Tune in to free music concert in Myrtle Beach - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Tune in to free music concert in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - More feet in Myrtle Beach streets, to get more dollars in the doors, that’s the goal of the Oceanfront Merchants Association.

The organization, also known as OMA, is hosting the Battle of the Bands, Friday, marking the second week for the event. For the next five Fridays, you can set up your beach chairs and blankets and surround the Old Pavillion Stage in downtown Myrtle Beach, to enjoy free, live music.

The Battle of the Bands is presented by the Oceanfront Merchant Association along with ReverbNation and Outlaw Nation. Sponsors include, Budweiser Beer Garden, Oceanfront Bar And Grill, The Bowery, Peaches Corner, Surge Magazine, Coastal Victory and Bargain Beachwear.

The Battle started out with 1,200 bands competing. It’s now into the Eastern Semifinals, with the top 24 left. Each Friday, downtown, about five bands will perform. The event is part of a goal to bring in more new visitors, entertain the locals, boost business, and build a name for Myrtle Beach.

OMA is also working to make the area a destination for solid performers. That's why they're bringing in bands from across the nation, such as, Connecticut, Ohio and Alabama, and more.

The idea is to have the best of the best bands, go head to head, in the final showdown during the annual Oktoberfest in the fall.

“Usually it's held in Charleston but they moved it to this area,” Executive Director of the Oceanfront Merchants Association Peggy Iverson said. “This is nationally promoted and so these different bands that are coming in from all over the place."

It also includes beer gardens, food vendors and celebrity judges - including some from WMBF News.

Oceanfront Merchants Association Expanding Membership

The Oceanfront Merchants Association is also trying to shake the old stigma of just helping oceanfront businesses, and get all Grand Strand businesses involved.

The group is reaching out to more organizations to push for involvement beyond the boardwalk. The goal is to get every Grand Strand business involved in helping to put on free events like Battle of the Bands, St. Patty's Day, Oktoberfest and Hot Summer Nights, because, although the organization does get some help from the city, Iverson said the biggest challenge in putting on these big events at no cost to you, is funding.

“We are always challenged with raising money, to provide this entertainment, because Hot Summer Nights is a three month event, from June through the end of August," Iverson said. "To raise money for all these events it does take a lot of community participation.”

Hot Summer Nights, according to Iverson, has a $365,000 operation budget, but she said, these events can end up pumping in much more money to our area, by drawing in more visitors to the local restaurants and stores. So, it's simple: The more businesses that donate to sponsor events and get involved, the more events that can go on, leading to that local benefit.

OMA Hosts Locally driven events

It's not just about the visitors, OMA has added a lot of local events, too, because they want you to be able to enjoy your city with the tourists.

Hot Summer Nights, is free entertainment seven nights a week. Wednesday night is "local talent showcase," a chance for you to perform or watch bands, and draw in a local following. Iverson said she often looks for local schools, choirs, and groups to join in.

The last three Fridays in August will be "Boardwalks Got Talent Contest," a chance to show off your talent, any talent, to win $1,000, and to perform labor day weekend.

Then, in the shoulder season, when many visitors aren't here, there will potentially be a 50s theme event - Glory Days, and of course, the annual Oktoberfest. Hopefully, to get you to enjoy your hometown.

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