The 2024 Festival features a fantastic lineup!
Bil Lepp, Kim Weitkamp Gum, Andy Offutt Irwin,
Anne Rutherford, and
Dino O'Dell, all-in-one Festival weekend!
All the talent you have come to expect on the Kansas Storytelling stage will be in Downs on April 26-27, 2024.
Bil’s humorous, family friendly tall-tales and stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Though a ﬁve time champion of the WV Liars’s Contest, Lepp’s stories often contain morsels of truth which present universal themes in clever and witty ways. Audiences all across the country, from grade schools to corporate execs to the Comedy Central’s Hudson stage, have been delighted by Bil’s mirthful tales and delightful insights into everyday life.
Kim Weitkamp Gum
Kim Weitkamp Gum grew up in Amish Country as the middle child of exhausted parents. Labeled by teachers as high-spirited, uncooperative and too talkative, Kim took those comments and channeled them into a lifetime of high- energy, heartfelt and hilarious artistry. She is an award winning storyteller, author, singer/songwriter and humorist. After using applied storytelling in her work with adjudicated and at risk youth for 12 years, Kim took a turn onto a different avenue of story and song which led her down the path of full time touring for the last 15 years where she gathered an armload of awards. She performs regularly at festival and theaters around the country, has written a well received folk operetta and has been a guest editor and contributor for various publications. Kim’s materials get regular airplay on Sirius XM and NPR Afﬁliate Stations.
Andy Offutt Irwin
Andy Offutt Irwin is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer. Andy has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival for more than a decade and as a Teller-in-Residence at International Storytelling Center fourteen years. Among other gigs, Andy has been a Guest Artist at La Guardia High School of Art, Music, and Performing Arts in New York (The “FAME!” School); he has been a Keynote Speaker/ Performer at the Library of Congress-Virburnum Foundation Conference on Family Literacy; a Guest Writer Performer with the Georgia Tech Glee Club; and a guest composer with the Amherst College Men’s Double Quartet. He is also arguably the world’s best whistler.
Storyteller Anne Rutherford delights audiences nationwide with funny, touching performances that include tales of personal adventure, folklore and prize-winning lies. Her singing and mandolin playing add to the fun, along with vivid vocal and physical characterizations such as her original Wild West alter-ego, the adventurous Clementine Ryder. Anne grew up in a little Pennsylvania town along the Susquehanna River, in a house with a grave-yard on one side and a cow pasture on the other, but now resides in the Paciﬁc Northwest. She is grateful for the storytelling community and audiences because, as she says, “Without you – I’d be talking to myself.”
Dino O’Dell mesmerizes his audiences with stories from the most untraditional sources – from dinosaurs to outer space. In an hour spent with Dino, youngsters may meet a cowboy that doesn’t like taking baths, a space alien that needs help ﬁxing his spaceship and Dino’s grandfather, who tells them stories about making pancakes. All the while, the students engage in songs that reinforce the concepts they did not even realize they were learning. As an innovative and inspiring educator, Dino is a professional, and as an entertaining storyteller, he is amazing!