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Newsworthy: LEAF is ON for Fall 2021!

For your Festive Calendars: Oct. 14-17, 2021
May Retreat 12-15, 2022 | 50th Festival Oct. 20-23, 2022

 LEAF 49.5th FESTIVAL is OCTOBER 14-17, 2021!

Tickets On Sale! Email info@theLEAF.org for Lodging

Health, Safety & Kindness #1!

  • This is 49.5th Festival with capacity 50% to max 70% 
  • As of 9/15 LEAF Festival will 1. Require Proof of Vaccination or Negative Test within 72 hours 2. Must MASK indoors & at Vendors 3. Social Distance for outside your pod. 4. Sanitation Stations.
  • Dancing? Yes! Outside and in Open Air or Masked. Brookside Dance Hall will NOT  happen this fall. Old school days of great partner & solo dances at stages.
  • We have successfully created 3 LEAF events during Covid and we recognize we are adapting and changing to meet the now. We are committed do our best to create a healthy safe event.

LEAF May Retreat 2021 Was Magical! Thank YOU to Members!!

LEAF Retreat was created to Rejuvenate the soul and Replenish our inspiration in this beautiful secluded place, Lake Eden, in which you can relax and get away. Connecting with the outdoors was an essential part of the experience.  Great music in open air settings, special featured performances with LatinX artists, along with workshops, panel discussions and activities to recharge your spirits. HEALTH & SAFETY was #1 Priority.   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 presented“LEAF Retreat.” 

Thank you LEAF Members for keeping LEAF’s Mission & Global Arts Education alive, pivoting & thriving! In gratitude! 

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.



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.


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​​


Plan Your LEAF

LEAF is back & so grateful! Get your tickets- they are limited & Weekend Plus are special for members. Not a member yet? Join us.

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."