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New River Gorge Festival at ACE this May


New River Gorge Festival

The inaugural New River Festival is happening May 14 – 16, 2021 at ACE Adventure Resort in West Virginia. Let’s celebrate America’s newest national park where we all love to paddle, hike, bike, and explore. This weekend is jam-packed with fun things to do including catching an outdoor film festival, shopping the vendor midway, dancing to your favorite music, and oh yeah, going on river trips! Meet friends new and old in the New River Gorge this spring and experience a weekend full of camping, vendors, live music, and outdoor adventures!

Concho Overlook

Adventure is Calling

Ready to hit the river and get in a fantastic weekend of paddling? The New River Gorge is right in our backyard offering exciting class IV paddling. We will be offering shuttles throughout the weekend and it will be super easy to load up right from your campsite, ride the shuttle to the put-in, and get picked up at the takeout. Purchase shuttle tokens for only $10 per lap down the New River Gorge. See the full weekend shuttle schedule on the event website.

Not up for kayaking the gorge? No worries, you can hit the Upper New, which is a much easier section than the gorge featuring wonderful class III rapids. Not to mention the plethora of other runs in the area like the Gauley, Meadow, Cherry, Cranberry, and the New River Dries. There is a ton of whitewater all within an hour’s drive and with it being springtime there is a great chance to see runnable flows on lots of these classic runs. Plus, ACE Adventure Resort will be offering raft trips all weekend alongside other exciting adventure activities including rock climbing, stand-up paddleboarding, zip lines, mountain biking & more.

World Paddling Film Festival

Friday night we are partnering up with The New River Conservancy to present the World Paddling Film Festival. Since 2006, the Paddling Film Festival World Tour has been showcasing the very best paddling films. The World Tour screens in more than 135 cities around the world each year and will be stopping at the New River Gorge Festival in 2021. Kick back relax and enjoy a mix of short outdoor films under our Waterpark Pavilion during the festival. Admission will be included with your festival pass or you can purchase an individual film fest ticket at the door.

Live Music

We will be jamming all weekend at The Lost Paddle, the onsite bar/restaurant at ACE Adventure Resort. Friday night Travers Brothership presents their soulful rock n’ roll spun in psychedelic jams. Saturday night three bands will be lighting up the Lost Paddle deck with Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band bringing the energy! Local favorite The Wild Rumpus will be stoking the fire alongside BlacKingCoal’s bluesy rock & roll. All concerts are included with weekend festival passes or just come out to the show for only $5 at the door.

River Cleanup

Wrap up your festy weekend by lending a hand and giving back to the watershed. The New River Conservancy will be leading a river cleanup on Sunday. River Cleanups are crucial to protecting the waters, woodlands, and wildlife of the New River Watershed. Pollution in the New can harm physical habitat, transport chemical pollutants, threaten aquatic life, and interfere with human uses of the river. Join their Team Clean Stream and tag along as we work to clean up trash from a section of the New River. Water levels permitting we will paddle a class III section while doing our cleanup. It’s free to sign up but space is limited so register now when you purchase your weekend festival pass.

Get Your Weekend Pass

We are looking forward to an exciting first event and hope to grow the New River Festival into one of the premier paddling festivals within our industry. Come out to the party in 2021 so you can say you were at the first New River Festival. Weekend passes are on sale now for only $40 which includes two nights camping, vendors, a film festival & live music throughout the weekend. Grab your paddling buddies and make plans to be in West Virginia with the rest of the whitewater world May 14th – 16th. See you on the river!

BY Chris Colin

Chris Colin is a raft guide, whitewater kayaker, active caver, and as Special Events Coordinator at ACE he manages, promotes, and executes special events like the Mountain Music Festival.