A new era is revving up for a concert venue less than an hour’s drive from the Grand Strand, timed in tandem with the Myrtle Beach Bike Week Spring Rally.
The “Swamp Fox Biker Bash” will open Friday and continue through May 22 at the Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex, formerly the Carolina Amphitheater, which closed several years ago. For months, the electronic sing in front of the the 250-acre landmark on U.S. 501 in Marion, near the junction with S.C. 576 and U.S. 501 Business, has touted this festival.
Nicole Collins, the complex’s marketing director, said the property, owned by a small group of investors from Connecticut, has been planning this event for about two years.
Question | Is this the first grand event for the reborn site, where I remember Sugarland and Big & Rich each having concerts in 2008?
Answer | Technically speaking, yes. We were supposed to open last fall, and we had some issues with fiber optic cables being laid in time, then ... we got all the rain from Hurricane Joaquin. So, this time, it’s for real, our first full-blown event. ...
Lots of big names have performed here in the past: Reba McEntire, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and James Brown, to name a few.
Q. | Among the bevy of bands booked for the bash, who are the headliners?
A. | The Rico Monaco Band and Preacher Stone are the two main headliners, both on the second weekend, along with the Michael Allman Band – with Gregg Allman’s oldest son – and Nova Rex, and Geneva. ...
We also have the “Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue” (www.hellzapoppin.com) coming. They have been featured on the Travel Channel, Discovery, and in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s kind of like an adult freak show. They’ll be doing three shows daily, May 13-21, with separate tickets sold for those.
Q. | How many charity events are lined up for the run of the festival, especially with the WYAV-FM “Wave” 104.1-sponsored cause hitting the road from the Myrtle Beach area?
A. | We have three, and the main one is on May 19, a cruise-in for the CVMA – the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, which helps homeless veterans, and in rehabilitation of veterans who have traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder, and help them get re-acclimated to daily life – heading north on U.S. 501 from The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill, just west of Myrtle Beach.
Q. | How big might the radius get for turnout at this bash?
A. | Definitely the Southeast. With ticket sales, our reach has been as far as Ohio and Missouri. A lot of the people plan to come for Myrtle Beach BIke Week anyway. We also offer various camping options.
Q. | What else is confirmed for the Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex calendar this summer?
A. | We’re doing a Fourth of July event, and partnering with Marion County mayors from Marion, Mullins, Nichols and Sellers, and some of the proceeds will go to the Marion County Animal Shelter, and we’re hoping to help a few other charities. We’re calling it a “Celebration of Heroes,” to honor veterans, military personnel, law enforcement, and first responders. Admission is free, with just a small fee for parking.
Q. | How much potential is there, with the complex being so centrally located as a hub that’s an easy, short drive from Myrtle Beach, Florence, and other places along the N.C.-S.C. line?
A. | This used to be one of the largest venues on the East Coast, and in square footage, it’s one of the largest from New York to Miami. We want to help breathe life back into Marion County. ...
We have camping, which is a big thing for any event. We have big plans ... in the next few years. We would like to have a year-round RV park, and we would like to build the world’s longest bar, which would be 1,000 linear feet in any direction.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHAT: “Swamp Fox Biker Bash”
WHEN: May 13-22
WHERE: Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex – formerly The Carolina Amphitheater – 1548 S. U.S. 501, Marion, just south of junction with S.C. 576 and U.S. 501 Business, and between Sparky’s Country Store and the Beneteau America sailboat manufacturing plant.
▪ General admission $20 one day; five-day passes $60 covering May 13-17 and $80 May 18-22; and 10-day pass $110.
▪ Tent, recreational vehicle, and “glamping” camping rates vary.
▪ “Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue,” with three shows daily, May 13-21, for $15 advance or $20 on site.
▪ May 14 – Cancer Awareness Poker Run 11 a.m., and concerts by Tastes Like Chicken 12:30-4 p.m., and Josh Brannon Band 8:30 p.m.-midnight.
▪ May 15 – Josh Brannon Band 12:30-4 p.m., bike blessing 3-4 p.m., Wesley Spangler 5:30-7, and Tastes Like Chicken 8-9:30.
▪ May 16-17 – Battle of the Bands 7-10 p.m.
▪ May 18-21 – Swap Meet 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
▪ May 18 – Kimberly White Project 12:30-2 and 8-9:30 p.m., Bakkwoodz 6-7:30, Nova Rex 10-11:30, and Dan Lawson Band midnight-1:30 a.m.
▪ May 19 – WYAV-FM “Wave” 104.1 cruise-in, 10:30 a.m. north on U.S. 501 from The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill, just west of Myrtle Beach, to benefit the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (www.combatvet.org); and Kimberly White Project 2-3:30 p.m., Bakkwoodz 4-5:30, Nova Rex 6-7:30, Dan Lawson Band 8-9:30, and Michael Allman Band 10-11:30.
▪ May 20 – The Madeleine Haze noon-1:30 p.m., Dan Lawson Band 2-3:30, Nova Rex 4-5:30, Bakkwoodz 6-7:30, Michael Allman Band 8-9:30, Preacher Stone 10-11:30, and Rico Monaco Band midnight-1:30 a.m.
▪ May 21 – ABATE (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) of South Carolina Poker Run 11 a.m., The Madeleine Haze 12:30-2 p.m., Battle of the Bands winner 2:30-4, Dan Lawson Band 4:30-6, Preacher Stone 6:30-8, Rico Monaco Band 8:30-10, Geneva 10:30-midnight, and Nova Rex 12:30-2 a.m.
ALSO: “Celebration of Heroes,” 11 a.m. July 4, honoring veterans, military personnel, law enforcement, and first responders – and benefiting Marion County Animal Shelter – Free admission, $5 parking.