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LEAF Festival

Celebrating 25 years! Connecting Cultures & Creating Community Through World Music & Arts

502,000

LEAFers at Events

56

Festivals

101

Countries Presented

16,043

Performers

LEAF is a wonderful way to experience the BEST of LIFE & CULTURES. Travel the world through music. This unique form of “gathering” transcends elements that divide. Festivals bridge cultures & BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER in a relatively low-cost, high-impact manner. Collaboration is key. Together we are all stronger. LEAF is set apart by just its intimacy and place. LEAF was imagined as a welcoming space to explore global arts while having memorable times with family & friends in the extraordinary Lake Eden setting.

We kicked off the year ready to celebrate 25 years & 50th LEAF Festival. As the world has stopped, event driven organizations like LEAF have been devastated. Yet we hold hope, as Global Citizens have come together for Black Lives Matter. One day tbd a LEAF 50th Celebration will happen at Lake Eden. In the meantime we pivot and shout out to LEAF Members who have been crucial in keeping LEAF & our Global Arts Education work thriving!

SAVE THE DATES!
LEAF Retreat: Oct 22-25, 2020
LEAF Festival: May 13-16, 2021

Newsworthy

In case you missed it…

LEAF’s 50th Festival will happen in the future when the time is right.
We pivot to create what is safe & needed:

LEAF Retreat October 22-25, 2020

Details in design now. LEAF  Members & Early Bird Tickets  Buyers will have first options to join retreat . No additional tickets available.

This summer Camp Rockmont created Family Retreats that were 100% healthy, safe and really nurturing. LEAF is following this format along with YMCA retreats at Rockmont/Lake Eden. LEAF Retreat will be SMALL, MASKED & SOCIAL DISTANCING, and sweet.

Imagine having Lake Eden almost to yourself with many of the LEAF magic traditions. Revive the feeling of being at LEAF, dancing, smiling, sitting by the lake, or hanging at the campsite with friends and playing music. These memories inspire us and help build resilience as the world shifts and changes rapidly especially for music and events. Every day we feel the uncertainty, and embrace the positive power of how LEAF connects people to the world, others and themselves. As we look towards the fall LEAF…this year is “not festivals as usual” and we will do our very best to create a LEAF experience in a way that honors health and safety and stay true to our vision of creating a thriving global community.

 

Plan Your Visit

These “vintage 2019” pieces give you a great sense of LEAF Festival

On the Grounds

STAGES

You know how it feels to be up close in a magical concert with artists, not in a big crowd, and beautiful mountain and lake views surrounding. That is LEAF. Each stage allows you to fully experience the performance and often times to engage in ways that builds new bridges between the audience and the artists. We also recognize people vary in height, access and other engagement tools; therefore, we seek to make all stages accessible and offer assistance when needed.

There are a variety of stages, tents and settings.

VILLAGES

CAMPING & LODGING AREAS

Explore LEAF's Historical Site

The 1st LEAF Festival premiered Fall 1996, and has become a tradition twice a year, May and October. The original (no longer used since 2013) 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 max. 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.

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 while bringing the world to our community”. 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.

What is LEAF Festival?

Since 1995, LEAF Festival has become one of the best traditions of coming together to celebrate world music, art, creativity, and culture. Family and friends alike take time to relax, discover and reconnect. Resting within hundreds of acres of beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain country, LEAF Festival features a variety of performance stages, family adventure village, handcraft and folk art vendors, culinary artists, performing artists from a vast array of genres and cultures, and a magical outdoor camp and retreat setting awaiting your exploration! 

Browsing through the Festival Weekend Guide (Image Link to most recent guide) will give you a fuller understanding of LEAF and the wide range of adventures, music, creativity, cultural exchanges and magic that is brought together during LEAF.

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 Global Arts is a non-profit organization in which all memberships and donations support cultural arts education programming locally and globally! Since 2004, LEAF Schools & Streets has served over 85,000 local youth. 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 great global citizens and creative leaders in their communities worldwide.

Good to Know

Be LEAFy and kind! Follow the rules or you got to go.

Info Here

YOU are RESPONSIBLE. There are inherent risks associated with being at LEAF or a LEAF event. By participating in LEAF (LEAF Community Arts) in any way (ticket purchaser, volunteer, staff, performer, vendor, etc) YOU are fully responsible for your physical and mental self, your belongings, your vehicle, your actions, injuries, accidents, illness, property damage, or other occurrence arising in any manner whatsoever out of your participation in activities sponsored by LEAF. In addition, all persons attending this event, by their presence, may be photographed, videotaped, or broadcasted and, waive any claim related to the use of their image for promotional purposes for LEAF. BE RESPECTFUL, KIND & RESPONSIBLE.

NO OPEN FIRES! Small grills & fire pits allowed as long as they are 18″ off the ground. Coals must be dumped in marked barells by the dumpster.

