When Myrtle Beach gets serious about its country music, watch out. Not only did the Carolina Country Music Festival of 2015 do so well that a 2016 show was immediately scheduled, another country music festival has sprung from the rich soil of Thompson Farms near Conway, this one a little more home grown, with aspirations (and the room) to grow.
In its inaugural Local Grown Country Music Festival, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., May 21, Scott Thompson, a fourth generation Thompson to run the family farm, hopes to establish an annual event that draws fans from all over the Grand Strand and the Carolinas. The family-friendly event will feature a kids zone, food vendors, country music and roots rock, most all with a Carolina component, legitimizing the “local grown” connection.
“We’ve kind of gone with local, then regional, and national acts for our first lineup,” said Thompson.
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The “local” element to the festival includes show opener Jeremiah McGuire, a four-piece new country act featuring three stunning young sisters from Socastee along with lifelong friend and “honorary brother,” bassist/guitarist Bryan Dean, the son of Myrtle Beach Chamber President Brad Dean. The strong familial harmonies and country-pop arrangements of the group are featured on the pro-video “Be the Change,” and are augmented by the fact that the girls play their own instruments.
Brad Long (Carolina Opry), a local favorite with growing national exposure, is on the bill with his band, and will perform a set of originals, and surprise or two.
Originally from Clemson, Cravin Melon, a band with two hits from the mid 1990s (“Come Undone” and “Sweet Tea”), will perform in what is being called a “rare reunion show.”
Also on the bill, Jesse Rice, from Conway, is a co-writer of the Florida-Georgia Line hit “Cruise,” and countless additional country radio hits. The Kenny George Band (Aiken), will also perform, along with Asheville, N.C., native Luke Combs. National act headliners Keith Anderson (“I Still Miss You”), and Lewis Brice (brother of country super star Lee Brice, from Sumter), will close the event, followed by a fireworks show at 10:30 p.m.
Thompson Farm and Nursery (established in 1845) is part of an historic farming and riverside community in rural Horry County dating back literally centuries. About 10 miles south of Conway, just off of Hwy 701, the sprawling old farmstead has been repurposed from a commercial farming operation to a nursery and event destination. A popular spot for weddings and corporate events, the large open-sided barn is booked just about non-stop. Thompson, who is also running for a spot on the District 4 St. James-area School Board, also recently purchased the Peanut Warehouse in Conway, rescuing the historic structure and upgrading it for similar functions. Thompson Farms will a host a professional rodeo May 27 and 28.
“I’ve been thinking about this festival for years,” said Thompson, “trying to find ways to take the Farm to the next level and provide something out of the ordinary. I was able to put a group of guys together to help me make the event a reality. We’re looking forward to a big day.”
Thompson Farms is located at 1625 Bucksville Drive, Conway. Advance tickets $30 (kids under 10, free), and $35 at the gate, day of show.
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