attend. Tickets for this event, however, were sold out long before the start of this unique "happening." So while making reservations for our accommodations in Black Mountain this year, I also purchased tickets for the 41st Festival, all 3 days. In May and October, the non-profit organization holds the Festival on the grounds of the former Black Mountain College near Lake Eden. Since it started 20 years ago, LEAF has expanded beyond the festival. It now includes a Schools and Street program which serves over 10,000 youths annually (since 2004) in art and music workshops, residencies and performances. In 2006, LEAF International was launched, which
sponsors programs to "empower global youth and collaborate to preserve cultural traditions." Connecting cultures and enriching lives through the arts is the key behind LEAF.
New Orleans was the primary theme of this fall's event. The relationship between the city and the non-profit began 10 years ago following Hurricane Katrina. LEAFers donated $100,000 in instruments to the city. The first Schools and Street program established was with young New Orlean's musicians, and the 20th LEAF Festival (2005) featured entertainers from the area.
Following a group of singing honey bees on stilts (pollinating singing flowers) on our arrival to the event on Friday afternoon, was just a touch of the diversity awaiting us for the weekend. Six different performance art venues were available for entertainment, but also there were roving entertainers, ranging from jugglers to clowns. Healing art workshops for yoga, tai chi, herbal medicine, and numerous others, in addition to drum and didgeridoo workshops, soapstone carving, kombucha workshops, and on and on, being offered at 3 different locations.
Trying to describe the event is difficult. Weirdness is celebrated, and it's like wandering into a
|Tents on top of tents|
|Zipliner landing in the chilly waters|
|Almost non-stop dancing and music at Brookside, offering one of the largest dance floors in the South.|
|Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole|
|One of the many drum circles|
|The Shifty Drifters-spoon driven band|
|Kombucha at a Festival?!|
|Preservation Hall with the Delta Jazz group|
|Preservation Hall Jazz Band|
|The Barn, one of the venues|
|Rachel Kilgour, winner of the singer/songwriter contest|
|Mardi Gras parade|
|Poet at Eden Hall|
|Ziplining into the chilly Lake|
|Charmaine Neville Band|