Tickets on sale for Flatwater Tales

Melanie StatenOur Town Outdoors

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival has announced the 2023 storytellers for this year’s performances on June 2 and June 3 in Oak Ridge: Lyn FordBil Lepp and the Rev. Robert B. Jones. Well known to audiences throughout the country for their wit and wisdom, these three performers are guaranteed to make audiences laugh, cry and reminisce. The storytellers will perform different stories at each show. Two special workshops will be offered preceding the performances.

Tickets are now on sale at Eventbrite or in person at the Ferrell Shop in Oak Ridge (cash or check only, please). Take advantage of our Early Bird Special and get a discount when you buy tickets for both the afternoon and evening shows on Saturday.

This annual event returns live to the Historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2, and at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.

The Rev. Robert B. Jones

The Friday and Saturday evening shows include two specially-themed programs. On Friday, June 2, Robert Jones will headline with a feature presentation, “American History Through Music.”

On Saturday night, June 3, Bil Lepp will perform a special Oak Ridge-themed story, “I Guess Ol’ John Wasn’t Crazy After All: John Hendrix, the Prophet of Oak Ridge.” Every teller will perform a different story at each show both days.

The Rev. Robert Jones Sr. is a native of Detroit and an inspirational storyteller and musician. He celebrates history, humor and the power of American Roots music. Whether he’s telling stories about growing up in his native Detroit, sharing tales about old blues musicians or inspirational stories drawn from history or scripture, the Rev. Jones loves telling stories that reach both the mind and the heart.

Lyn Ford is a fourth generation, nationally recognized, Affrilachian* storyteller. Lyn is also a teaching artist, author and creative narrative workshop presenter. She has recorded award-winning CDs and was the first Ohio storyteller to be nominated for a Governor’s Arts Award. Her “Home-Fried Tales” are folktale adaptations, spooky tales and original stories rooted in Lyn’s family’s multicultural Affrilachian storytelling traditions.

*Afrilachian or Affrilachian: of African American heritage and history from the region called Appalachia.

Bil Lepp will return to this year’s Flatwater Tales.

Bil Lepp, a five-time veteran of the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, is the star of the History Channel’s “Man vs. History.” An award-winning storyteller, author and recording artist, Bil’s humorous family-friendly tall tales and stories have earned him the appreciation of listeners of all ages from all walks of life. Though a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liar’s Contest, Lepp’s stories often contain morsels of truth which present universal themes in clever and witty ways. His 28 books and audio collections have won numerous awards.


On Thursday, June 1, Lyn Ford will lead a workshop, “Collecting Family Stories: Gathering and Creating Spoken and Written Narratives” from 12:30 to 3:30 at the UT Arboretum auditorium in Oak Ridge.

On Friday, June 2, the Rev. Jones will lead a workshop, “Celebrating Diversity: Music and Stories to Build Bridges” from 9:30 to 12:30 at the UT Arboretum auditorium in Oak Ridge.

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival is led by volunteers from all three Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs.

Melanie Staten is a public relations consultant with her husband, Vince.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *