According to NPR’s Ira Glass, “great stories happen to those who can tell them.” If you tuned into Radio StoryFest 2020, Light-hearted Stories from the Inside-Out, on WMCO 90.7 on September 6, then you undoubtedly know Ira’s words ring true.
Although the 3rd annual version of StoryFest looked a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participation and engagement in the unique and inspiring event remained strong. With the support of Muskingum University and The Ohio Arts Council, event organizers Rachel and Tim Pollock – Muskingum faculty members and creators of BiGFiSH FOLKLiFE – seamlessly pivoted the event to a
day-long radio broadcast. The 5+ hour production included live storytelling, live music from New Concord’s very own Chapman Coffee House, and various recorded segments produced by Muskingum’s Orbit Media and emceed live by Rachel and Tim.
“In our current COVID world artists are a bit limited from participating in festivals and events, or putting on shows in museums or other locations, which is why it was important to provide this forum for some awesome storytellers, artists, and musicians,” said Rachel Pollock, assistant professor of Communication and director of Forensics for Muskingum University. “Bringing folks together from across the country to share the art of storytelling, which is ingrained in the Appalachian region, is a privilege every year – and always a great time.”
Radio StoryFest 2020 headliners included musician, singer-songwriter, and recording artist Barefoot McCoy, along with renowned storytellers Kim Weitkamp and Andy Offut Irwin. Local musicians included Emily McDermott, Alaina Williams, and Sacred Turtle, the latter of which featured expert drumming from the Pollock’s son, Sam. The theme of this year’s amateur storytelling contest, Listen to Your Story, was won by former Muskie and current English teacher at John Glenn High School Frederick Frank for “Inside Out,” a tale that took place during his senior year at Muskingum University.
“It’s fitting that our storytelling contest winner was a Muskie as the event was made possible through support from the University, technical support from Orbit Media, and participation from Muskingum students and alumni,” Rachel Pollack said. “Transitioning this year’s StoryFest to a radio format was quite the undertaking but one that ultimately led to the event being streamed in 27 countries which expanded our audience and made this collective effort incredibly satisfying.”
For information on additional Radio StoryFest 2020 participants, and to view the event’s Virtual Gallery, please click here.