Thursday, November 08, 2007

LEAF festival is an all-around arts experience

By Dancin' Dave

The last festival trip for "Dancin'Dave'sFestivalCamping" was a dandy! It took in two festivals: the Lake Eden Arts Festival near Asheville NC and the Magnoliafest near Live Oak FL. These are two of the coolest festivals out there, folks, and they proved themselves to be just as hot as always.....

The Leaf is one funky festival, with a wide range of musical genres, along with folk and healing arts, dance and poetry, all in a magical setting. The venue is Camp Rockmont, a boys' camp with excellent facilities, including a sweet little lake that can be used for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and zip-lining. There is also a big slide that comes down off of the mountain into the lake. The zipline and slide were mostly used by kids. The camp is also the site of a trapeze academy, and an exhibit of Art in Motion was also open to festival-goers.

The music at Leaf is mind-blowing. Genres ranged from old-time mountain music to New Orleans blues and jazz to bluegrass, cajun, gypsy jazz, honky-tonk, african, and all the way to Japenese talko drums.

My favorites included Tony Trischka's double banjo bluegrass spectacular, the Wilders, the Pine Leaf Boys (cajun), Liz Carroll & John Doyle, Les Nubians (afropean worldbeat), and Michael Franti.

The Warren Wilson Folk Choir blew me away....what a great bunch of college kids, led by a wonderful choir director (Mitch) who is amazing in his love for the folk music from around the world and the kids that he directs. Their sets were awe-inspiring.

And my big new "find" was the Boulder Acoustic Society! These young fellows simply tear it up...I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing them in the years to come.

Then of course there was the man himself, Doc Watson. This was my first time seeing Doc with David Holt, and the two of them, along with Doc's grandson Richard, put on one sweet set. You could never go wrong listening to Mr. Watson....may he live forever.

And this is the dancin'est festival I've ever been to! There's lots of contra that I'm not really into but there sure are alot of folks who love it; plus there was waltzing, cajun, swing, belly dancing, moroccan sufi dance, and latin and salsa dancin'. At the Main Stage there is a big wooden dance floor that is kept hoppin'....I love it!

I would deem the Leaf to be the most visual festival of any I've attended, as well. I would highly recommend this festival for anyone who enjoys a variety of music, culture, and art. It is a fine overall experience!

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