leaf blog

In our fast moving world, we often move on to the next thing or next event and forget to stop, embrace and celebrate our successes.
Here's a few of LEAF's successes since 1995:

[LEAF Schools & Streets= LSS   LEAF International=LI]


•LSS Pritchard Park Summer Series on Wednesday with AVL Downtown Assoc.LIHaitiweb

•One Mic at Burton Street w GO launched [supported by Ben Gradison Funds]

•1st LEAF Summer Camp at Grant Center with 60 kids was a success!

•LEAF International Haiti & Prosject Haiti came to LEAF for a 10-day Cultural Exchange

•LEAF International Haiti Gals were inducted into the Bootsy Girls Foundation

•LSS Tri-Series Cultural Exchange led by Billy Jonas with YWCA, North Buncombe Middle, & Beth Ha-Tephila

•"Free Your Funky Self" at LEAF May hosted super stars of FUNK

•Grants received to support programs: Swannanoa Community Foundation, South Arts & Grassroots

•Rising Appalachia visits LI Costa Rica Bribri as LI Ambassadors for Song Exchange

•LI Kenya launched in partnership with TWAAF [supported by Ben Gradison Funds]

•WNC Mag features LEAF: "The Givers: Positive Reinforcements" 

•Easel Rider participates in AVL's MLK Peace Rally

•LEAF on Mtn Xpress Big Ideas Timeline of AVL's History


•LEAF Schools & Streets and Moog Foundation partner to create EMErgence: Electronic Music Experience for Youth, funded by Dan Lucas Foundation.

•LEAF International Bequia Kids on Pans' 1st international trip, LSS cultural exchange and performance to October LEAF.

•Acoustic Syndicate Album Release celebrating 20 years.

•LEAF awarded BEST OF WNC Mtn Xpress Awards: #1 Music Festival! #1 Festival for Kids! #1 Festival for Camping!

•LEAF International Costa Rica launched with the Bribri and Ngabe First Nations in August.

•LEAF Schools & Streets awarded South Arts Grant, in partnership with the NEA and NC Arts Council, brought Samite of Uganda to AVL Middle School's AVID Student.

•LEAF brings to life and back to the streets The Easel Rider in partnership with City of AVL Parks & Rec.

•LEAF Schools & Streets partners with AVL Downtown Assoc. for Pritchard Park Summer Events

•LEAF Jazz Band at Delta House went to New Orleans by invite of Preservation Hall & opened Congo Square Festival.

•Hanes Foundation Grant Awarded to LEAF Schools & Streets Jazz at Delta House

•NEA Grant for "Voices of Traditions" featuring Mavis Staples, Lizz Wright, Yungchen Lhamo, & others at May LEAF Festival.

•Dan Lucas Foundation 3-Year Grant to LEAF International to expand to Costa Rica and connect all of the LEAF International Latin America Programs.

•Festivals.com selected Spring LEAF as "Greatest Event of The Day"

•Loose LEAF Tea at Dobra Tea House connects people to global cultures through tea and music in honor of LEAF International.
DobraSitarTabla DobraZahiyahLeaf DobraRiver DobraMbiraLeaf

•LEAF International Haiti launches with Prosjekt Haiti and Boukman Eksperyans in Port Au Prince.


•LEAF International Guatemala Young Musicians came to LEAF's 35th Festival.

•Mickey Hart's LSS Kids Drum Workshop at 35th Festival.

•LEAF in Schools & Streets kicked off Summer Music & Arts Residencies.

•LEAF became an "Assest Infused Organization" through Developmental Assests Training.

•NEA Grant funded "Celebrating the Blues" featuring Taj Mahal and many excellent Blues musicians at May LEAF Festival.

LEAF Executive Director Presents at TedX Greenville

•LSS Jazz Kids opened for Preservation Hall Society at May LEAF.

•LEAF moves offices to William Randolph School in Asheville to expand LSS.

•Abigail Washburn Benefit Concert for LEAF Outreach.

•LI Rwanda: Patrick joins National Ballet of Rwanda and Daniel performed for The First Lady of Rwanda's birthday.

•LSS brings artists to William Randolph students in Enrichment Fridays.

•LEAF joins National Guild for Community Arts Education.

•Mountain Xpress Best of WNC: Live Show of 2012 - Local Performing Arts Event

•LSS partners with Black Mountain Childrens Home for LSS programs.

•The first Zealandia Masquerade Ball supporting LEAF Outreach.

Grants awarded to support LEAF Arts Education by South Arts, Ramble Charitable Fund, Dan Lucas Foundation, Beattie Foundation & Grassroots Grant


•Mayor of Asheville issues designates November 6 as City Schools Champion Day and includes LSS.

•LSS awarded Asheville City Schools Foundation Non-Profit Champion for 2011

•Mountain Xpress Best of WNC: Live Show of 2011 - Local Performing Arts Event

•Ben Sollee Benefit Concert for LSS

•LEAF App available on iTunes

•LEAF receives third NEA Grant to present Sweet Honey In The Rock®

•Litchey Guitar raises funds for LI and LSS

•LI Columbia partners with D-Street Studios.


