Why LEAF is one of The Best Fests Around


Why LEAF is one of The Best Fests Around

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    Asheville Grit is what Asheville has to say. It's a free-form, curated forum for Ashevillians to submit blog posts on music, art, food and drink, opinions on local things and more. Contact us if you...

Photo courtesy of David Simchock Photography

The 40th LEAF Festival is this weekend and we are just too excited. To get even more pumped, we decided to ask some friends to share the first thing that comes to mind when asked what it is they love most about LEAF – one of the biggest and longest running music and arts festivals in our region.

They told us how they feel, so why don't you? Whether you've gone a bunch or have never been, comment below and you could win a pair of Sunday LEAF passes for May 10. 

LEAF takes place in Black Mountain May 7-10.

Happy LEAFing!


"What I love: The focus on World, New Orleans, and folk-roots talent that comes, and the creative community that it attracts, and the beautiful setting of mountains meeting Lake Eden."

     - Martin Anderson, Music Director and Host, WNCW


"LEAF is more than a festival, it's a place to: discover some of the world's best international acts; make new friends and spend time with old ones; dance; laugh; connect with nature; be free spirited; take a break from the daily grind; be happy!"

     - Crissa Requate Sinkovic, President, Mason Jar Media


"Number one thing- no doubt: Poetry Slam finals. One year, I was SO entranced and lost in the poet, I didn't even notice my friend Jay Leutze standing right near me - now I love talking up Poetry Slam with Jay every time we see each other! Number two - Morning yoga. I didn't think I'd be in to the group yoga, but my highly intelligent wife urged me to come along one time, and I was lost in the moment - completely forgetting anything worrying me or stressing me, and being at peace with other peaceful souls on the lawn at LEAF. It's worth it - no doubt."

     - Benjamin Colvin, Development Director, Wild South

"I go to LEAF every time for the discovery. Whether it be a band in the barn, a new culture or new friends, I always come home recharged. Plus, it's our family time to unplug and be kids together. We've had some great memories there and I expect many more to come!"

     - Adrian VassalloDixon Hughes Goodman LLP and the Asheville Downtown Association


"That energy you feel, excitement of community, seeing old friends, and being on a magical and historic piece of land,  all this when you first arrive. You aren't leaving your worries behind for a weekend, your heading somewhere that is powerful and healing." 

     - Micah Wheat, Asheville Music Hall


"I think what I like most about LEAF is the complete sense of community. Everyone arrives ready to relax and catch up with friends, and everything about the festival works to reinforce a sense of togetherness: the funky world music vibe; the sharing of dance, art and food; the surrounding embrace of the beautiful mountains. To attend LEAF is to step out of your singular life and experience real togetherness."

     - Jason Sandford, Ashvegas 


"My first trip to LEAF was when one of my boys performed with the Schools and Streets program and I haven't missed a LEAF since! LEAF is magical: family, friends, music, & fun all set in the stunning WNC mountains. I love LEAF!"  

- Monica Koerschner, LEAF aficionado 


"I love that LEAF brings so many incredible artists from around the world to Black Mountain. Favorites include Seun Kuti, Zap Mama, March Fourth, Red Baraat, and Rubblebucket. LEAF is also a great place to discover new music".

     - Melissa Reardon, Editor-in-Chief, WNC magazine


"The People, Art, Stories, and the Water are why I go to LEAF! It all inspires me!"

     - Micah Mackenzie, M2 photography


"LEAF is an amazing festival that brings together many styles of music and art, as well as lots of different types of people from all over the world. It is also a mainstay event for folks in the Ashevile-area, many of which grew up attending.  Its a great eclectic mix that many people, including myself, hold dear to their hearts."

     - Erin Scholze, Owner of Dreamspider Publicity

"LEAF for me is homecoming, that twice yearly time when you know you'll be with your family and your friends, even people you may only see at LEAF. We all just create this wonderful world, sharing the work and the fun! All while supporting an amazing non-profit that changes lives, locally and globally!"

     - James Fisher,  Asheville Citizen-Times multimedia advertising manager and LEAF Community Arts Board of Directors President


"My favorite aspect of LEAF is the sense of love and community among festival goers. I always end up running into and catching up with friends that I haven’t seen in awhile and don’t get to spend much time with on a regular basis. I also end up meeting a lot of cool new people. Everyone seems to have an open and adventurous vibe about them which makes it fun to run off to see a band you haven’t heard yet with people you just met."



     - Molly Kummerle, Mason Jar Media , Director of Publicity and Molly Parti / DJ, Producer 



"Why do I love the LEAF Festival? Well, as much as I love the diversity and quality of the music, there is so much more. It's the vibe. It's Lake Eden. It's the camping. It's the healing arts energy. It's the "kid-friendliness". It's the food. It's the locally-crafted fine ale. It's the people. What is there not to love about LEAF?"


     - David Simchock, Photographer, Front Row Focus and LEAFer since October 2011



"LEAF is a time for me to reunite with friends that are family, spend time in the mountains which are home, and vibe to some good music which all fills up my soul."


     - Alex Ettinger, LEAF lover, Bad-ass Dad



"My favorite thing about LEAF is the opportunity it provides for magical moments that aren't planned. The feeling of awe I might get when I'm walking around and look up at the beauty of the Black Mountains. Or the fun of randomly encountering an old friend and catching up around a campfire. There are certainly things I schedule and look forward to each festival, like seeing certain bands, paddling a canoe. But to me LEAF has never been about the music or the activities as much as it's about spending time with friends in an amazing natural setting and being open to unexpected experiences."


     - Jake Frankel, Asheville-based Writer




"Asking a LEAFer to name their favorite part of the fest is like asking a parent to name their favorite child. Twice a year, we reunite with our friends & family in an idyllic mountain setting for a long weekend of camping, camaraderie, & coldbeer [sic], all set to a soundtrack of diverse live music from all over the world - it's all SO SO GOOD."


     - Billy Jack Sinkovic, Live Music Devotee



"LEAF has a way of bringing the most amazing community together to celebrate art, music and cultures from around the world. I've been camping at LEAF for 14 years and have discovered countless musicians & artists and made lasting friendships that I absolutely treasure. There's always something new to discover and something familiar to come back to."


     - Katie Hild, Director of Advertising, WNC magazine, Asheville Grit + Ashvegas



Not able to go to Spring LEAF this year? IamAVL will be live streaming from the main stage all weekend. Check out all the details here

Photo courtesy of David Simchock Photography