Police detail Country Music Fest safety, parking plans - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Police detail Country Music Fest safety, parking plans

Lt. Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department explains the traffic pattern to be set in place for the festival. Lt. Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department explains the traffic pattern to be set in place for the festival.
City leaders unveil the traffic pattern for the country music festival. City leaders unveil the traffic pattern for the country music festival.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach is setting up for the nearly 20,000 country music fans beginning Thursday.

All of the work to set up the stages and tents and to stock the vendors is all done by the festival crews. Myrtle Beach city crews are only responsible for safety and traffic control. So any complaints or concerns you might have with pricing, parking, or timing should be directed to the festival organizers and not the city.

Safety Plan

The Myrtle Beach Police Department has been working on event plans for several months now. Lieutenant Joey Crosby says there will be officers on the event grounds working the concert and at the intersections monitoring traffic flow. Extra officers will also be stationed along the Boardwalk, beach, and sidewalks.

Police anticipate there will be plenty of bystanders stopping and enjoying the music from the beach, essentially, for free. So they want to make sure the crowds stay under control. Some business owners are concerned that people are going to try to stop on their patios and decks, not buy anything, block their customers, and get a free show. So officers will also be roaming up and down the sidewalks, just to keep the peace. Police say above all else for this weekend, keep moving, stay safe, and have fun.

“This historically is a busy weekend for us,” says Lt. Crosby, referring to the first weekend in June and school being out. “So we know that traffic in conjunction with the Country Music Festival is going to be very congested.”

Traffic Plan

If you're headed downtown for the beach or for the festival, prepare for plenty of extra traffic. The key is to stay patient, and everyone will get to where they need to go safely.

There is a traffic pattern that police have planned for this weekend. It will not be in place Thursday night for the kick-off concerts, because police leaders do not believe it will be too busy. But there is a contingency plan for Thursday if things get packed.

The full traffic plan and roadblocks will go into effect Friday morning. That's when police will completely block off 8th Avenue North to traffic in both directions from Kings Highway to the Boardwalk. This is where festival crews are keeping all the production gear. 9th Avenue North will be closed one-way going east.

So, if you're driving up Ocean Boulevard and hit 7th Avenue North, you will be routed away from the beach. Then once you hit Kings Highway, a traffic pattern of cones will funnel you onto Kings. You will only be able to turn right, so you will be headed north.

If you're headed south on Ocean Boulevard towards the event site, traffic will be funneled into one lane as you approach 9th Avenue North. You will be force to turn right. Once you hit Kings Highway, you can turn right or left or continue straight through the intersection.

If you would like to access the parking garage near the old Pavilion, you will have to go around the block. You will only be able to enter if you are headed west-bound on 9th Avenue North. The shuttles from the festival parking lot at the old Myrtle Beach Mall site will drop festival goers off on Chester street. Taxis will also be staging on Chester Street.

Your best bet if you're driving downtown over the weekend, avoid the Highway 501/Kings Highway interchange at all costs. Lt. Crosby says he anticipates that area is going to be extremely busy, clogged, and jammed, to say the least. So use alternates like 21st Avenue North, 3rd Avenue South, or Harrelson Boulevard to get into town.

And a final warning from police: Do not by any means try to drive up to the event site simply to pull over, drop people off, then drive off to find a parking spot. This is never allowed, no matter what day it is. And if you attempt this during the festival, you will be causing a traffic nightmare for others.

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