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Stories Well Told by Chris Nickson

The festival organisers deserved special praise for the way everything was laid out. The marquees were far enough apart to avoid crowding and sound bleeding (although most had no amplification), the camping field was good, and there was a generous distribution of exceptionally clean portable toilets. Its the nature of festivals that it was impossible to see everything, but repeat performances made it feasible to catch many performances at one time or another during the weekend.

Much Wenlock itself was accessible by public footpaths, a little over a mile away through fields and woods, and well worth a visit for its medieval history plenty of old stone and half-timbered buildings, not to mention a couple of excellent bakeries. A number of festival goers took the trek down and back, but most elected to stay on site and not miss anything.

So what, ultimately, is the power of storytelling and of festivals like this (and there are more of them globally than you might think)? Stories root us. They connect us to the past. Like books, they work in the imagination, painting pictures in the mind but without the specific, concrete images of film or television. Not everything is spelled out. Stories have a history, and quite often a mythology. This gathering of the tribe was a celebration of the art of storytelling, bringing together old friends and new converts, all happy and eager to dive into other worlds for three days.

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Per Contra Non-Fiction - Fall 2006