Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Big & Rich and Colt Ford are some of the headlining acts for the inaugural Carolina Country Music Fest at the former Pavilion site in June.
Full House Productions, promoters of the event, announced the lineup of 35 local, regional and national artists Thursday afternoon at the 11-acre site where they expect upwards of 15,000 people a night to flock June 5-7 to enjoy country music.
“Around the country, music festivals have been on the rise,” said Bob Durkin, president of Full House. “The popularity has been through the roof. You’ve seen it in the Midwest, the Northeast, the West Coast, and I think what we noticed was a real gap in the southeast...
“The Carolinas, we feel, is the heart of country music and the fact that you’d have to go eight hours or 10 hours to go to a country music festival, we thought there was a real void here... We realized after seeing the beautiful setting down here in Myrtle Beach, the people of Myrtle Beach, the reputation of Myrtle Beach and the city itself, the mayor and all the support we get, that this is the perfect site for the country music festival in the Carolinas.”
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Tickets for the three-day event are on sale at CarolinaCountryMusicFest.com and range from $159 for a three-day pass to $999 for the three-day pass that includes stage level seating, food and beverages, zip line tickets, a VIP entrance and a private bathroom.
Mayor John Rhodes said he looks forward to the event being an annual kick off to the Grand Strand’s summer.
“What we have here is an opportunity to fill a void,” Rhodes said. “For years, we had the Sun Fun Festival, which kicked off the summer. This will take its place. This is going to be the thing to help kick off the summer in Myrtle Beach, not only in the downtown area, but for all the hotel area and restaurants throughout the area should benefit greatly from it.”
The event will block off Ocean Boulevard and will coincide with the Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine, Beer & Spirits Festival, where, in past years, a trolley maneuvers around town, including downtown, to allow participants a chance to sample various food and beverages. The event is based at Plyler Park, which is two blocks from the concert.
Mark Kruea, spokesman for the city, said the city often works with a part of Ocean Boulevard closed down.
“For big events, closing this portion of Ocean Boulevard is sort of standard because we have this great property, temporarily,” Kruea said. “While it may not be ideal, it does get closed with bigger events.”
Parking may also be a concern, considering the nearby Pavilion Parking Lot holds a little more than 1,000 cars.
Rhodes said talks have begun about shuttling concertgoers from remote parking areas to the show.
“Nothing is going to be easy,” Rhodes said. “There’s no question about the parking. All of it is going to be in great demand.”
Durkin said his company markets to eight regional states, which is good for Myrtle Beach because most of its visitors visit by car rather than fly.
“My vision is that people come down here who have never been to Myrtle Beach will get to see a phenomenal place,” Durkin said. “People who love to come here are going to come one more time than when they normally come here... They wake up in the morning and spend a day at the beach with the family, then come over here in the afternoon and enjoy some of the best country music in the world, along with the zip line, the carousel, great food and just great company.”
Rhodes said the festival is going to kick off “one of the largest summers this beach has ever had.”
“After this year, once the word gets out, you’re going to see this grow, I think, to rival another festival that’s in New Orleans called the Jazz Festival,” Rhodes said. “What better way to kick off the summer than having some great music.”