CREDIT POLICY: Limited #’s of tickets are released at each price tier. Purchase early to ensure the best rate!  If you’re unable to use your ticket(s), credit for future LEAF Festivals can be applied less $18 fee per item. To receive credit, notify LEAF in writing by EMAIL (info@theLEAF.org) or LETTER (LEAF Global Arts, 19 Eagle St., Ste 120, Asheville, NC 28801) at least 7 days prior to the festival you’ll miss (Thursday the week prior to Festival). No phone credit request or post-deadline requests accepted. Credit is valid for 3 years and may be transferred to another person.  The credit is a dollar amount that can be applied towards tickets (while tickets last) and is not an actual ticket. CALL the LEAF office to redeem your credit. No refunds.  Lineup subject to change. No credit on lodging reservations (Lodge Rooms/Cabins/Bunks/ETC) unless lodging can be re-booked.

Security roams 24 hours & is always available at Gate 3

For off-hour emergencies go to Security at Gate 3

For immediate assistance, a F.A.S.T. member can be reached by any staff member with a walkie-talkie.

First Aid is located across from the tennis courts by the main road.

First Aid Hours

Thurs 3-12 / Fri 8-12 / Sat 8-12 / Sun 8-7

For Emergencies during off-hours: Knock on Security door or go to Security at Gate 3 OR call LEAF Director at 828-713-6504

Low Impact Festival Camping Guidelines from your friendly LEAF Green Team

  1. Don’t bring trash & Pack Light!
    Bring durable reusable equipment. Every festival we end up with tons of broken camping gear, almost all of which is cheap stuff from big chain discount stores. Beware of EZup style canopy tents – they seldom last through the weekend! 
    If you must purchase new things for LEAF make sure to remove the packaging and recycle it at home. Please try to use as few disposable dishes as possible.
  2. Pack It In Pack It Out!
    Keep your litter and recyclables bagged up and take it with you when you leave. We provide composting on site so you don’t have to keep smelly things at your campsite.
  3. If you can’t fully do rules #1 & #2…
    Please make sure that you bag your trash, compost, and recycling separately and bring them to the “Green Zone” or leave them near collection points (by blue and orange bins) on the road.

What’s Recyclable?
Metal, glass, clean paper, corrugated cardboard, and aluminum pie pans and food trays. NEW- ALL plastics #1-7 are recyclable at LEAF.

What’s Compostable?
Food scraps (including meat), paper plates, paper cups and the green corn cups, dirty paper and cardboard, and pizza boxes. We are composting at a closer facility now and rather than being preserved in an ugly, toxic, and unnatural landfill, this material is being recycled into nutritious mulch for landscaping and gardening. Help us expand our composting by spreading the word. Together we can significantly reduce the load going to the landfill!

LEAF Festival is a family friendly event for all ages. Smoking is allowed ONLY in designated areas. Please see map.

Waterfront & Zipline are open Noon to 5pm weather permitting. No boats out after 6pm. No swimming after dark. Swimming is allowed ONLY at the waterfront when life guards are on duty. Boaters must wear life jackets.

Arrival & Departure

Safe, happy travels to LEAF. Take your time, and know that we are here to help & welcome you.

*Do NOT arrive EARLY or LATE. Times are NOT Flexible. BRING your BARCODE 

Drive Thru Gate Hours for all LEAFers
Thursday 4:30pm-10pm
Friday 10am-10pm
Saturday 9am-8pm
Sunday 9am-3pm

ALL YOUTH UNDER AGE 18 MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A PARENT AT MAIN GATE CHECK-IN & DURING FESTIVAL.

Give plenty of drive time. We cannot accommodate late arrivals.

Pack light & green for easy drop off or shuttle.

ALL LEAFers MUST depart by Sunday 7pm.

Physical LEAF Festival Address:
377 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711

PLEASE NOTE: LEAF Check-in is BEFORE Lake Eden Rd. @ Owen Pool
Owen Pool, 117 Stone Drive, Swannanoa, NC 28778

From WEST & Asheville:
I-40 to Swannanoa exit #59. Turn left at end of exit ramp. Right at the tra­c light onto US-70. Turn left at the next light, over bridge, and take an immediate right at yield sign onto Old US-70. Go 1.8 miles and turn right into Owen Pool Lot for drive-thru check in.

From EAST & Black Mountain:
I-40 to ‑rst Black Mountain Exit #65. Ramp merges with US-70. Drive 3.5 miles, through town and then several tra­ffic lights. See a huge Ingles warehouse on the left. Turn right at tra­c light onto Grovestone Road. Turn left at next traffi­c light onto Old US-70. Go 1.6 miles and turn left into Owen Pool Lot for drive-thru check in.

