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June 06, 2018

Warner Bros. cracking down, Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival no more

Philadelphia's wildly popular, day-long event on Germantown Avenue that celebrates all things Hogwarts was preparing for its eighth year

Festivals Harry Potter
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.

Chestnut Hill's annual Harry Potter Festival, which drew more than 50,000 visitors last year, will likely never happen again.

Warner Bros., the owner of most of the rights to the popular franchise, is cracking down on Potter festivals and restricting the use of any terms and imagery from the books for profit.

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The festival, which is based on author J.K. Rowling's internationally-acclaimed and beloved Harry Potter novels, usually takes place in October and has become something of a local sensation for its authenticity and good-intentioned fun among superfans. 

But Warner Bros. is saying the festival violates the company's licensing rights because it uses both names and imagery from the novels and harry Potter films, the Chestnut Hill Local first reported Wednesday. 


Apparently Warner Bros. is pretty aggressive about shutting these events down. In March the studio sternly warned organizers of a Harry Potter festival in Aurora, Illinois, about potential trademark violations with an event there. The Chestnut Hill Local also referenced a Harry Potter-themed dinner planned by a woman in the U.K. that was shuttered.

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Likewise, the reaction on Philly Twitter also has been pretty aggressive. Understandably, fans are upset about this, tweeting at Warner Bros. and Rowling with the hashtag #savethehpfestival.

The Chestnut Hill Local reported there is a Wizards & Wands pub crawl in the works that will likely line up with Chestnut Hill College's annual nonprofit Harry Potter Academic Conference, which is happening on Oct. 19-20 this year.

Sorry HP fans.