When and where is the festival held?
The full, three-day New Story Festival, September 25-27, 2020, will be held in Austin, Texas, on the campus of Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU in the heart of Austin's historic east side and just blocks from downtown and Austin's most popular entertainment districts.
Who is the New Story Festival for?
We dream of something unique for these events... we imagine a space where people from segments of society that don't often overlap, but who share similar values and hopes for a more just, life-giving, and harmonious world, can gather in a way rarely seen anywhere else. A space to bring together artists, musicians, and performers, social activists and social innovators, open-minded folks within traditional religions and guides for newer forms of spirituality, health, and wholeness, alternative lifestyle "life-hackers" and socially engaged soccer moms to forge new community and share their unique gifts with one another - creating a better story for better lives and a better world.
Our hope is that, no matter where you start from, at the New Story Festival you will find experiences that speak to your current passions, and others that expand your horizons and enable you to grow in new ways. If that sounds appealing, then the New Story Festival is for you!
Is this a Storytelling Festival?
While formal storytelling performances will be one piece of what happens at the New Story Festival, this is not a "storytelling" event per se. We use the term "story" in a broader sense, to denote the underlying cultural narratives (aka, "social paradigms" or "worldviews") that shape our values, identities, communities, society, and ways of interpreting the world - stories that too often are ones of domination, victimization, purification, isolation, violent revolution, or mere accumulation. At the New Story Festival we want to gather together for art, music, ideas, practices, and conversations that will help step into a new and better "story" (again, underlying cultural narrative) that emphasizes liberation, reconciliation, harmony, and wholeness. A story based not on the assumption that it must always be "us vs. them," but instead with a call to live as "some of us for all of us."
Is this a religious event?
Yes and No. If by "religious" you mean engaged with spirituality in a life-giving way, and if by "spirituality" you mean something like "our lived relationship with mystery", and if by "life-giving" you mean "life-giving", then maybe it is a religious event. But if you are looking for dogma, tribalism, and harsh judgement, we hope you won't find that here. Space will be made for folk from different religious and spiritual traditions to share their gifts, and the main programming at the festival will aim to include folk from multiple traditions and perspectives.
We are trying to do something different with this festival: instead of either over-emphasizing or simply avoiding religion, we want to acknowledge the critical importance of religion and spirituality as part of our overall human experience and as a tool for positive growth and social transformation. Many of our core organizers are energized by the progressive Christian tradition, which recognizes the transcending presence of love everywhere. Because of this, we seek to be spiritually inclusive, inviting anyone who shares these values, from any religious tradition (or none at all), to join in this community co-creating a better world. We mean it: whatever your tradition, we want you to be welcome here. This will not be an exclusively "Christian" or "religious" space. Rather it will be an open space where anyone is free to offer whatever gifts they have to share.
Is this for all ages? Is there kids' programming?
Yes! All ages are welcome at the New Story Festival. Children 12 and under are free and teens aged 13-18 can attend for only $20. Our Kids program (for ages 5-11) will be run by the Whole Life Learning Center, which provides holistic and alternative education in south Austin. The Kids area will be in a secure space, allowing parents the option to drop off their children in a safe, fun environment so that you can enjoy other aspects of the festival without your children in tow. There will also be a more free-flowing Youth tent offering teenagers opportunities for connection, creativity, and curated, youth-specific content. A free babysitting area for children under-5 years old with certified, experienced caregivers is also available to anyone who needs it.
Where can I stay? Is there housing on-site? What about camping?
Though there are no on-site accommodations, our urban festival is just blocks from downtown Austin and close to many affordable hotel, motel, airbnb, and RV camping options. More information about these options and any reserved festival blocs will be posted in our Travel section as it becomes available.
If financial concerns are a barrier to travel, you may want to look into couchsurfing.com for free local accommodations.
Will there be food available?
Yes. We will have food vendors on site, with an emphasis on local, sustainable, healthy, tasty, and imaginative food! There are also numerous, unique local restaurants within just a block or two of the festival site.
What about accessibility?
The festival is on a college campus that is already fully ADA compliant. In addition, beyond mere compliance, we are doing everything possible to make sure this event is fully accessible for people of all abilities. We will post more details as they become available, but please feel free to email us at email@example.com with any specific concerns.
what if I want to come but can't afford it?
We offer a sliding scale of ticket-prices based on ability to pay, as well as an exchange of volunteer hours for those who can't afford the cost at all. Twelve volunteer hours, before or during the festival, gets you a free ticket. Click here to find our more about volunteering!
If you need to offset the cost even further (for airfare, etc.), we also offer an affiliate promoter program that shares the wealth with those who help make the festival happen. Blog about the New Story, share it on your social media, tell your family and friends, and we'll give you up to 10% of every ticket you help us sell. Click here for more on becoming an affiliate promoter.
We'll add more Frequently Asked Questions here as people ask them!
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