LEAF festival, held last weekend at Lake Eden in Black Mountain, started chilly but quickly heated up with music, dance, performance and visual art. On Friday, hip-hop artist Chali 2na took the Lakeside stage with jazz-fusion band Naughty Professor and performed two songs with students from Eliada Homes. Electronic/world music collective Beats Antique headlined to an audience that overflowed the tent and, the same evening, The Campfire Reverands (including former LEAF artistic director Billy Jack Sinkovic on cello and guitar) performed a sweet, intimate set around the theme of love.
Highlights of Saturday included a show by spring LEAF NewSong contest winner Ethan Crump, who played at the Barn with a full band. At the fiddle contest, hosted by Phil Jamison, one competitor performed a version of The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.” Meanwhile, the Tibetan Buddhist Monks could be seen riding throughout the festival grounds on a modified shuttle complete with rooftop seating and a dance pole affixed to its hood (see slideshow photo). Singer-songwriter Indigo de Souza brought a full band to the stage, drenching LEAF in reverb and indie-rock ambiance, and kids jousted with padded lances while a spontaneous drum circle at the lake’s edge celebrated the setting of the sun. Reggae band Third World played a headlining set that evening — watch for a Q+A with the group to post later this week.
Sunday, the warmest day of LEAF, got started with kettle crossfit and kirtan. In the Barn, New Orleans-based jazz and swing group The Roamin’ Jasmine played sultry songs for the dancers. On the Lakeside Stage, funk outfit Here Come the Mummies cut loose in full-mummy attire and, in Eden Hall, Arouna Diarra and The Aza Band performed gorgeous West African and roots-inspired compositions — watch for a Q+A with the group to post later this week. The festival wrapped with sets by Leah Song of Rising Appalachia and swing collective Squirrel Nut Zippers. — Alli Marshall