival this year and listen. Listen with the trees.
Listen, and grow.
PowellsWood is located at 430 South Dash Point Road in Federal Way. For complete schedule and parking information, visit powellswoodfestival.com. Price $15 and up; children’s and family rates available. Online Ticketing at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/531089.