Bear Shadow festival helps bring live music back to the mountains

Since the pandemic began over a year ago, there has not been a large-scale music festival like that of Bear Shadow held last weekend at Winfield Farm in Scaly Mountain N.C.

Pictured below is an aerial glimpse of Bear Shadow music festival at Winfield Farm.

The event was put on by the nonprofit Highlands Festivals Inc., and HFI Board Chair David Bock said it was a great weekend with approx. 600 attendees on Friday night, and 800 on Sunday.

“Our goal at HFI is to bring visitors to Highlands in the shoulder seasons to support the town and local businesses,” said Bock. “As I talk with local business owners, they tell me this past weekend was a real success for them too.”

St. Paul & the Broken Bones performs on April 25 at Bear Shadow music festival.

Bear Shadow was initially planned as a three-day event, but Saturday’s festivities were cancelled due rain and lightning in the forecast.

Bock added that HFI will meet in a few weeks to review the show and talk about future shows, and also start the serious planning for the Highlands Food and Wine Festival in November.

Winfield Farm in Scaly Mountain, N.C. made for an awesome venue for Bear Shadow.

Band line-up as follows:

Friday – Robert Ellis, Shelly Colvin, and Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors

Saturday (CANCELLED) – Thad Cockrell, Jamestown Revival, and Mandolin Orange

Sunday – Devon Gillfinian, The War & Treay, and St. Paul & the Broken Bones

Shelly Colvin performs on April 23 at Bear Shadow music festival.

Shelly Colvin performed on Friday and said it felt amazing to get up on stage and play music for a crowd of people again.

“It’s surreal, I got emotional on stage because the people were so receptive and excited to hear music again,” said Colvin. “Having that connection with the crowd at this epic venue was an incredible experience, it was amazing and I’m so grateful.”

Devon Gilfinnian tears it up at Bear Shadow 2021 on April 25.

Devon Gillfinian performed on Sunday and said getting back up on stage in front of such an appreciative crowd was a great feeling.

“The crowd showed so much love and appreciation for the music, they were hungry for it,” said Gilfinnian. “The main takeaway is come together, love each other, have a good time; and that’s what we did. Forget about politics and all that. We’re all humans, we’re all the same, let’s have some fun.”

On stage with Gilfinnian was Keyboardist Ryan Connors who said it’s all about bringing people together.

“That human connection, that’s what we were missing throughout this pandemic, it’s polarizing,” said Connors. “But music helps bring us together, realize were on the same page and reminds us we’re more similar than we thought.”

Music lovers cut loose at Bear Shadow 2021.

Jason Dauble of Cashiers had friends visiting from Atlanta and attended Friday’s show. He said he loved all three acts, Winfield Farm was an amazing venue for live music, and his friends have already said they will be back next year.

“For the first event of its kind and having moved venues twice, I thought the staff pulled off a flawless event,” said Dauble.

From left are Tanner Csonka, Matt Demond, and Arielle McIntyre kicking back having a blast at Bear Shadow.

Arielle McIntyre, also from Cashiers, described Winfield Farm as “magical” decorated with floodlights throughout the property highlighting rows of maple trees.

“I thought the performers were really incredible,” said McIntyre. “People were really excited to be out seeing some live music and seeing their neighbors for the first time in a while, I know I was!”

The illumination throughout Winfield Farm set a “magical” vibe for concert goers at Bear Shadow.

The War & Treaty performs on Sunday at Bear Shadow.

Drew Holcomb performs at Bear Shadow on Friday evening.

Bassist for Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors performs on stage.

Drummer for The War & Treaty definitely feeling the beat at Bear Shadow. Editor’s Note: And his hat is pretty awesome.

Concert-goers could take a break from the crowd at Bear Shadow and take a stroll down by the pond.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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Faces in the crowd:

Winfield Farm:


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