Set amidst the Blue Ridge mountains, just below Mt. Mitchell and near Black Mountain, the LEAF Festival magical park setting is a short drive from Asheville. Experience spontaneous and great music from many corners of the globe. A dizzying array of traditions unite to present music from a diverse range of cultures: African, Latin, Appalachian, Cajun, Celtic, Blues, Bluegrass, French, Texas Sounds and more. Discover new music and enjoy LEAF traditions by the lake, under the sun and stars, in the mountains. three days, four stages, jam tent, healing arts, poetry, African drum circle... continuous wonderment & celebration.
2018: May 10-13 & October 18-21
2019: May 9-12 & October 17-20
The Spring festival theme is "Ignite & Inspire" featuring Legends of Africa. At a time where so many feel disconnected and divided, the 44th LEAF festival declares itself Sanctuary - creating a welcoming space for all walks of life and all ways of perceiving our diverse world. Each artist featured over the weekend have been carefully selected for not only being masters of their craft, but for standing firm as waymakers with powerful messages of hope, freedom, and inspiration.
Also enjoy their free festival, LEAF Downtown Asheville, on the first weekend of August.
LEAF Festival musicians provide the soundtrack to a memorable experience filled with cultural treasures and fun. Combining a great diversity of names and faces with a myriad of community dances including Salsa, Swing, the Waltz and traditional, contemporary and techno forms of Contra; poetry and puppetry slams; folk art and handcraft exhibitions, installations and interactive demonstrations; camping, watersports and outdoor adventure; and kid’s activities throughout the festival.
Be sure to make advance reservations for camping or day passes since it is always a sell-out. Tickets are limited, since only 5,500 are allowed each day!
Formerly the historic Black Mountain College, presently a summer camp (Camp Rockmont), it's a beautiful 600 acre site. Rolling hills for camping, mountain lakes for swimming, canoeing, and ziplining, streams to play in, woods to hike and explore, and a setting which is relaxing and inspiring. Many folks come for the weekend with plenty of room to camp. Save money by buying tickets early ! It's only about 12 miles from downtown Asheville.
What to Expect at LEAF?
A weekend at LEAF is the equivalent of going on a year-long multi-cultural musical and dance odyssey. Along the way to enjoy some incredible music at Lakeside Stage, your senses are overcome; the scent of crepes from one side, the splash of laughter from the other, and is that your friend on a massage table over there looking ooooh so relaxed. The Juried Art Fair pulses with life; the muted throbbing of carefully crafted drums, sun sparkled colored glass and cleverly scented soaps and ornate candles vie for your attention.
Dance! Contra, Cajun, Swing, Celtic, African, Latin, Clogging, Zydeco, Waltz and more. A wooden floor in Brookside Pavilion creates one of the south's largest dance floors. Leave to grove at many dance workshops or mini dance demos that cover everything from belly dance to Irish step dancing.
More than 40 artisans, contemporary and folk-styled, demonstrate their craft and sell original artwork, clothing, jewelry, musical instruments and more throughout the festival weekend. The Healing Arts Area weaves an underlying matrix of healing consciousness that permeates every aspect of the festival and affects every person here either directly or indirectly, making LEAF a truly magical microcosm of idyllic existence. Funky costumes and festive attitudes welcome!
Purchase tickets online at the LEAF Web site or by phone at 828-686-8742. Buy tickets well in advance to ake advantage of discounts for early bird registration. Adult early bird prices start at $37 for the day or $155 for the weekend. Children 9 and younger are always free. Limited car camping, lodge rooms and cabins are available.
- From West (from Asheville): 1-40 to Swannanoa Exit 59. Left at end of ramp. Right at light onto US 70. Left at next light,cross small bridge, right at yield onto Old US70. 1.9 miles to light. Left onto Lake Eden Rd.
- From East: I-40 to 1st Black Mtn. Exit #65. Exit merges to Hwy. 70. 3.5 miles, pass lots of small businesses, Marine Boats & see large Ingles Warehouse on left. Right at traffic light onto Grovestone Road. Left at next light onto Old US 70. 1st light right onto Lake Eden Road.
- By Air: Asheville Airport w/ USAir, Delta, Continental, Northwest-25 minutes
Greenville SC (GSP) Airport- 1.5 hours Charlotte NC (CLT)- 2.5 hours
- By Bus: Ride the Asheville Transit Bus from Asheville, Airport or Black Mtn.
- By Bike: Discounts for bike riders who arrive in this environmentally friendly style. Park & lock bikes at tennis courts.
Ins & Outs:
- NO ARRIVALS prior to Thursday 4pm
- Thursday Arrivals - 4pm-11pm only.
- Friday - 9am-1am Saturday - 9am-10pm Sunday - 8:30am-4pm
- The festival ends Sunday eve at 7pm. Please plan to depart by dark.
- LEAFbit: Once you are parked please plan to leave only when necessary.
Help make LEAF more car-free:
- Carpool with friends. Saturday only (non overnight leafers) please park in our off-site shuttle parking at Owen High School.
- For Vehicle Camping remember you must have a vehicle camping space reserved in advance.
- All Cars park in Gate 6 or designated parking areas. Plan once you park in car-camping not to leave and re-enter.
- All cars not needed as part of the campsite please park in Gate 6 lot. Thanks - less vehicles about-more friendly space.
Read and see more at the LEAF Web site.
The location of LEAF was the location of Black Mountain College - now the subject of a museum and arts center in downtown Asheville.