First Flush Festival not returning for 10th year at Charleston Tea Plantation

The Charleston Tea Plantation will no longer host the First Flush Festival.

Just a month shy of what would have been its 10th anniversary, First Flush Festival announced it won’t be returning to the Charleston Tea Plantation in Wadmalaw.

Bill Hall, co-owner of the plantation, said he cancelled the event this year after receiving noise and traffic complaints from the nearby town of Rockville and its mayor, Riley Bradham.

“We didn’t break any laws or anything by having our festival, but we just felt that it’s best to be good neighbors,” he said.

The large outdoor music festival that typically drew 10,000 attendees has hosted major acts such as The Avett Brothers and Sheryl Crow alongside local acts like Dangermuffin and Stop Light Observations.

Hall said “the straw that broke the camel’s back” might have been the plantation’s decision to host another live act, reggae band Slightly Stoopid, as a separate concert months after the festival last year.

Prior to that, the festival hadn’t drawn much criticism from residents nearby, he said.

“We’d always been conscious of the community and up-front about what’s going on with the crowds and traffic and that sort of thing,” he said.

The plantation won’t be hosting any live entertainment in the foreseeable future.

Rockville representatives haven’t responded to requests for comment. Representatives of Music Farm Productions, who organized the festival, could not be reached immediately, either.

Hall said if the production firm continues to host an annual music festival in another location, it won’t be able to use the First Flush Festival name.

“That’s ours because it’s associated with the Charleston Tea Plantation and... the first flushing of the (tea) leaves,” he said.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail