The weekend of October 19 the Lake Eden Arts Festival, known as LEAF, will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The festival, which is held twice a year (May and October) in the western North Carolina community near Asheville, benefits children of this country by funding performing arts programs in schools and children around the world by working to preserve and teach native art and dance customs.
One such global project benefited by LEAF is a group for orphaned children in Rowanda. LEAF has provided those affected by genocide with music mentors who have taught the countries native music and dance, as well as providing instruments and costumes. The program has been so successful, LEAF will be assisting to bring a select group, Mizero Children of Rwanda, to the U.S. for a fundraising tour. Highlights of the tour will include performances at the Montreal Millennium Summit November 7 – 9 and U.N. Day in New York on December 19. Mizero Children of Rwanda is led, and was founded by Jean Paul Samputu, an internationally known musician and Kora Award winner. The organization's goals are to increase self-confidence, life skills, and creative expression through music and art.
Jennifer Pickering is the community activist behind LEAF, the world/roots festival with the purpose of enriching lives with fine arts and music, but the North Carolina festival is about more than the music. This year it will include 40 healing arts workshops, nightly salsa dancing, poetry, camping, swimming, canoing, a zip line, a performance tent for the kids, and that just scratches the surface of what will be available to participants.
Leaf will be held October 19-21 at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, North Carolina (near Asheville). Day tickets are available for prices ranging from $20-$40 each, and weekend passes in the $98 – $149 range. There are special community and youth passes that do not include camping and children under 10 are free. Visit the festival website for ticketing information and purchase. The list of musical performers include Michael Franti, Les Nubians, Doc Watson with Richard Watson, David Holt as Hills of Home, and Fishbone, just to name a few. A full list of performers can be found The LEAF website.