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LEAF Downtown AVL


Art Dash 5k Registration is now open!

August 28th, 2021  –  Rolling starting times between 8am and 9:30am

THE MOST unique summer 5k in downtown Asheville.
Art and Music accompany your 3.1 mile run/walk through the city. Start and finish in Pack Square.

Registration and details here.

We look forward to creating LEAF Downtown in 2021. Reimagine 2020 virtually & in person small formats was a beautiful collaboration!

Reimagine 2020

LEAF + YMI Collaboration

LEAF is grateful to partner with the YMI to collaborate for a virtual/small format project that happened October 3rd-4th! As we learned in 2020, everything changes quickly. We envisioned a collective event of our community coming together both in person and virtually. LEAF fully honored  NC Laws and safety recommendations.  While we all stay healthy, we hope to see you at smaller events and LEAF Global in the coming months. We look forward to dancing, singing, creating, running and celebrating together in the future. Keep your spirits bright! LEAF Love!

6th LEAF Downtown
Dreaming for Future! August 27-28, 2021 


Why LEAF Downtown AVL?

LEAF brings downtown to life for families and  our local communities.

LEAF Downtown connects our local communities and cultures while celebrating creativity and diversity in the heart of downtown Asheville! This special event works to further the city’s goals of equity, partnerships, and economic vitality in the greater Asheville area. The priority audience is our local families and friends of all ages & all neighborhoods coming together in a way that builds positive connections and allows locals to feel that downtown is theirs. This event also creates platforms for voices often unheard as we connect people to the world, each other, and themselves. LEAF’s vision to create a thriving global community starts right here in our own backyard. 

LEAF Downtown AVL invites, celebrates and appreciates YOU! | LEAF Downtown is dedicated to honoring the diverse and rich culture of Asheville. We seek to ensure every neighborhood, race, ethnicity, and culture has a voice and gathering space at our event. LEAF supports healthy expressions of progress featuring diversity and inclusion in all its signature events and LEAF Downtown gives us the unique opportunity to support local Asheville interests, honor heritage and share history. 


Stages are created for a variety of engagement experiences from Main Stage, ULEAF Community Stage, Voices of Asheville, Cafe Stage, Busker Corner., and Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab. The park is artfully curated  with local artists, vendors, family adventure, and opportunities for kids to elders to share their stories and  arts. 





Easel Rider


Since 2014, over 100,000 people, families, and friends of all ages and walks of life came out to enjoy 960 performing artists from 19 countries in our downtown.

Concerts & Performers

Featuring a dynamic range of local, regional & national talent spanning a diversity of genres and artistic lineages that uplift, empower, and inspire! Tune into AVL’s rich local music traditions including soul, old time, folk, hip hop, Americana, blues, Appalachian roots, and new music by new generations. To give you a sense of who comes together to create LEAF Downtown AVL here are a few highlights since 2015: 

Bootsy Collins, WAR, Arrested Development, Grandmaster Flash, Maceo Parker, Rare Essence, Big Chief Juan Pardo, Delhi to Dublin, Red Baraat, Stephen Marley & Secret Agent 23 Skidoo & many others.

LEAF International Culture Keepers & Youth from Haiti, Bequia, Ivory Coast, and Costa Rica First Nations. LEAF Schools & Streets Teaching Artists and Easel Rider Artists,

Lots of amazing local artists including: Lyric, Free Flow, Ryan RnB Barber & BoogiTherapi, RAICES, Ashley Heath, Billy Jonas, Dave Desmelik, Empire Strikes Brass, HoveyKraft, Indigo de Souza, Imphotep, Santos, Juan Benavides, DJ Marley Carroll, Street Creature Puppet Collective, Studio Zahiya, The Broadcast & many others in our talented city.


Downtown Stage

Featuring a dynamic range of local, regional & national talent spanning a diversity of genres and artistic lineages that uplift, empower, and inspire!

Cafe Stage

A place to eat and engage with the family while tuning into Asheville’s rich local traditions featuring old time, folk, hip hop, Americana, blues and deep Appalachian roots.


Roaming artists, arts experience, installations, and Buskers are a vibrant part of the arts in the streets. Get to connect with local buskers in fun ways.


Connecting and celebrating LEAF Schools & Streets youth performers, local arts education partners, community elders and voices of leadership.

Voices of Asheville

Voices of Asheville Celebrates Cultural History in an interactive sanctuary space that allows connection to a deeper layer of  community. A space is created to encourage sharing, conversations, respite, and you can enjoy spirited storytelling­, Panel discussions abound surrounding history equity and inclusion. Connect with local artists and community-driven organizations in an atmosphere suitable for connection, healing, and exploration. LEAF is always on a Learning Journey. We value diverse and often hidden voices. To really understand your community(s), we invite you to discover more history and connect in many circles.


Arts & Family Adventures

LEAF Downtown AVL is about FAMILY! A Family Adventure Zone, parades, interactive art installations for all to enjoy!  LEAF makes sure that there is plenty of engaging cultural arts and fun for the whole family. Costume tents, roaming kids artists, puppets, jugglers, face painting, the Wandering Swordsman, parades & circus arts. The Easel Rider  is a creative immersion for kids with global interactive art and fun led by a team of LEAF r artists.

Roaming artists, arts experience, installations, Healing Artists & of course treasured LOCAL ARTS vendors to browse and shop. AVL Grown partners to recognize LOCAL ARTISTS.​







LEAF Downtown AVL showcases dynamic musical talent, immersive cultural arts performances and local handcraft & culinary artists. At this special event, experience a world-class music, art & cultural immersion featuring over 200 performers on 3 stages, 70 hand-selected artisan craft & food vendors, non-stop family adventure programming, and the Voices of Asheville cultural epicenter. No matter who you are, where you are from, and what lights your fire, LEAF Downtown celebrates YOU – Championing diversity, equity & inclusivity as core principles at the heart of the event.

Ehren Cruz, Artistic Director, 2014-2019

Art Dash 5k....Run Your Ash Off

All ages and levels welcome to THE MOST unique 5k in downtown Asheville. Art and Music accompany your 3.1 mile run/walk through the city. It is a great race to run with family and friends. Costumes are encouraged. Pets are welcomed. LEAF Art Dash 5K fees are supporting LEAF Schools & Streets.

Registration for the upcoming Art Dash 5k on August 28th, 2021 is open now! Registration and details here.



All Ages




Plan Your LEAF Downtown

Note from festival guide page

We miss LEAF festivals as much as you do!

LEAF Downtown AVL Plans to be Back August 2021!
Until then visit LEAF Global Arts in downtown on the corners of Eagle & S. Market Streets.