 

SCHOOLS & STREETS

Youth Performers & Guests
Check In at Owen Middle School

Saturday: 8:30am-3pm
Sunday: 8:30am-1pm


WeX

  1. Follow LEAFer Drive-Thru Check-In Instructions.
  2. Once parked & unloaded, go to WeX Booth 
  3. Check-in with WeX Team to receive your schedule.

VENDORS & HEALING ARTS

Check-In ONSITE at Gate 3 til Friday 4:30pm to pick up credentials:

Thursday: 9a – 4p NO LOAD-IN AFTER 4p (Festival opens to the public)

Friday: 9a – 3p (Check-in at Drive Thru after 4:30p)

  • Assistants check in at Drive-Thru Check-In at Owen PoolOld US 70.
  • BARCODE required at DRIVE-THRU!
  • Email vendors@theLEAF.org if you need a copy of  YOUR VENDOR BARCODE.

*Assistants arriving before Thurs 4pm check in at GATE 3 vendor check-in. After Thurs 4:30 assistants go to Drive-Thru Check-In.

Car-pooling is cool! Parking is $10 per vehicle (in advance & on site)  – bring correct change (fee n/a to vehicle campers or RV w/ permit).

WEEKEND Parking: 

  • After drive-thru check-in, display your parking pass & come slowly up Lake Eden Rd.
  • PLEASE DRIVE SLOW. You will go through two checkpoints – show wristbands & car pass.Tent Campers drop off gear near camp area – plan in advance where you want to camp so you know drop off point. Pack light.
  • Vehicle Campers go to their campground – plan to park & stay for safety and relaxation.
  • Cabins 1-20 go to special area at Gate 6 where ZOOM transport awaits you- pack light.
  • Cabins 21-44 proceed to their cabin parking area near cabins.

DAY Parking: ALL Day Visitors (non-overnight, includes Community Pass) park at Owen Middle School and take shuttle up to the festival. Shuttle runs continuously from open till Fri|Sat 2am and Sun 7pm.

NOTE! Even if you have a weekend ticket but you are NOT staying overnight please park in Owen Middle School Day parking – it is much easier.

View Map Here

We miss LEAF events as much as you do!

Keep LEAF in your life year around virtually & LEAF Global Arts Center in Downtown AVL

"I tell anyone moving to WNC that LEAF is a MUST and the quickest way to experience the vibance of our community and an abundance of great people."

Main Stage | Taking it to Higher Ground! 

The Main Stage has moved up to Eden Field with majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Eden. The view is stunning and ground has more resilience. 

Eden Hall is one of 6 Stages and home to the Southern Fried Poetry Slam! On Camp Rockmont Grounds Eden Hall this stage has hosted so many LEAF pinnacle moments since 1995. During Black Mountain College, Eden Hall became famous for it’s “Happenings” launched by Merce Cunningham, Phillip Glass and notable Bauhaus artists.

The Barn is the historic Black Mountain College quintessential red barn built by the BMC Students in the1950’s. It was home to many horses over the years, and LEAF brought it to life in 2005 as a concert venue. The first performers to play in the barn included Sara Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Billy Jonas, Yungchen Llamo of Tibet, and Michael Franti’s special set for kids.

On Camp Rockmont Grounds Brookside Gym has hosted so many LEAF pinnacle moments since 1995. Brookside is a Dance Hall that has traditionally been filled with happy contra dancers. LEAF will be discovering new ways to present dance which is so vital in our lives, and new ways to bring this hall to life.

The Jam Tavern is a smaller stage where community gathers and plays. Aptly named the Jam Tavern hosts many old timey “jam sessions” over the course of the Festival.

The Sunshine Stage focuses on our littlest LEAFers hosting an array of children’s shows and the youth poetry slam.

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Limited vehicle camping spaces in designated areas are available for pre-festival purchase. Plan to arrive & STAY until final departure.

  • Permit is a 18’w x 18’d space and is 1st come 1st served within your designated area.
  • One vehicle per spot. If your vehicle dimensions are larger than 18′ x 18′ you must purchase multiple permits.
  • See LEAF map for vehicle camping areas.
  • Without permit, no vehicles at campsite-you’ll be car-free. (This includes motorcycles, Pop-Up Campers, etc.). 
  • NO Generators allowed at Meadow Green.

YOU MUST HAVE A WEEKEND OR WEEKEND PLUS PASS TO STAY OVERNIGHT WITH VEHICLE CAMPING – DAY PASSES DO NOT ALLOW FOR OVERNIGHT STAY OF ANY KIND.

Vehicle Permits: $97 Each  SOLD OUT

Limited vehicle camping spaces in designated areas are available for pre-festival purchase. Plan to arrive & STAY until final departure.

