Once Upon A Time

Last week was the annual storytelling festival in St. Louis. I had volunteered at this festival for several years but have had to give it up due to some health issues. However, I remember that on Saturday night there was a storytelling “concert” and I wanted to go.

I was a little surprised when I checked and discovered there was a $10 admission charge this year. This concert had been free the years I volunteered. But I decided it would be worth the $10 and set off across town to the venue. When I got there, I couldn’t find the ticket office. Turned out to be upstairs. However, the usher was kind enough to find someone who had a key for the elevator and up we went along some other people. Two left turns out of the elevator brought me to the ticket office.

There was some discussion going on about the need for children to have tickets and I was just waiting my turn when I noticed a clerk with no line in front of her. I got in line and handed her my $10 to get a ticket. Just as she was taking my money, a woman who had been involved in that other discussion handed me a ticket! The ticket seller handed me back my money. I thanked both of them and headed for the elevator.

Once downstairs I went into the hall and found a seat. I was astonished that the auditorium wasn’t filled. In other years, there didn’t seem to be an empty seat in the place and even the balcony had to be used. This year there was no problem finding an empty seat. I think there were only three people sitting in my row.

During the intermission a woman in the row in front of me and I discussed the attendance. She said one of the men sitting with her was on the board of the organization which sponsors the festival and had argued against charging admission. She, like me, was sure that was partly why the attendance had fallen off so much. I hope the powers that be in that festival make note of that.

I didn’t find the storytellers to be as good as previous years. Some didn’t seem to have any point to their stories. The best one was the last one on the program. His stories demonstrated a lively imagination.

Even though the evening didn’t live up to my expectations, it was an enjoyable one.  I enjoyed hearing a man who played a mountain dulcimer before the performance and during the intermission.  Some children crowded around him and asked questions about the instrument.


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