LEAF Festival returns to Black Mountain with COVID protocols


LEAF Global Arts presents the LEAF Festival from October 14 through October 17 at Lake Eden in Black Mountain.

Otto Vazquez, the artist curator of LEAF, conceives the theme, organizes the musicians and develops the program of the festival.

“My main theme is called Global Citizen,” Vazquez said. “We have so many eclectic and diverse influences, so many countries represented.”

LEAF promotes music, dance and culture at the festival. Having presented 56 festivals and retreats over the past 25 years, LEAF has brought together 16,043 artists representing 101 countries.

LEAF Global Arts presents the LEAF Festival at Eden Lake from October 14th.

Vazquez said the long list of artists from a multitude of different countries provided the theme for Global Citizen. This year, for the first time, the festival will also present Urban Combat Wrestling, an exhibition combining professional wrestling and hip hop performance.

“We have everything from Latin music and Americana to bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, blues, funk and everything under the sun,” Vazquez said.

The festival’s many different influences encourage diversity through a celebration of the cultures of local groups, from Africa, to the Middle East and more.

LEAF Global Arts presents the LEAF Festival at Eden Lake from October 14th.

The festival’s location in the large space by Lake Eden allows the organization to encourage festival-goers to adhere to pandemic safety guidelines. LEAF expects the festival to operate at 60% capacity with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for anyone aged 5 and over.

Indoors, interacting with vendors or aboard shuttles, LEAF requires festival-goers to wear masks. According to the organization, protocols are subject to change if the county changes COVID-19-related mandates.

“It won’t be as big a footprint as we normally would have before COVID,” Vazquez said. “We are really trying to keep everyone safe.”

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