The theme of the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) is always changing. The festival, which highlights world music traditions in our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, is a four-day celebration from May 12-15. This year’s spring LEAF is all about the Cuban connection. The tagline of the festival is “World Fusion with Cuban Spice,” and it brings together talent from far away and nearer to home. The lineup features artists ranging from Juan De Marcos & the Afro-Cuban All Stars to acts like Shovels and Rope and Lyric.

The multi-day festival is a celebration of music and community, with a heavy dose of art and food thrown in. It’s going to be a gorgeous weekend, and we’re here to give you a chance to be a part of it. We have two Sunday passes for one lucky winner. All you have to do to enter to win is comment on this post on Facebook. 

The weekend’s schedule is amazing, with headliners Juan De Marcos & the Afro-Cuban All Stars playing Saturday evening. Sunday is chock-full of goodness as well, and it highlights LEAF’s commitment to dizzying levels of diversity. Headliners Shovels and Rope play the Lakeside Stage at 4:30, along with Ukranian quartet DakhaBrakha, Americana group Fruition, Colombian folk rockers M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, and Malawian group Masankho Banda. Also on the schedule for the day: honky tonk, gospel blues, a salsa dance party, a banjo workshop, and contra dancing.

Since the US began easing Cuban sanctions under the Obama administration, travel to Cuba and interest in the island nation has grown quickly. Recently, the first US cruise ship made a stop in Havana. Journalist Jon Elliston, who has visited the country several times and is working on a study of the state of Cuban media, sees events like this as “opening one more bridge between the US and Cuba, just like LEAF is doing by bringing Cuban artists here as part of a greater process of our two countries getting along.”

Elliston isn’t the only Ashevillian who’s been to visit our neighbors to the South lately. Local photographer René Treece Roberts (Luxe House Photographic) recently spent a month in Cuba and documented her travels. Check out a few of the photos from her trip featured in the slideshow at the top of this post.

Have you started dreaming about your trip yet? Cuba feels closer every day, but even if you can’t get there, you can still experience the love at this weekend’s LEAF. Help build the bridges by getting to Lake Eden this weekend, and enter our contest to win your Sunday passes!

5 Comments

  1. Would love to go!!!

  2. Leaf me, as well!!

  3. schwarzcat says:

    Would love to take the family out to LEAF on Sunday!!!!!

  4. Schwarzcat says:

    Would love to do Sunday leaf. Just had a baby and couldn’t swing the ticket but I would love to bring him out there Sunday.

  5. Leaf me!

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