Written by Elise Olmstead

Shadefest is a homegrown music festival in its fourth year, and has found a new home in the beautiful Pegasus Farm in the Allegheny Mountains.  While it may be a new home to Shadefest, Pegasus Farm has been home to Highland Jam festival for many years and has also hosted Camp Barefoot and other festivals. The Shadefest family is growing and the festival has outgrown its original venue in Maryland, so we are very excited to continue the gathering at this new venue in Elkins, WV.

The best camping spots are chosen on Thursday so secure your three-day weekend pass here.  At this ticket link you will also find info an VIP camping and RV VIP options.  VIP Camping is closer to the stage and amenities.  We spoke to owner Mark Brancioli about the origin of Pegasus Farm and what we can expect at this venue.


What is the origin of the name “Pegasus Farm”?

Bonnie had horses her entire life and when we bought the farm we were looking for a place with a nice barn, a couple creeks for water and lots of room for our horses. I am a multi-engine commercial pilot and a flight instructor and we had a beautiful twin engine airplane, so we also needed a place within 5 to 10 miles from Elkins airport. Thus, the combination of horses and flying naturally alluded to a flying horse: “Pegasus” from Greek mythology.

Bonnie Branciaroli

How did you find the farm?

We had been looking for the perfect place for years and had renovated a large house in the town of Elkins and had sold it for the down payment of a farm. One calm, sunny, early spring day we decided to walk the railroad tracks from Elkins. We walked for miles and miles and came upon an old 1892 railroad bridge spanning Chenoweth Creek. The bridge was a perfect observation post and we could see the airport, the creek, the beautiful old barn made from wormy chestnut and the sereneß site of slow moving cows quietly munching on emerald green grass. The view and the farm took our breath away and we said to each other “That’s the perfect place.” Our reverie vanished quickly when reality set in. The farm didn’t look like it was for sale. Obviously someone was working the place and even if it was for sale, this property is too valuable to go to outsiders when a neighboring farmer or a relative would typically buy the farm.

Meanwhile, we contacted every real estate agency in Elkins and gave the short list of criteria. Near the airport, good barn, good water, nice acreage, out of the flood plain, and on a dead end road. Every agency said it was impossible to find a place like that and everyone wants a place like that.

Months went by and we received a surprise Sunday morning phone call from one of the realtors who said that someone had just put a farm up for sale that morning and described it. We had to move as quickly as possible and actually paid the Earnest money sight – unseen. We bought the farm without even looking at it. What can I say in defense? It was 1991, and well, we were young!

We went to the farm to sign the papers and meet the owners. Apparently the farmer’s sons wanted nothing to do with cattle farming and his wife had put a white shag carpet in the living room, covering up beautiful hardwood floors, and the farmer just had enough! He called the first realtor he could find in the phone book and the realtor called us.

He asked if we wanted to see the property and we squeezed into his pick up truck and headed down the road. It was only then that we saw the railroad bridge and saw that it was the land we had seen from the bridge!


Why is the Pegasus Farm perfect for festivals?

We knew the farm was perfect for festivals but had no idea how perfect until we held a few festivals.

Seventeen years ago we built two large covered stages and held our first festival. We held the High Land Jam for 15 years, retired from that in 2016 and realized that other producers needed the perfect festival place. Three years ago, when “Camp Barefoot” leased the farm and brought in nearly thousands of attendees, vendors and musicians, we networked the idea that other producers could lease the farm. This led to several more successful festivals. Now we have three more festivals this summer and they all say the same thing: “It is very difficult to find a place for festivals.”

The Pegasus Farm is the perfect festival grounds for the following reasons:

  • It is flat land in West Virginia and has room for thousands of tent campers and parking.
  • Two covered stages – both wired for 220.
  • 17 RV sites with water, sewage, and 20, 30 and 50amp electric pedestals. For VIP areas.
  • Designated tent areas for VIP tenters, an apple orchard near the music area that usually houses family camping or volunteer campers.
    • A large hospitality barn for musicians to network with VIP attendees.
  • A very clean, and large shower house facility.
  • A dead end road and a single entrance to control traffic and ticket sales.
  • No noise ordinances. No problems with neighbor noise complaints.
  • A history of good community relations and no negative incidents.
  • WiFi, shelter and water at the front gate.
  • WiFi for festival goers at the campground.
  • Hi speed WiFi for ATM and production crew.
  • Protected with a chain link fence with barb wire surrounding the airport side of property.
  • The creek runs under the airport in a tunnel with metal grates blocking access from someone walking down the creek.
  • A neighbor to the west that farms 6,000 acres of corn, protecting the place from access.
  • Extremely affordable event insurance due to our location.
  • Soil is sandy, Monongahela silt loam that is very forgiving if it rains.
  • Easy access to waste disposal, tent rentals, gas stations, health care, Wal-Mart and more. Downtown Elkins is only four miles away, but the property is so isolated you can see every star on a clear night.