Eden Field Vehicle Camping:

  • Permit is a 18’w x 18’d space and is 1st come 1st served within your designated area.
  • One vehicle per spot. If your vehicle dimensions are larger than 18′ x 18′ you must purchase multiple permits.
  • See LEAF map for vehicle camping areas.
  • Without permit, no vehicles at campsite-you’ll be car-free. (This includes motorcycles, Pop-Up Campers, etc.). 
  • NO Generators allowed with Eden Field Vehicle Camping Permit.

Eden Field RV Camping:

  • Permit is for ONE recreational vehicle (dimensions will be requested 3 weeks prior to Festival). 
  • See LEAF map for vehicle camping areas.
  • Without permit, no vehicles at campsite-you’ll be car-free. (This includes motorcycles, Pop-Up Campers, etc.). 
  • Generators allowed 9am to 10pm with Eden Field RV Camping Permit.
  • No hookups.

YOU MUST HAVE A WEEKEND OR WEEKEND PLUS PASS TO STAY OVERNIGHT WITH VEHICLE CAMPING – DAY PASSES DO NOT ALLOW FOR OVERNIGHT STAY OF ANY KIND.

Eden Field Vehicle Permits: $97 Each  SOLD OUT

Eden Field RV Permits: $183 Each  SOLD OUT

Limited vehicle camping spaces in designated areas are available for pre-festival purchase. Plan to arrive & STAY until final departure.

  • Permit is a 18’w x 18’d space and is 1st come 1st served within your designated area.
  • One vehicle per spot. If your vehicle dimensions are larger than 18′ x 18′ you must purchase multiple permits.
  • See LEAF map for vehicle camping areas.
  • Without permit, no vehicles at campsite-you’ll be car-free. (This includes motorcycles, Pop-Up Campers, etc.). 
  • NO Generators allowed at Barn Top.

YOU MUST HAVE A WEEKEND OR WEEKEND PLUS PASS TO STAY OVERNIGHT WITH VEHICLE CAMPING – DAY PASSES DO NOT ALLOW FOR OVERNIGHT STAY OF ANY KIND.

Vehicle Permits: $97 Each  SOLD OUT

Limited vehicle camping spaces in designated areas are available for pre-festival purchase. Plan to arrive & STAY until final departure.

  • Permit is a 18’w x 18’d space and is 1st come 1st served within your designated area.
  • One vehicle per spot. If your vehicle dimensions are larger than 18′ x 18′ you must purchase multiple permits.
  • See LEAF map for vehicle camping areas.
  • Without permit, no vehicles at campsite-you’ll be car-free. (This includes motorcycles, Pop-Up Campers, etc.). 
  • NO Generators allowed at Mountain Top.

YOU MUST HAVE A WEEKEND OR WEEKEND PLUS PASS TO STAY OVERNIGHT WITH VEHICLE CAMPING – DAY PASSES DO NOT ALLOW FOR OVERNIGHT STAY OF ANY KIND.

Vehicle Permits: $97 Each  SOLD OUT

Set amongst the woods, 30 very rustic campy cabins w/ bunkbeds, screen windows, outlets & nearby showerhouses. Two big camp lodges with lodge rooms for families or large groups. All lodging is Thursday-Sunday (A Weekend Plus Pass is required to stay Thursday night).  You MUST have a Weekend or Weekend Plus ticket to stay overnight in lodging or tent camping.

Lodge Room Pricing:
Small Lodge Rooms: $509 – sleep 5 and have a shared half bath  SOLD OUT
Large Lodge Rooms: $1,435 – sleeps 16 have a half bath  SOLD OUT
Bunks in Lodge: $150 per bunk in shared family style room with half bath  SOLD OUT

Cabin Pricing:
Private Cabin sleeps 9 people $509  SOLD OUT
Cabin #35 (Sleeps 10 for $530 – includes bathroom, no hot water)  SOLD OUT
Private Cabin sleeps 12 people $558  SOLD OUT

Bring warm bedding & towel. Pack to unload at nearby parking area, not at cabin. For questions and to reserve lodging please call 828.68-MUSIC [686-8742]

Lodging is on sale to LEAF Members ONLY in December & June, and will go on sale to the general public on January 1st & July 1st. Vehicle camping spots can be purchased on our online ticket store starting in January for Spring & June for Fall.

CREDIT POLICY: Limited #’s of tickets are released at each price tier. Purchase early to ensure the best rate! If you’re unable to use your ticket(s), credit for future LEAF Festivals can be applied -$18 fee per item. To receive credit, notify LEAF in writing by EMAIL (info@theLEAF.org) or LETTER at least 7 days prior to the festival you’ll miss (Thursday the week prior to Festival). No phone credit request or post-deadline requests accepted. Credit is valid for 3 years and may be transferred to another person. The credit is a dollar amount that can be applied towards tickets (while tickets last) and is not an actual ticket. CALL LEAF office to redeem your credit. No refunds. Lineup subject to change. NO credit on lodging reservations (Lodge Rooms/Cabins/Bunks/ETC) unless lodging can be re-booked.