The people are what makes Michael Reno thrive on stage.
Reno, a storyteller and musician, said being on stage and interacting with an audience is where his material starts.
"The audiences are the reason I keep going," Reno said. "People liked to be talked to and told stories."
That's why Reno chose to participate in the second annual Music and Mud event May 21 at the Newton-Conover Auditorium in Newton. Reno participated in the event's first year, and he's has been traveling the United States and Europe for more than 40 years telling stories and singing music.
"He can tickle the funny bone and touch the heart of just about any age group," a recent review on Reno stated. "His wit has been described as being like your granddaddy's pocket knife ... well worn and familiar, but razor sharp and with a point."
Reno said he doesn't have a script for his shows, but feeds off the atmosphere of the audience.
"I never do the same show twice," Reno said. "There's a lot of humor in it. A lot of people don't know they like stories until they hear them.
A lot of the stories I tell are about growing up here in the South."
Reno, 62, currently lives in Burke County, but was born in western North Carolina and also lived in eastern Tennessee.
Reno will take the stage from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on May 21. His performance is part of a family friendly festival that runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sponsors for this year's event include The Observer News Enterprise and Outlook, Medicap Pharmacy, Newton-Conover City Schools, Outlaw Pottery, Jim and Peggy Templeton, Hyperformance Graphics, The Trott House Inn, Matthews Construction, Special Events Services, BB&T Newton-Main, United Arts Council of Catawba County, Woodlief Electric, The Cove Church and Pin Station.
The O-N-E will highlight various artists in each edition leading up to Music and Mud. For more information, visit www.newton-conoverauditorium.org  or call (828) 464-8100.