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June 20, 2018

Chestnut Hill Harry Potter festival to continue under new, less magical name following Warner Bros. crackdown

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Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Fans Bastiaan Slabbers/For PhillyVoice

Two attendees at the 2016 Chestnut Hill Harry Potter festival are seen here dressed as the main character from the books and movies. Chestnut Hill's 2018 Harry Potter Festival will not take place under the same name, as Warner Bros. – which owns the rights to the franchise based on the series of children's books written by J.K. Rowling – is prohibiting the use of any names or imagery associated with Harry Potter at the annual Philadelphia event and other events in the U.S.

The event formerly known as the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival, which has drawn tens of thousands of Hogwarts fans to Germantown Avenue each October for the last seven years, has a new name.

Earlier this month Warner Bros. cracked down on events and festivals, like the one in Chestnut Hill, for using copyrighted names and imagery from the Harry Potter books and movie franchise for profit.

After much backlash from fans of the festival, officials at Chestnut Hill have decided to move forward with the event under the less specific name "Wands & Wizards."

"Formerly the Harry Potter Festival, the new-for-2018 Wands & Wizards takes over the charming town for spellbinding events that morph the neighborhood into an enchanting magic-filled haunt," reads the Visit Philadelphia page for the event.

No specific dates for the festival have been announced, but it will kick off with a Friday evening pub crawl. The festival has typically been held during the third weekend of October.

Though the festival is continuing, it will no doubt have to tweak a bit, if not significantly, to comply with the tightened trademark rules set forth by Warner Bros. Typical festival events, such as the Deatheaters dance party, the Sorting Hat demonstration, and the Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament, just to name a few, all will have similarly less magical names this year – or be erased entirely.

"It was very quickly apparent weren't going to be able to hold the festival like years past," Philip Dawson, Chestnut Hill's business district director, told the Associated Press.

The event, which has ballooned in attendance during its history, drew around 50,000 people last year and has been noted as an economic boost for area businesses.

"It's almost as if Warner Bros. has been taken over by Voldemort, trying to use dark magic to destroy the light of a little town," Chestnut Hill College student Sarah Jo Tucker said the Associated Press.