Why My First Leaf Festival Won't be My Last

This international festival is seamless and accommodating to every festival-goer. Upon arrival, your car is parked at an off-campsite location. From shuttles-stops at each lot, attendees are shuttled into the campground. The campsites are spread out and there’s plenty of different options. Attendees can also rent cabins.

The layout of the property is phenomenal. Resting on a spacious campsite, including two lakes and several small valleys, you feel truly like you’re in God’s country. During the day, festie-goers can lay beach-side or take a canoe paddling. Maps are given to every attendee.

At the Lake Eden grounds, there are six stages with continuous music throughout all four days of the festival. The talent was nothing short of world class. Local favorites including the Jon Strictly Trio, packed out the stages and attendance surpassed fire regulations. M.A.K.U Sound System performed with LSS Youth Performers for an exhilarating Colombian-Rock fusion set.

Given the current tone of the social issues North Carolina has been debating about, there have been comments made industry-wide of performers boycotting North Carolina. Luckily, this wasn’t the case for LEAF Festival. However, the colorful, MarchFourth Band, had a special show Saturday night, in which all of the band members cross-dressed in a display of solidarity. On Sunday Viva La Hop, of Boston, had the barn lit with their organic hip-hop.

This festival is an all-in-one experience. Attendees can enjoy a pleasant, family environment during the day, where children perform, food is in the air, and acro-yoga in the field. You may even make it to the Chilean Drum Workshop if you sprint fast enough across the land. At night, you will find pockets of jams amongst the campsites, and at the top of the hill, in a cut, you will come across the after-hours (18+) drum circle that goes until the sun comes back up. Altogether, this is a sophisticated, established festival that brings immensely talented musicians to Appalachia and has something for everyone. 

Photos by Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

Grace has always been close to music. In her earliest years her mother took her on tour following the Grateful Dead. At 19 she was an organizer for an electronic music festival (Inca Tek) in Cusco, Peru. In 2015 Grace interned at SF Music Tech Summit in San Francisco. Since she’s remained an active member of the music event community wherever she is. Lately she’s been managing a small business based in Atlanta, Ga. 

Follow her on the gram @gracerosekelly