Why Bear Shadow Music Festival is everything you have been missing

Why Bear Shadow Music Festival is everything you have been missing
Well, live music, but there’s more than that.
Words by Louisa Martin


Those who brought foodies and friends the highly attended Highlands Food & Wine Festival are giving the people more of what they love. This Spring a sister festival, the Bear Shadow Music Festival, will be added to the Highlands lineup.

Those familiar with Highlands, North Carolina know it as a hidden gem mountain resort town. The city is known for its fine dining and elevated experiences nestled in the scenic Nantahala forest and hills. While its popularity usually comes in the summer as visitors flock to escape the heat, Bear Shadow will be happening from April 23-25th. When talking to festival director Casey Reid, she describes the festival’s location as the ideal unexpected treat for a music lover. There is an obvious appeal in the line up - artists Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and Jamestown Revival, just to name a few. But the real secret is the beauty that Highlands has to offer. Casey anticipates an impressive music line up to bring new visitors that will turn into Highlands regulars. 

Base Camp, located at scenic Windfield Farm, will host three evenings loaded with music. Among the fifty acres the farm has to offer, it provides the ideal landscape for a show amongst the trees. Casey shared that no aspect of the live production will be less than because of covid-guidelines, meaning lights, full bands and other exciting elements. The most valuable of all of these elements will be live music, something we have all come to crave in the midst of a pandemic. These concerts are possible because of coves, or sectioned off areas for four, six or eight listeners to enjoy the show with a safe distance from others coves.

The music does not end at base camp, however. Chuck Leavell, keyboard player who has worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones and John Mayer, is providing fans with an evening of entertainment benefitting the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. Here, ticket-holders will experience his talent, a documentary viewing, food and more. Casey was sure to mention Chuck’s charm and humility as qualities alone she is looking forward to experiencing.

For festival-goers who like to earn the things, there are two “Hike & Mic” events throughout the course of the festival. Here, audience members will hike to the top of Satulah mountain to then enjoy a live acoustic performance from a 360 degree view. Here is a harmonious image of the festival, the magical pairing of music and the outdoors.

There are many more surprises in store for those attending Bear Shadow. While the lure of live music could be enough to bring you and yours to Highlands in the Spring, the added nuances of this festival pair the outward scenery with the music that still lives inside each of us.

To experience the festival’s inaugural year visit bearshadownc.com.