An Insider’s Guide to Bear Shadow

The Bear Shadow annual music festival and celebration in stunning Higlands Plateau, North Carolina. 

Have you been thinking it’s time to get the gang back together? Then a weekend spent in the mountains celebrating nature, music, and friendship is the best way to do it! Whether you grab your bestie or the whole crew, a trek to The Highlands Plateau, North Carolina, for Bear Shadow, an annual springtime music festival and celebration, may be just what the doctor ordered. It’s time to shake off the vestiges of winter and reconnect to the most important things in life. The festival takes place Friday, April 28 to Sunday, April 30, with headliners including Spoon, The Head And The Heart, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit—and tickets are going fast. Snag them while you can and read on to discover how to make the most out of the weekend. 


After a hike to the Plateau, patrons enjoy music in the wild at Summit & Sound. 

Begin your weekend by checking into Skyline Lodge, Old Edwards Inn, or your bespoke vacation rental from Highlands Vacation Rentals. Squeeze in a little shopping when you swing by Highland Hiker for a quick shoe check—Basecamp at Winfield Farm is a cut pasture, so keep that in mind. Once you’re laced up, grab your Summit & Sound tickets and hike (read: walk) to a beautiful vista on the Plateau where you’ll enjoy songs and serenades by a Bear Shadow musician with a full bar, local sundries, and a swanky gift bag. Finally, as night falls, head to base camp, a.k.a. Winfield Farm, to groove to fan favorites from Lissie, Fruitbats, and Spoon. Enjoy complimentary beverages of all sorts as well as shuttles to and from downtown Highlands to stay safe and have a good time.


Participants rise and shine for a morning flow at Bearfoot in the Park. 

Start the day with Bearfoot in the Park (get your free tickets here), an invigorating outdoor one-hour yoga flow session in the fresh mountain air, with renowned lifestyle and fitness expert Sarah Frick of The Works CHS. You’re on vacation, so go ahead and grab a bloody post-sweat sesh from Highlander Mountain House and then saunter down to The Bridge at Mill Creek for a delicious lunch in a unique setting. Once you’ve fueled up, make the most of your weekend with a 75 minute hike on Whiteside Mountain where the Shadow of the Bear comes out of hibernation. Before heading back to your hotel, hit up The Highlands Hatter for a souvenir and perfect topper for your evening outfit. Then make your way via a courtesy shuttle to Winfield Farm for an evening with Myron Elkins, Neal Francis, and The Head And The Heart.

The main state at Bear Shadow. Where the magic happens: revelers enjoy an evening show at Bear Shadow. 


Festival-goers gather at base camp at Winfield Farm. 

Coffee and pastries at the Blue Bike Café is the only way to start a Sunday in Highlands. If you’ve got your act together after checking out of your pad, a quick drive on the way to Basecamp at Winfield Farm sends you by Dry Falls, an iconic waterfall and Instagram-worthy photo op that’s not to be missed. The festival wraps up with an afternoon lineup that includes Woody Platt & Shannon Whitworth, Amethyst Kiah, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will have you ending your Bear Shadow weekend on a high note, ready to put next year’s festival on the calendar. 

Ready to book your weekend? Buy your tickets now!

Photography courtesy of Bear Shadow. This article was produced in partnership with Bear Shadow and The Scout Guide Asheville