Join us May 14-17, 2020 for a “SOLID GOLD” 50th LEAF Festival!
LEAF prepares to celebrate a 25-year landmark tradition with the 50th LEAF Festival and we’re going SOLID GOLD for the occasion! From Thursday May 14th to Sunday May 17th, 2020 we will be welcoming world music, art, culture, and community into the heart of the beautiful WNC Blue Ridge Mountains. Throughout its storied history, this world-class event has played host to over 100 Nations, 500,000 patrons, 25,000 performers, and countless transformative experiences bringing diversity, artistic excellence, and global identity into the lives of three generations of families. This Spring, LEAF also prepares to unveil a completely transformed site layout to welcome in this new thrilling chapter in the LEAF legacy!
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WHY is LEAF so special? Hear directly from longtime LEAF Festival performers & family: Rising Appalachia.
“What does it mean to connect cultures & create community through music & arts? It’s simply this… To create a container to hold experiences so profound, so inspirational, and so unifying that they shatter all expectations of who we think we should be… awakening us to who we truly are when we embrace the world as family. LEAF believes a single moment can transform one’s life for the better. When you multiply those moments by 25 years, 50 festivals and hundreds of thousands of individuals hailing from all over the globe… we believe we are transforming the world for the better. What do you experience at LEAF Festival? Powerful artistic expression, enduring cultural legacy, a welcoming community of all walks of life? Absolutely…, and it goes a bit deeper than that. What brings people back time after time to our little oasis in the Blue Ridge Mountains? True healing, transformation, and perhaps even a little bit of real magic.” ~ Ehren Cruz, Artistic Director
For 24 years, each May & October an intergenerational family of 12,000 people join together upon the beautiful Lake Eden grounds to experience the power music, art and culture has to transform lives, strengthen community, and foster unity. LEAF Festival takes place on the site of the old Historic Black Mountain College with a stunning array of rolling hills, lakes, streams, and mountain beauty on hundreds of acres of comfortable camping grounds. LEAF scours the globe for artists, musicians, performers and facilitators that are not only masters of their craft, but who also care deeply for the power of arts education and family engagement.
LEAF Event Data: Fall 1995 – Oct 2019
# of LEAFers (Patrons) at Events: 484,000
2019 LEAF Festivals & Events
# of Countries Represented: 22
LEAF Community Arts is a non-profit organization in which all donations and festival proceeds supports cultural arts education programming locally and globally! Since 2004, LEAF Schools & Streets has served over 55,000 youth with programs in over 20 Western North Carolina locations. LEAF International features cultural preservation programs in 10 countries worldwide. Your attendance at LEAF not only provides you with an amazing weekend experience with friends and family, but provides a platform for fostering the growth of our youth into creative leaders in their communities worldwide.
Explore LEAF Festival's Historical Site
LEAF Festival sits below Mt. Mitchell with mountain lakes and rolling hills with 600 stunning acres featuring rustic cabins, large camping fields with mountain views, hiking trails, barns, streams, and lakes for canoeing, swimming, and the zooming zipline. This enchanting land offers lots of outdoors adventures for the whole family!
The 1st LEAF Festival premiered Fall 1996, and has become a tradition twice a year, May and October. The name Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) was chosen to honor the lake and the former Lake Eden Inn & Resort. “Arts” embraces a broad creative palate and of course it was to be a “festival”. In envisioning LEAF, we sought to embrace world cultures, reflect the creativity of the Asheville area, and to complement the stunning landscape. The location and size, attendance is limited to 6,000 people on site per day, makes LEAF Festival one of the best small festivals in the world. The right place, the right size.
LEAF Site History
The place, now Camp Rockmont & Lake Eden Events, was the site of the historic Black Mountain College in the 1940's-50's, one of the main arts & education happenings of the 1900’s. Many of the century's most celebrated artists and thinkers attended the college as teachers or students: Albert Einstein, Rauschenberg, Joseph & Annie Albers, Merce Cunningham, Rothko, and Buckminster Fuller (who designed the 1st geodesic dome here). The Barns were built by BMC students. Prior to BMC, E.W. Grove (of Grove Park Inn & Grove Arcade) developed the land and constructed some wonderful buildings with his trademark native stone fireplaces. For a short time during the BMC era, The Lake Eden Inn & Resort offered a getaway for people seeking its healing waters and refreshing air.
In the 80’s & 90’s, Black Mountain Folk Festival took place on these grounds. In 1995 through a series of unusual life events, Jennifer Pickering, LEAF’s Founder, was encouraged to start a new event. “Having grown up on this amazing land, it was a gift to come back and create a way for others to enjoy this special place”. To dispel a few myths...LEAF does not own Camp Rockmont- we are grateful to be able to rent the facilities twice a year from Rockmont. A portion of the festival grounds are Lake Eden Events where many LEAFers have had their weddings & Barn parties. Lets all take care of this beautiful place together.