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

502,000

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Performers

Newsworthy: LEAF is Back in 2021!

LEAF Retreat May 13-16
2nd Retreat Tickets Available! Limited, super special & for Members. Not a member? Join us & come.

LEAF Festival October 14-17
This is will be the 49.5th Festival! Tickets on Sale June 1st

LEAF Retreat is create to Rejuvenate the soul and Replenish our inspiration in this beautiful secluded place, Lake Eden, in which you can relax and get away. It’s less than 1/5 the attendee size of Festival while maintaining the same footprint which gives you the feeling of having the place to yourself. Connecting with the outdoors is an essential part of the experience. Stages are smaller, more intimate with meet and greets and a focus on local and regional artists. Great music in open air settings, special featured performances with LatinX artists, along with workshops, panel discussions and activities to recharge your spirits. Prepare for a time of reflection, reconnection, healing, friendship and fun in a safe healthy beautiful setting. HEALTH & SAFETY is #1 Priority. Social Distance , Mask Up & RESPECT Others space/boundaries.  

LOVE is not looking at one another. It’s looking TOGETHER towards the same direction.”  In tandem with this wonderful notion from an old Spanish saying, we present “LEAF Retreat.” 

Thank you LEAF Members for keeping LEAF’s Mission & Global Arts Education alive, pivoting & thriving! In gratitude, Members have access to the limited May Retreat passes.

Plan Your LEAF

LEAF is back & so grateful to be planning the 2nd Retreat. Get your passes- they are limited & for members. Not a member yet? Join us.

The Place & Stages

CAMPING & LODGING AREAS

STAGES + Experiences at Retreat

STAGES at Festival

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 at Festival

Global Arts

Family Adventure

Handcrafts & Culinary

Healing Arts

Earth Skills

What is LEAF?

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! 

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 DIVIDES. FESTIVALS, BRIDGE cultures & BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER in a relatively LOW-COST HIGH-IMPACT manner. COLLABORATION is key. LEAF was imagined for families & friends to be able to travel across the world through music and arts and explore arts while having great times at the beautiful Lake Eden setting. LEAF events size is limited – this is part of the magic. 

Each May & October an intergenerational family of 12,000 people (less during 2021)  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.

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.

LEAF ReTreat focuses on being in a beautiful secluded place in which you can relax, rejuvenate, and get away from it all. It’s less than 1/5 the attendee size of Festival while maintaining the same footprint size which gives you the feeling of having the place to yourself, creating more small groups and connecting you with nature and the outdoors as an essential part of the experience. Stages are open air, smaller, more intimate with meet and greets and a focus on local and regional artists several of whom are helping to design the weekend. Retreats focus on LEAF’s community, specifically honoring Members and fulfilling our mission of building more connections.

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LEAF Festival is a spirited celebration our local and global community. Stages are more elaborate with headline performers and global artists. This is the fun filled weekend with activities bursting at the seams that our community has come to know and love. In October 2021, we plan to return to a smaller 49.5th festival scaled right for the time. October 2022 will be our grand 50th Festival.

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Virtual-LEAFs (V-LEAF) created new opportunities, access, and engagement, and continue to be a part of LEAF in the future.

Each experience is exciting and unique, offering you an escape to focus on reconnecting, building new connections, learning about the world and being the best of yourself. LEAF Love!

Virtual V-LEAF May & October 2020Virtual V-LEAF
May & October 2020
Great Shows, Music & Resources Here – Enjoy​​

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Good to Know

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

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 are so grateful to be planning 2021 LEAF!

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."

Lodging Options for Your Retreat Experience:

Private Camp Cabins:
Set amongst the woods, 30 very rustic campy cabins w/ bunkbeds, screen windows, outlets & nearby showerhouses. Cabin Rental: Private Cabin $509 -sleeps 9, Large Private Cabin $558 -sleeps 12

Lodge Room 
Two big camp lodges with lodge rooms for families or large groups. The lodge rooms downstairs are semi-private sharing a dressing area, sink and private toilet with adjacent room. Upstairs big rooms have a private toilet/sink. Nice bathhouse is between the lodges. Lodge Rentals: Small Lodge Room: $509 – sleeps 5, Large Lodge Room: $1,435 – sleeps 16  

Notes:
•All Cabin/Lodge/Ship room rentals are valid for Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights with Sunday Checkout 7pm. You MUST have a Weekend/Weekend Plus ticket to stay overnight in lodging or tent camping.
•Bring warm bedding, towel & combo lock. Pack to unload at nearby parking area, not at cabin.
•To reserve lodging please call 828.68-MUSIC [686-8742] or email  info@theLEAF.org
LODGING CREDIT POLICY: If you’re unable to use your lodging, credit for future LEAF events can be applied IF we re-book your lodging ($18 service fee per item). To receive credit, notify LEAF in writing by EMAIL (info@theLEAF.org)  at least 7 days prior to event. Credit is valid for 3 years and may be transferred to another person. The credit is a dollar amount that can be applied towards any LEAF event purchase in advance. CALL LEAF office to redeem your credit in advance. No refunds. Note- NO credit on lodging reservations (Lodge Rooms/Cabins/Bunks/ETC) unless lodging can be re-booked.

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 

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 

Eden Field RV Permits: $183 Each  

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

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 

Mountain Stage 

Taking it to Higher Ground!

Beautiful 360 Mountain View in large open field above the lakes w/ Red Sky & Festy Tents. The best of Open Air and coverage.
Circles for pods will be marked so we all take great care of each other.

ULEAF Stage 

For May Retreat the ULEAF will be moving down by Eden Hall lawn and waterfront. This is one of the most stunning views in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the lake & surrounding mountains. LOTS of room for your pods, and boaters can enjoy the music from the lake.

The Barns

One of the best secrets at Lake Eden is the Lounging Barn. The Lounging Barn is open air, and has the right flow for great conversations and music experiences. The Big Barn is VIP hospitality & Upstairs is for small events, films and meet & greets. The Barns were built by the Black Mountain College Students in the 1950s. It is historic and a great gathering place. 

Arts

This place was once the historic Black Mountain College which was a famous internationally known art school in the mid 1900’s. It is a perfect place to delve into your creativity on your own painting by the lake or writing in the woods. There are arts experiences throughout the weekend with Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab, All Arts Jam, and workshops – even one for lantern making with Street Creature Puppets. This is your experience- make it as artful as you desire.

Healing Arts

LEAF is the place where you can relax, rejuvenate and explore healing arts you may not have time or access to in your daily life. Healing Arts are in an open area looking down on the lakes and around to the mountains. A healing tent tent and platform help create the space and place for your reviving workshops and retreat.

Lake Eden

Camp Rockmont & Lake Eden Events are 700 acres of pristine stunning nature with Lake Eden as the center piece of activity and connection. Whether you want to zipline, stand up paddleboard, canoe, swim or just sit by the lake – it is there for YOU.

Main Stage 

Taking it to Higher Ground!

Beautiful 360 Mountain View in large open field above the lakes w/ Red Sky & Festy Tents. The best of Open Air and coverage.
Circles for pods will be marked so we all take great care of each other.

PerfBootsy
Eden Hall

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 John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Phillip Glass and notable Bauhaus artists.

The Barn

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.

Brookside

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.

Jam Tavern

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.

Sunshine Stage

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