Storytelling Festival Goes Online

Apr 2, 2020

A storytelling festival held each year near Roanoke is going on this weekend, but not in the traditional way.  

Camp Bethel in Fincastle, just north of Roanoke, is the site of Sounds of the Mountains, an annual gathering for audiences to enjoy traditional storytelling and music.  Alan Hoal, festival co-founder, says with the statewide stay at home order and limit on gatherings, he knew the festival would not happen as usual.

“So the next best thing was to have the tellers record some stories and put them on the YouTube channel at Camp Bethel”

Andy Offutt Irwin, a storyteller from Georgia, was scheduled to perform live, but like so many performers these days, he has found himself adapting his craft to changing times.

“We’re all adjusting to how we work and how we perform and going online and put all my eggs in the basket of being a live performer in this socially distancing time. So, we’re excited and we’re grateful to Alan to even build this the way it’s going.”

Alan   Sounds Hoal says Irwin and the other storytellers have made all new recordings of stories, as if they were appearing live.

“They’re not using canned YouTube sets that have been on; they actually did recordings for us which is above and beyond and a big salute to Andy and the others.”

Five one-hour long storytelling video shows will be posted to the Camp Bethel YouTube channel and available for viewing for free starting Saturday April 4th.  There will be links for donations to Camp Bethel and a virtual tip jar for the performers.

A list of all storytellers and details on the Sounds of the Mountains At Home Festival is available online at

Camp Bethel YouTube Channel

WEB EXTRA: Extended interview with Alan Hoal and Andy Offutt Irwin (in which he talks of performing with the Kandinksy Trio and whistles)