That’s another story

Sierra Storytelling Festival: Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21

photo by douglas hooper

If you were ever skeptical of the epigram “It's not what you say, but how you say it,” here's an event that may just prove it's true: the Sierra Storytelling Festival. The festival, held at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center (17894 Tyler Foote Road in Nevada City) on Friday through Sunday, features a diverse lineup of guest storytellers, a workshop, a story slam and concerts.

Here's what you need to know about the guest storytellers: Baba Jamal Koram blends stories with music, audience participation and humor; Laura Simms is a Shambhala Buddhist meditation teacher; Andy Offutt Irwin specializes in sound effects; Tim Tingle tells family Choctaw stories; Charlie Chin is a master of the “Teahouse Style” of classical Chinese storytelling; and Caroline Paul is known to tell tales of her adventures as a firefighter.

If you want your own chance to turn a phrase and you're 18 or older, participate in a story slam on Friday at 10 p.m., or an open telling at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. If you'd like to learn how to be a better wordsmith, learn from Simms at 1 p.m. on Friday. Various concerts happen throughout the festival. Head out to the tree-lined foothills, imagine you're at a campfire, and let a good story capture your imagination.

Tickets cost $9.25 to $33 per day, and all-festival passes are $74.25 to $90. For a full schedule and more information, visit