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Drums, dance and art in the North Carolina mountains

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By Wayne Lazarus on October 8th, 2009

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

Remember those carefree days of summer camp – swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, maybe even a zipline through the woods? You can revive those days with a three-day weekend in a beautiful mountain setting, along with all-day live music, yoga and healing arts classes, even a poetry slam near an outdoor fire at the Lake Eden Arts Festival. Add to that a stay in one of Ahseville, North Carolina’s motels through and you have the perfect family camp with grown-up amenities.

Lake am Kayaks

The Lake Eden Arts Festival is held on the wooded camps

of the former Black Mountain College, with its lakes, streams and rolling hills. Started in 1995 as an arts celebration, LEAF has reached out to schools and the world through art, music and culture.  As part of the musical performances scheduled from 9 am until around 1 am, you will hear rock, hip-hop, bluegrass, New Orleans jazz and blues, plus possibly Zulu drumming, songs by a Rwandan orphan chorus, Mexican folk music, Brazilian forro.


Unlike typical music festivals where people eat and sit in lawn chairs enjoying the music, this is a participatory festival, and it is family-oriented. Drop your kids off at one of the many children’s activities, then head over to a dance group – salsa, belly dancing, contra, Zydeco, even waltz. Or participate in a drum circle around a fire under the moon.  Maybe try a little Tai Chi, take a culinary arts class, attend a lecture on solar power or just browse the many folk art and handicrafts booths. The campus dining hall has food and other vendors are set up with a variety of both international and home-style dishes.

The festival is held twice a year, in early May and mid-October. Day tickets run from $29 to$48 and they are limited. (Photos courtesy of LEAF, used with permission.)

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