•LI India partners with Wilmington Yoga Center

•LSS nominated for Asheville City Schools Foundation Champion’s Award.

•First Downtown-After-Five youth performance with LSS Klondyke Coyotes.

•LEAF’s 30th festival!

•LI partners with the Playing for Change Foundation.
(Dream of Intore Culture & Music Center in Rwanda begins.)
•LEAF presents to National Endowment Council for the Arts in response to the NEA's first groundbreaking study on the impact of outdoor arts festivals in the U.S., "Live From Your Neighborhood" (one of only two organizations chosen in country!)

•LI awarded NEA Caribbean Traditions Grant.


•LI Rwanda gets boys off streets and into a home!

•LSS has served over 20,000 youth!

•LI Tanzania partners with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots.

•Pisgah’s LEAF Amber Beer and LI Dynamite Coffee brewed and served.

•LEAF receives first NEA Expressiones Latinas Grant.


•LI partners with Sister Cities in Xocen Mexico.


•LI Panama and LI Guatemala begin.

•LSS partners with Children First and grows to work in five housing communities.


•LI launches projects in Rwanda and Bequia.


•First LEAF CD!


•LEAF transforms into a non-profit organization.

•LEAF in Schools & Streets created.


•Washington Post recognizes LEAF as “the multi-cultural mix-n-match festival."

•New York Times Travel features LEAF on front page.




Celebrate LEAF!

Some words of praise and gratitude from LEAFers, performers and supporters:

“Every time I come to LEAF my spirit is renewed and outlook on life lifted. I have marveled at what this very humble yet powerful festival manages to achieve. Harmony, community building, cultural expression and celebration of creativity. All across different ethnicity, nationality, ideology, generation, gender, orientation, class and political identity. An incredible gathering of amazing people, creating fun transformative music, poetry and stories. This is indeed worthy of celebration.”

-Masankho Banda of Malawi

“LEAF is our family’s religion. It is where we taught our  boys tolerance, and how to be part of a positive community.”

-Kippy Perkins

“LEAF aims to 'connect cultures and create community through music and art' in the great outdoors.  A cultural mélange of musical styles awaits visitors to this festival, which seeks to expose folks to new music and a diverse array of cultures.  African, Appalachian, blues, bluegrass, Cajun, Celtic, Texan and moresounds will emanate from four stages and a jam tent over the weekend.”

-Michael Kornfeld,
Acoustic Music Scene

“LEAF has become our semi-annual family retreat - a time to replenish and reconnect with individuals and as a family.  I often liken LEAF to my temporary utopia... the ultimate escape… a safe and loving environment… a large extended family reunion including members that you have yet to meet.  Every October and May, there is a sense of coming home when we are pulling up to Lake Eden… LEAF is something very special.” 


“If you're open to new experiences and want to get away, LEAF is the perfect place to start. The sights and sounds of LEAF felt like being a world away, and it was worth it. There is something magical about seeing nature at its best. I could see how having that view as a backdrop unites people, music and art."

-Lashawnda K. Becoats,
Q City Metro-Charlotte

“LEAF was an amazing experience. At one point we sat on a hill with David Wilcox, playing music, with the most amazing view, and it was one of those magical moments we will remember our entire lives. We've always loved LEAF, and have wonderful memories of going with our daughter, but it was really special to have Danny  perform. Thank you for all the love and energy you've created there. LEAF will always hold a special place in our hearts.”    

-Liz & Danny Ellis


A Glimpse into some 

Previous LEAF Press Stories


LEAF in Schools & Streets Enriches School Kids

LEAF's Executive Director: TedX Greenville and Certified Entrepreneurial Community Stories of Success

Black Mountain’s LEAF Festival Offers Unique Artistic and Musical Experience

LEAF in Schools & Streets YWCA Residency with Boukman Eksperyans of Haiti

More than just a festival: LEAF reaches out - April 2009

"Takes A Village" interviews LEAF Outreach Staff & LSS Performing Artist Graham Hackett

LEAF Blog by Dr. Parvinder (Parv) Sethi, Radford University Professor of Geology

LEAF featured in Bold Life April 2008 or (pdf text version)

25th LEAF featured in Relix Magazine Dec 2007

Rwanda Children's group Mizero in Asheville Citizen Times Oct 2007

Coverage of the Madison Elites at LEAF on Swedish Broadcasting May 2007 

Jen Chapin LSS mentor at Pisgah View in ACT 2007

Story by Pete Zamplas for The Asheville Tribune. October 2006

LEAF International in Rwanda by Andy Grabel for the Black Mountain News 2007

May 2006 article in Black Mountain News 2006

Mountain XPress Guides to LEAF LEAF Outreach on Planmyfestival.com or (pdf text version)

LEAF Oct 06 in Asheville Citizens Times Oct 06

LEAF Soundcheck in Relix Magazine Jan 06

Charlotte Observer 2004

Fun Things to Do in the Mountains 2003

Spencer Ferguson review 2003

North Carolina Folklife Journal 2006

Eve's Orbit TV broadcast

Asheville Music Scene - LEAF International Rwanda 2007

Kynd Music Festival Reviews Oct 2006

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