LAAFF Manifesto 2013

In 2013, interested folks including past LAAFF staff and affiliated groups came together to attempt to make the festival happen. The event didn’t take place, but the following document was created that is still of interest, as it does in many ways describe the philosophy of the event and what its role is in supporting aspects of the community’s identity and helps explain its attachment to the festival. Moving forward, this document becomes an interesting part of the history of the event and its creators.
LAAFF Manifesto 2.0 Mission: Love Asheville Arts and Fun Fest 2.0 (LAAFF 2.0) is a rejuvenation of the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Fest (LAAFF), a concept that started both as an intention to celebrate “the culture and the renaissance of Lexington Avenue” and to create a locally-focused, arts inspired and encouraging community event to be shared by participants from all over the Asheville area.  LAAFF 2.0 creates a participatory, innovative, art-focused, street festival that builds our local community through fostering:
  • a reconceptualization of art as inherent to humanity’s ultimate evolution and wellness
  • connection amongst community members
  • creativity and joyous experiences
  • the transformation of social and economic ideologies towards equality
  • interactive, enjoyable education
  • promotion of personal, social, and environmental health and well-being
The Event
LAAFF2.0 exists as a once yearly festival that endeavors to offer and promote an immersive arts and alternative economic experience in which participants engage and grow in a setting with mixed media and wide range art installations and performances, artisan crafted goods, foods, and beverages, and interactive education on concepts that benefit local and global health, justice, freedom,peace, and environmental stewardship.
Founding organizers of LAAFF define the community LAAFF serves as Western North Carolina.Priority is given to the counties immediately surrounding Buncombe, and increasingly to Buncombe County, Asheville City, and Downtown. All relationships entered into in the course of creating and managing the festival are assessed in the above fashion, and should continue to be assessed in such away as the festival grows. In the case goods and services that are not available locally, exceptions can be made, but should be kept to a bare minimum. A local source for goods and services should not be overlooked in favor of a cheaper non-local source; unless the price difference is of considerable consequence to the health of the festival. In such cases, visualpresence of non-local entities should be kept to a minimum level of visibility.It is the goal of LAAFF to support and promote local creative entrepreneurs,and opportunities for their success and education should remain a goal.
Attention should be given in the quality activities and products sold. Products and services should be included are: hand-made, owner-operated, recycled and energy efficient, socially just, inclusive of all audiences, educational and aesthetically inspiring activities and products. Any product or service that cannot be described as all of the above should not be included. Management should seek opportunities to include highly creative and innovative individuals, products and/or services, even if it costs the festival money,except to the point of detriment to the health of the festival, when inclusion adds greatly to visitor enjoyment, education, and creative inspiration to the event.
The visual appearance of the festival should convey a high quality, but hand-madestyle. Booths, banners, and activities that are overly commercial in their appearance should be avoided. “Overly commercial” is defined for this document as products or services whose visible intention of profit over substance is obvious (i.e. a loveless vibe). Meat should be included tastefully. Food and drink should be consciously served and locally-crafted, andstate-fair style commercial junk food should be avoided. Effort should be maintained for current greening standards, including the use of composting utensils and dishes, and recycling.
LAAFF2.0 reintegrates a healthy and respectful indigenous connection to the Earth,an entity of inherent worth and value and as our home supporting humanity through atmosphere and air, soils and lands, waterways, seasons, diverse animal and plant inhabitants, inspirational beauty, and conscious essence. As such, all LAAFF 2.0 programs, partnerships and affiliations, event features, education,and practices shall be executed in a manner that strives to honor, protect,conserve, reuse, value, support, and aid Earth and its sacred constituents to the greatest degree possible.
Guiding Values
The planners, organizers, and participants of LAAFF 2.0 operate from an expansive set of core values in order that LAAFF 2.0 will manifest the most beneficial possible outcomes for the greater Asheville community. Following are a list of values, contributed from many sources, that help us guide our decisions.
  • Is a fully inclusive community that embraces diversity of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, appearance, family structure and composition, social strata, and political participation and affiliation. Cooperation, participation, and inspiration amongst the greatest possible cross-section of Asheville community is sought.
  • Celebrates and seeks to inspire creativity and art in all forms and protects freedom of expression.
  • Values education, experience, and learning and role models its values through all manifestations of the event.
  • Honors love in all forms and spiritual, paradoxical, transformative, “magical,” meaning-making experiences for all.
  • Supports and desires planetary peace and justice, plus vigorous and thriving physical and emotional health and well-being for humans, animals, plants, and all aspects of our bio-region, endeavors to create, strengthen, and protect systems of support for its inhabitants, and seeks to minimize harm in all functions.
  • Models a sustainable financial foundation, including concepts of creative entrepreneurship, decommodification, gifting, sharing, and sacred economics as new ways to create true prosperity and end poverty.
  • Is solution oriented and engages in a philosophy of positive revolution and active creation of alternative cultural, social, personal, political, economic, and consciousness systems that shall support its stated values.
LAAFF2.0 celebrates the Ten Principles that are the guiding concepts of Burning Man,which, as applied to LAAFF 2.0, are:
Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of LAAFF 2.0. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
LAAFF2.0 is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional.  Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience. At LAAFF2.0 this principle will be embodied through areas of the event that are committed to decommodification, while also including thoughtful, ecological,creative, and non-exploitative arts and food vending that serve to benefit LAAFF 2.0 participants in myriad ways.
Radical Self-reliance
LAAFF2.0 encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
Radical Self-expression
Radicalself-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce,promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society,and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
(Adapted from:, Larry Harvey, 2004)
Additionally, LAAFF 2.0 endeavors to foster “Creative Placemaking” for the greater Asheville community, as espoused through the National Endowment of the Arts definition,as follows:
“In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, non-profit, andcommunity sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of aneighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities.Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structuresand streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, andbrings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.”
(From:, by Anne Markusen andAnn Gadwa)
LAAFF is a vehicle for providing connections to our inherent creativity, charging humanity with Love as a motivator for positive changes in both small and large ways.
LAAFF models the ability to think differently, creating bridges between cultures, ideologies and beliefs.
LAAFF co-creates a safe and creative place, encouraging and celebrating wholeness in a participatory fashion.
LAAFF maintains a positive outreach, uniting and strengthening the whole community through creative place-making and active service.
LAAFF models a sustainable financial foundation, including the concepts of gifting and sacred economics as a new way to create true prosperity for the whole economy.
LAAFF maintains a respectful stance on protecting the founding principles of an alternative society, while maintaining its presence in the current social structure in beneficial and constructive avenues for its sustainable model to continue growing and evolving, adapting to the changing needs of its community.