Wednesday, August 12, 2009

F.E.S.T. report - the nutshell version

A very wise American lady once told me that herding storytellers is like trying to nail jello to the wall. Well, try the same with about 70 European tellers from more than 18 countries, speaking 14 different languages, and that jello thing will suddenly seem like a welcoming way of relaxation.
For those of you who live far far away: F.E.S.T. stands for Federation for European Storytelling. Yay to that! This amazing organization had its first conference last year in Oslo, and now it was time for the next gathering! This time it took place in Lausanne, a wonderful city by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Even better, this time I had the opportunity to join the conference, thus representing Hungary among a very international and multicultural crowd of amazing and friendly people. Storytellers.
Describing these 5 days in detail would (will) take a lot of time and several blog posts. Right now I have to work on my official report for F.E.S.T., as well as this same enthusiastic post in Hungarian for my other blog, so going into all kinds of delicious details and stories will have to wait a bit. I'll get to it as soon as I can. Until I do, I just want to give you a taste of "what happened in Lausanne". Because it definitely won't stay in Lausanne ;) So here comes the essence of F.E.S.T. 2009:

- The countries: Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, plus Canada and Cuba as outside-Europe guests.
- The languages: German, English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Portuguese, Gaelic, Italian, Greek, Czech, Hungarian, Dutch, Catalan and Basque.
- The time: 3 days of F.E.S.T. conference, followed by two amazing days of the Les 7 langues du dragon Storytelling Festival.
- The place: the ever-so-beautiful city of Lausanne, in Casino de Montbenon, overlooking Lake Geneva and the Alps. Beautiful sunshine, excellent weather, and a fountain to play in. Um, yeah. It can't really get any better than that.
- The stories: More than you can imagine! Mostly legends, folktales, myths, and all kinds of traditional stuff with some personal stories thrown in. Continuing their journey across Europe from mouth to ear, stopping by in Lausanne.
- The audience: besides the other tellers, we also had a crowd of local people coming in for the festival. They mostly speak French, but the understood English and German quite well. As for the storytelling - they seemed to understand quite a lot, no matter what the language was, actually :)
- The telling: all kinds of tandem and bilingual you can imagine - we spent most of our time playing around and experimenting with ways of translation. Most of them were great fun, and worked perfectly. I'll write more about them later on.

So, this is it for now. Stay tuned, I'll return with all the stories and details soon enough. Believe me, I have a lot to tell! :)

Oh, and as for the jello on the wall: we nailed it.


  1. Thanks for your brilliant description of FEST. I'm Scottish and live in Ireland and am a storyteller too. Our Irish representative was Nuala Hayes so I'm sure you met her and maybe Clare Murphy too. It was bound to be a great celebration and it sounds like it really was. Thanks so much for putting that into circulation. Best wishes, Susie Minto

  2. Wow, I'm so jealous! Wish I could have been there too.

    You sound like you had a great time and I bet you made lots of friends.

    That's what I love about Europe, that there are so many different languages and mythologies and cultures that people manage to communicate so well. It's inspiring.


  3. Yes, I met Nuala and Care too, they are both very nice and amazing storytellers too! :) Clare was the unofficial heart and soul of the whole conference :) She did a lot to bring us together outside the meetings.

    And yep, this is ehat I love about Europe too. So very multicultural :D
    I can't wait till next year..