The heat of August is coming in and you know you’ll want some shade – some Shadefest that is, coming up August 8-11, 2018 at Pegasus Farm in Elkins, WV! The lineup includes tons of amazing music including TAUK, Consider the Source, The Mantras, The Southern Belles, and many more. A couple of weeks ago we spoke to the venue owners to get an idea of what to expect during our stay. This week we dig a little bit deeper, asking the organizer for insights into his vision for this festival. Read our interview with Gordon Hughes and then lock in your ticket for a fun-filled weekend – tickets can be purchased here.
Who came up with the idea for Shadefest and what inspired the decision to start a festival?
Shadefest really has a classic origin story, as far as independent music festivals go; it was originally a large summer party situated on a farm in Southern Maryland, complete with some casual live music and a wonderful community of friends enjoying a weekend of camping together. After a few years, our tribe began to grow and we eventually gave our summer party a name – Shadefest.
What was the vision for this festival’s overall mission and vibe?
Community, kindness, respect for everyone, and a shared connection through the love of live music all act as the pillars for the Shadefest experience. Ultimately, the goal of Shadefest is to take these core values and continue to embrace them as our festival family expands with each summer season. We actively maintain our grassroots approach to planning the festival, blending the casual atmosphere of a summer party with the professionalism of a fantastic musical lineup. In the end, Shadefest relies on the people involved – from the staff to the attendees – to make it what it is: a collective spirit of wonderful people enjoying some summer jams together.
To that end, we like to think of our attendees as part of the “Shadefest Family.” That’s much more than a tagline–the familial spirit of comradery is what makes this project so enjoyable, and what makes the event itself unique. Everyone truly plays a role in the Shadefest Family, and watching it grow each year is the ultimate reward for the folks who work to put it on.
This year, we decided to take things one step further by partnering with the Richmond SPCA, a no-kill animal shelter. A portion of our ticket sales will be donated to help homeless pets.
Who books the bands on the lineup and how do you choose the bands that you invite to Shadefest?
I personally book the bands, and it’s one of the hardest aspects about planning Shadefest; each year, we get hundreds of submissions from so many amazing artists who are all passionate, talented, and want to be a part of our community. Eventually, I would like to have many events throughout the year in order to include as many of these artists as possible.
I try to mainly book artists that incorporate improvisational music into their live performances, and at times the lineup can be very genre-specific because of this, focusing primarily on Jam and Bluegrass acts. There is an extensive selection process that takes several months, usually starting in October/November. Since a lot of our festival family is located in the Mid-Atlantic, I tend to feature artists that originate from this area (Richmond, DC, Charlottesville, Baltimore), but I also make sure to include a section of our lineup for up-and-coming bands, some of whom will be playing their first ever festival stage at Shadefest – I really like that about our process.
What band are you personally most excited about?
Oh wow, I could talk about this for days. I don’t like to play favorites, but I will certainly say we have some amazing things in store for this year! TAUK is going to be incredible, showcasing their immense talent as well as songs from their newest EP (which is fire). Consider the Source is performing their very rare acoustic hybrid set late on Saturday night, and the Mantras are bringing their impressive Beastie Boys tribute set!
We have the insanely talented Southern Belles, CBDB, and Erin & The Wildfire rounding out the top of the lineup, as well as DC-based funk/fusion masters Of Tomorrow and Charlottesville’s have-a-good-time jam-band Kendall Street Company.
South Hill Banks, out of Richmond VA, will be playing a very special, very secretive “In Space!” set – but you’ll have to come to Shadefest in order to see what all the fuss is about! Additional bluegrass-influenced, Richmond-based artists on the bill are the energetic Jackass Flats and Dalton Dash, who will be closing out Friday night with their stylized blend of about 10 different genres, which flow seamlessly across these amazing musicians’ electric/acoustic shows.
Thursday night is going to be a West Virginia band showcase, featuring my new favorite band ZEN (comprised of the venue owners Mark and Bonnie – love you guys!), festival legends Brokedown Hustlers, and The Greens.
Looking for a dance party? The Folly and Toxic Moxie have you covered, the latter providing their unique flavor of disco punk for your enjoyment.
Some of the finest jam-band improvisation of the weekend will come from Goose, The Clock Reads, Jouwala Collective, Surprise Attack and up-and-coming artist The Mad Children – be sure to not miss them!
Finally, we are going to have some amazing solo acts as well, with Anneliese Grant, Mike Candela, and Karen Krajacic, as well as from our MC’s, Corey Axt and Whiskey ‘Stache! You can view all of our lineup here.
What is something exciting or special about Shadefest this year?
This year we are going to have Shadefest at the renowned Pegasus Farm and Campground, located in Elkins, WV. This venue, owned by (literally the kindest people in the world) Mark and Bonnie, has been the host of myriad events over the past 15+ years including Barefoot X and The Highland Jam. We are so excited to bring the warmth of our Shadefest community to this incredible venue, and to be welcoming Mark, Bonnie, and the local Elkins community into the Shadefest family this year.
How much are tickets? Is camping included in the price? Is there anything else that ticket buyers should know to prepare for this fun-filled weekend?
Tickets are currently $89 for GA Weekend and $159 for VIP Weekend – and camping is absolutely included in the ticket cost. We also have Saturday-only and Friday + Saturday passes on sale now! We do give a $20 camping fee to the venue for each ticket paid, but that is already packaged into the cost of a ticket.
To any prospective ticket buyer, I would say come expecting to make new friends – we really do have one of the friendliest festival communities I’ve ever experienced. I am one of those music festival goers that often enjoys flying solo to events, and seeing where the adventure takes me – I would say Shadefest is absolutely the kind of place that harbors the right environment for that. It’s still small enough that you won’t get lost in the crowd, and by the second day of the fest you’ll be able to recognize so many new friends. Be sure to say hi to our wonderful staff and our MC’s Corey Axt and Whiskey ‘Stache! They are amazing humans.
Aside from that, make sure to bring your favorite festival gear, including sunscreen! Shadefest still has plenty of rays, and I personally am terrible at remembering sunscreen at festivals. Learn from my mistakes. Bring a reusable water bottle, your go-to tapestry, a bathing suit, and your favorite dance moves. Additional item recommendations and information is super easy to find on our website: www.shadefest.com. See you in the Shade!