Storytelling Festival moves to Upland, starts tonight

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The tents are set and ready to go for tonight's kickoff of the Brandywine Storytellers Festival at Upland Country Day School.

The tents are set and ready to go for tonight’s kickoff of the Brandywine Storytelling Festival at Upland Country Day School.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — It was the festival too big to be contained in a mere building: the seventh annual Brandywine Storytelling Festival moves to a new venue, Upland Country Day School, as it kicks off tonight, starting at 7 p.m.

Originally planned for last fall, but postponed because of the need for a new — and bigger — venue, the two-day event features a two-time Grammy winner, a five-time Liars Champion, and 10 other featured storytellers for two days of family-friendly fun.

The event starts tonight, 7 pm to 10:30 pm and continues tomorrow 9 am to 11 pm on the campus of Upland Country Day School, on Route 926.

Headlining for the seventh year in a row is Bil Lepp, the five-time Liar’s Champion of West Virginia. He leads a line-up of more than dozen nationally-renowned storytellers, including two-time Grammy winner Bill Harley. The festival is entirely appropriate for kids and absolutely for adults. This one-of-a-kind event is fun, family-friendly and open to the community. There are storytelling workshops and performances Friday evening and throughout the day Saturday, olios, an open microphone, an afternoon sampler, music, and an evening storytelling concert.

This year the event includes seven featured storytelling performances on Friday night starting at 7 p.m. and six Saturday morning, storytelling workshops between 9 a.m. & 11 and 11 to 12; four performances for children at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and seven Saturday afternoon and a Saturday evening finale featuring seven of the finest storytellers
in the world.

Proceeds from this year’s festival will be directed to the Bayard Taylor Library building fund, specifically to benefit the Children’s Library. For complete details on the Brandywine Storytelling Festival visit: www.uplandcds.org

The nationally known artists and performers coming to Upland from all over the country, include:

Bill Harley – Massachusetts (Grammy Winner)
This is two-time Grammy winner Bill Harley’s fourth time at the Brandywine Storytelling Festival. Bill’s songs and stories paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. Direct and honest, his work is filled with the details of daily life – all told and sung from his slightly off-center point of view.

Bil Lepp – West Virginia
Bil is an award winning storyteller, author, and recording artist and five time champion of the West  Virginia Liars’ Contest. He has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and at major storytelling events across the country.  Though a champion liar, his hilarious, insightful stories often contain morsels
of truth which shed light on subjects such as politics, religion, death, relationships, and human nature.

Kim Weitkamp – Virginia
A commanding presence with a beautiful singing voice and impeccable comedic timing, Kim’s perfectly-woven, heartwarming stories can quickly careen off into the tremulously touching…or the hilariously outrageous. Kim has written and performed stories for the PAR-FM Radio Network morning show with a three-state audience. She has penned numerous children’s stories but is most noted for her original and humorous Pitscreek Series, which has resulted in two CD projects.

Andy Offutt Irwin – Georgia
Andy Offutt Irwin has an outer-kid. With a manic Silly Putty voice, astonishing mouth noises, and hilarious stories, he is equal parts mischievous school boy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer. People are drawn to him like magnets to a refrigerator.

Willy Claflin – California

Geraldine Buckley – Maryland
With her trademark wit, warmth and humor, Geraldine has been involved in storytelling and performance poetry for more than 20 years in the US, Canada, England, Holland, South Africa and Spain. In her eclectic past she has been, among other things, a minister in a large London Church, a radio DJ, a television newsreader, an events director, a ghostwriter, a food critic, a magazine editor, and an award winning performance poet. Her most recent adventure was being the Chaplain in the largest men’s prison in Maryland — a medium-security facility.

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