The Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is a beautiful upscale community in Western North Carolina.
Highlands and the surrounding communities had experienced the power of successful live events to drive positive economic impact during shoulder seasons with the inception of Highlands Food & Wine. The festival not only resulted in sold-out lodging and record retail sales, but also had garnered millions of dollars in positive PR for the Town of Highlands.
However, as word of mouth and the popularity of Highlands Food & Wine grew, so did the frustration of the fast sell-out and limited tickets the festival could offer to both destination visitors and residents. In addition, there were no large events planned during the Spring season, typically March through Memorial Day.
- To create a multi-day spring sister festival to Highlands Food & Wine, that would provide a destination marketing initiative for Highlands, NC and provide an economic stimulus for Highlands and its stakeholders.
- To create a music-centric weekend that provides both day and nighttime live music experiences with local, regional, and national acts
- To create a socially conscious music festival that has a secondary theme of environmental conservation and sustainability
- Despite the setback of live events due the pandemic, Eleven Events launched Bear Shadow, a weekend-long music festival named after a naturally occurring phenomenon on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau
- Leveraging the loyal nature of Highlands Food & Wine fans, Eleven Events cross-promoted the new festival to Highlands Food & Wine festival goers and sponsors as a new spring experience
- Bear Shadow was the first music festival in the United States to go live in April 2021, with socially distanced “COVES” for fans.
- In addition to the “Base Camp” main music stage location, Eleven Events created special daytime experiences for festival goers in the Town of Highlands, including yoga experiences, musician clinics, and the Summit & Sound hiking event. These ancillary events provided the opportunity to explore and discover Highlands retailers, restaurants, and incredible outdoor options.
In just 2 years, Bear Shadow has established itself as a unique and popular boutique music festival, garnering attention from internationally renowned artists, fans from 32 states, international brands, and media.
Lodging and accommodations sell out months in advance and the festival continues to attract a demographic that are not only music lovers, but also enjoy outdoor exploration and the retail experiences in the Town of Highlands.
With a vibrant artist lineup and commitment to the environment, Bear Shadow also attracts a new demographic that is younger than the typical Highlands visitor. The festival has introduced this beautiful area of the world to a whole new generation. With its secondary theme of environmental conservation, Bear Shadow has been a catalyst for highlighting and raising funds for non-profits such as the Highland-Cashiers Land Trust, Highlands Biological Foundation, and Resource Institute.