Storytelling school

“Analog and no frills”: Sierra Storytelling Festival captivates at North Columbia Schoolhouse

Analogous and unadorned, audiences are captivated by these open-hearted storytelling artists who carry on the deep human oral tradition of sharing stories that transcend time.

For 35 years, volunteers have hosted the nation’s top tellers in the shaded amphitheater behind the 145-year-old North Columbia Schoolhouse.

Poet and storyteller Steve Sanfield settled in this rural haven and started the festival. It has survived fires, the deaths of Steve and other great storytellers, changes in the arts and media. Today, it thrives on bringing together tellers from across California and our many diverse cultures to delight and inspire the dedicated audience that comes from across Northern California and beyond.

Families arrive in carloads with picnics and enjoy a glass of organic wine or one of Holly’s famous brownies before settling into the quiet of the amphitheater. Sheep call out to each other as falcons fly overhead as stories take listeners on journeys to West Africa, China and the Land of Souix. Analogous and unadorned, audiences are captivated by these open-hearted storytelling artists who carry on the deep human oral tradition of sharing stories that transcend time.



The Sierra Storytelling Festival has always been a champion of culture, and Angela Lloyd, Michael D. McCarty, Alicia Retes, Antonio Sacre, Linda Yemoto and special guest Obo Martin continue that diversity as tellers for 2022.

The festival takes place the second weekend of July on July 8 and 9 with entertainment on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. The public can buy tickets for a single event or for the whole weekend.



More information, sponsorship opportunities and volunteer applications are online at http://www.sierrastorytellingfestival.org.

Michael D. McCarty has worked in California prisons as part of the Arts In Corrections program, teaching inmates how to find, develop and tell their stories. Michael has been storytelling professionally since 1992, and this will be his first year at Sierra Storytelling.

Michael D. McCarty

Michael D. McCarty has worked in California prisons as part of the Arts In Corrections program, teaching inmates how to find, develop and tell their stories. His life has been a storybook paradise: student activist, Black Panther, US Army soldier, martial arts instructor, acupuncturist, storyteller, husband, father, crazy friend. Michael has been storytelling professionally since 1992, and this will be his first year at Sierra Storytelling.

Antonio Sacre’s stories of growing up bilingual in a Cuban and Irish-American household have inspired children around the world to collect their own family stories and become storytellers themselves.

Antonio Sacred

Antonio Sacre opens his mouth and releases stories, as if story butterflies could fly. Her stories of growing up bilingual in a Cuban and Irish-American household have inspired children around the world to piece together their own family stories and become storytellers themselves. Antonio has been telling stories for 25 years in 13 countries and 45 states. He is happy to be back on the Sierra scene.

Angela Lloyd

Angela Lloyd can tell a familiar story; however, the furniture will have moved and the contents of the drawers moved. She is a group of a woman on washboard. His performances are a whimsical weave of poetry, history and song accompanied by autoharp, baritone ukulele, spoon and cowbell. In 2013, she received the National Storytelling Network Circle of Excellence Oracle Award. Angela has graced the Sierra stage many times.

Linda Yemoto

For more than 30 years as the East Bay Regional Park District Naturalist, Linda was known as “Ranger Linda” to thousands of Bay Area school children and families. Realizing the power of storytelling to enliven her performing programs, she was hooked forever. It inspired her to preside over the Bay Area Storytelling Festival for 30 years. 2022 will be his first year on the Sierra stage.

Alicia Retes brings Indigenous stories to life. Alicia – part Mayo and Yaqui – is a multi-faceted performer, naturalist and musician. This summer will be his first at the North Columbia Schoolhouse.

Alicia Retes

Alicia Mary Retes brings Indigenous stories to life. Alicia – part Mayo and Yaqui – is a multi-faceted performer, naturalist and musician. As the former Director of Education at the Museum of the American Indian in Novato, she shares her knowledge of the Coast Miwok people and sings original trilingual songs in English, Spanish and Coast Miwok. This summer will be his first at the North Columbia Schoolhouse.

Obo Martin

A true troubadour and folklorist of fairy tales, Obo Martin is best known for his humor and his often sentimental tales. His true tall tales of the great unknown will tickle the funny bone and pluck the heart strings. Obo performed on the main stage at the Oregon Country Fair in 2019 and we are thrilled to have him as our special guest storyteller this year.

Source: The North Columbia School