IMPORTANT--Announcements like this are never easy so here’s the TL; DR version:
For a variety of reasons (which you can read below), our venue will not be able to host Shadow Woods IV in the manner that you have come to expect from the fest. Fortunately, we have connected with the new owners of our original venue, Camp Hidden Valley (CHV) located at 4722 Mellow Rd., White Hall, MD 21161, and they are willing to have us back. However, the weekend that we need is not available. New dates for the fest will be Thursday, Sept 13 through Saturday, Sept 15, 2018.
I did not arrive at this decision lightly. The date change will impact our lineup. I know that this means some of you will no longer be able to attend. I apologize for this situation, but at this point, we have no choice if the fest is going to happen at all. I know that many of you committed to the fest even before the lineup was announced. We hope that you will stay with us through these changes. However, if you would like to be refunded for your ticket(s) we will issue one with no questions asked. I am working with the bands and the new venue owners and will have more details about lineup revisions and so forth as soon as I can. All current tickets will be honored at the new location and dates. If you want to request a refund or discuss other matters, please email Shadow.Woods.LLC@gmail.com.
Now for the long version: Monday (April 9) I received a message from another music festival promoter who had an event scheduled at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC). They informed me that they had been told that their event would have to be canceled. The reasons seemed to have to do with the venue's liquor licensing. They encouraged me to contact the venue to find out if my fest was impacted. I contacted the person I had been working at HFAC with and she informed me that she would not be handling events anymore and that I needed to speak with the owner.
After several days, I was finally able to speak with the HFAC property owner who said that he still wanted to have Shadow Woods, but that we would not be able to have the entire property to ourselves and that our stages could only be in the parking lot and not on the field because zoning laws prohibit amplified music in that area. In effect, he would be running his outdoor adventure business and brewery as usual with our event plopped down in the middle of it.
The only way we could have all the lodging to ourselves would be for the fest to buy it up and sell it back to attendees, but this would have effectively doubled our rental fee. This proposition seemed untenable, especially given the fact that we could not control access to our event because of where he said the stages had to be located. People coming and going to the brewery and outdoor activities would basically be walking through the fest.
This was NOT the type of experience I wanted to give to my Shadow Woodsians, to the bands performing, or to myself and our volunteers who would have to manage it. It became painfully evident that the fest would not work at HFAC. Had I been able to speak directly with the owner from the very beginning, I would have quickly realized this and not selected this venue.
Those of you who have attended Shadow Woods in the past know that when we have been at Camp Hidden Valley, we have the place to ourselves. Some of you have called the place magical. Maybe it is because it keeps drawing us back. It also turns out that the new owners are Hidden Valley neighbors who had attended the fest last year. I wish I had known this earlier but only learned this fact recently. I will be meeting with the new property owners on April 21 to hammer out a new contract. I will let you all know as soon as possible what, if any, changes there will be to your previous Shadow Woods experiences with their new policies.
If we intend to preserve the spirit of the fest and present it in the manner that it deserves, this was our best option. I have investigated many other venues in the hopes of keeping the dates intact but with no luck. I worked furiously to resolve this in the best way possible and as quickly as possible. If there is any silver lining, it is that we are returning home to a familiar place where the fest was born and to forests and fields that you all love.
(Photo by Ryan Copeland)