City of Myrtle Beach weighs in on Bikefest as an event

Myrtle Beach official speaks out on bikefest

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Over the last 20 or so years, Myrtle Beach City Spokesman, Mark Kruea, says Memorial Day Bikefest has overflowed into Myrtle Beach but the event is something the city will not sponsor.

Kruea says Bikefest is just something that happens, and unlike any other planned, organized event, Bikefest always seems to be a free for all.

"It's an unpermitted, meaning there is no permit for this; unauthorized, large, street party basically," Kruea explained. Kruea says there's never been someone to work with for the event.

"There's no one individual you can go to and say, 'Gee, will you be responsible for this?" Kruea said. Kruea says Bikefest is unlike any other special event that comes to the city.

"We get insurance from the promoter, we get a site plan, we get a police and safety plan, we get a trash pick up plan, we have an EMS personnel hired by the promoter to make sure everything is safe," Kruea explained.

Year after year, Kruea says no one ever came forward. He said Bikefest became particularly popular in the late 1990's. " A lot of private enterprises tried to schedule an activity that would draw some of the crowd to them. They all failed miserably," Kruea reflected.

Kruea says this is because the people attending Bikefest only seem to be interested in one thing. "You know concerts, events, vendors, that's not what they are here for. They are here for the free for all that is the Ocean Boulevard street party," Kruea said.

Kruea says they tried to promote help from neighbors in the past by creating something called a "friendship team." For ten years, a group of residents were out making visitors feel welcome. "As it was, the friendship team was somewhat helpful but 70 to 70 or 80 thousand is just not a good comparison," Kruea said.

At this point, Kruea says the city finds itself split. "In a tough position at this point, you get criticized if you don't do anything because you had such a violent action last year, or yet we may get criticism for doing so much to try to make it a safe activity," Kruea explained.

Kruea says the city is prepared to do what they have to for a safe Bikefest and visitors should not expect the event to be what is was last year.

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