Another Asheville festival goes down: LAAFF organizers cancel September event, promise 2014 return


The organizers of Asheville’s independent September street party, the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, announced Wednesday evening that they’re canceling this year’s party, but promised to return next year. Click over to to read their official statement.

The Asheville Citizen-TimesCarol Motsinger reports:

The 2012 festival featured 120 local vendors and drew an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 visitors. That same year, the festival producers expanded LAAFF’s footprint, adding an evening pub crawl before the party.

But the changes did not generate the income needed to cover a new expense — paying the 68 bands that performed. Organizers announced they would need to raise $10,000 to $15,000 to keep the event alive.

The cancellation comes a day before LAAFF was slated to host its battle of the bands at the Emerald Lounge in downtown Asheville.

So funding was an issue. Also, LAAFF was starting to summer from the same growth syndrome that affected Bele Chere, the city’s biggest street party set for this weekend. This is the last Bele Chere that city taxpayers will foot the bill for, and nobody has stepped forward to take it over. But Bele Chere grew too big, and too out of character, for Asheville. That was starting to happen with LAAFF. The event was created in true Asheville style by a couple of key organizers, including Kitty Love, pictured above on the right. She and her partner recognized way back in 2000 that the city didn’t really have a downtown festival that captured the character of much of its eclectic parts, so they put on their own party.

Here’s hoping they can retool for 2014.


Asheville street photography ... Bele Chere Festival 2013 - Kate Suzanne Photography » Kate Suzanne Photography August 4, 2013 - 9:30 pm

[…] be the last year of Bele Chere unless a private sponsor takes over. The independent news blog described it best when they said, “Bele Chere grew too big, and too out of character, for […]

JBo July 25, 2013 - 11:49 am

If only there were a way to take the good parts of Bele Chere (long-standing history, local music options, and sustainable infrastructure) & the good parts of LAAFF (controlled permits – i.e. no street preachin, truly local vibe, and overall more fun scene) and merge them into one awesome street festival.

A person can dream…

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