Created during the pandemic, Bear Shadow Festival has cemented itself as a staple of North Carolina’s music scene, and it’s not even on its third iteration yet. Initially formed as a sister event to the Highlands Food & Wine Festival, this three-day festival brings guests to the Highlands Plateau, commonly hailed as a mountain resort town, for bluegrass, folk, and rock tunes to celebrate warm days ahead. Bear Shadow’s 2023 lineup includes Spoon, The Head and the Heart, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Myron Elkins, and Fruit Bats.
Bear Shadow is as much a celebration of the local area as it is music. Throughout the weekend, attendees can expect plenty of opportunities to venture into the mountains, from fly fishing to outdoor exercise classes to afternoon hikes ending in live outdoor performances — so bring sneakers that you aren’t afraid to get dirty. Bear Shadow is also a registered nonprofit and is dedicated to helping preserve the surrounding wildlife. In the 2 years since its inception, the festival has donated $20,000 to local organizations to maintain the beauty and safety of Highlands Plateau.
Outside of the festival, attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the town’s various offerings, from fine dining to local retailers. Between the mountains and the music, Bear Shadow Festival may just, as Good Grit puts it, “everything you’ve been missing.”
- The venue, Winfield Farm, can accommodate approximately 1,000 people a day.
- Both single-day and 3-day passes are available for purchase.
- Single-day general admission tickets cost $150, while 3-day general admission tickets cost $325.
- VIP admission is also offered, which provides access to an exclusive bar, complimentary shuttles, VIP restrooms, priority entrance, and up-close viewing areas.
- Additional nature events are available for purchase, costing anywhere from nothing to $500 — check them out here.
A mountain festival? What should I wear? Leave the rave gear at home for this one. Bear Shadow is happening rain or shine and includes a decent amount of physical activity, so dress casually.
Are kids allowed? Yes — in fact, kids 10 and under receive free entry. However, use your personal discretion when bringing young children to a music festival.
How do I get to the festival grounds? On-site parking is available, but limited. Your best bet is taking one of the free shuttles running between the festival and downtown Highlands Plateau.
What can I bring, and what should I leave behind? Bring: ID, water bottles, chairs, your ticket, and appropriate clothing. Leave: cigarettes, pets, outside food or drinks, and bad vibes.