Businesses invited to learn more about upcoming Carolina Country Music Fest

Businesses invited to learn more about upcoming Carolina Country Music Fest

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Businesses around the old pavilion site now have a better idea of what to expect from this year's Carolina Country Music Fest.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department and promoter Bob Durkin laid out everything from traffic to crowd expectations in a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Durkin made it very clear to the business owner that he has high expectations for the second year of the event.

He said ticket sales are up 30 to 40 percent from last year. At this point, more than 20,000 people are expected to attend.

Durkin anticipated those numbers to go up, as he said a system is being set up to bus people in from out of town.

According to Durkin, shuttles will pick up concertgoers up from eight to 10 cities around North Carolina and South Carolina. Those shuttles will drop concertgoers off at Coastal Carolina University for a projected fee of $50 to $70.

Concertgoers in town looking for parking will have a new option this year as well.

On top of paid parking at the Myrtle Beach Mall site, CCMF organizers will also offer parking on the CCU campus. Concertgoers can then take a shuttle to the festival.

Durkin told the crowd that the cost of that parking is still being worked out. He expects a decision by the end of the week.

Shuttles will also run up and down Ocean Boulevard all weekend, taking visitors to and from the festival and back to their hotels. Durkin said the idea is to ease the load on taxi drivers.

One big thing still in the works, according to Durkin, is the ability for businesses to use the festival's cash-free wristband system.

Again, Durkin told the crowd, he is still working on a price that would be affordable for interested businesses.

"It's great to see the promoter was listening to them last year," said Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace. "Anything that you do, where everybody is on the same page, working together, that's the secret to success."

Lt. Joey Crosby, spokesman for the MBPD, also talked to the crowd about changes to the traffic plan this year.

Those changes deal mostly with Ocean Boulevard, Ninth Avenue North and Eighth Avenue North.

Just as it was in 2015, Crosby said Eighth Avenue North will be completely closed between Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard. Artists will keep their buses, equipment and crews there during the shows.

Concertgoers will have total access to the businesses along the road, though, as police will keep Flagg, Chester and York streets open.

Officers will divert traffic in certain directions along Ninth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard.

On Ninth Avenue, officers will direct traffic down to one lane headed toward Kings Highway. When the concert ends each night,both lanes will close to allow for more foot traffic.

On Ocean Boulevard, traffic will go down to one southbound lane between Mr. Joe White Avenue and Ninth Avenue North.

Barricades will also surround Ocean Boulevard but will open up at crosswalks so concertgoers can get to any storefront.

"There were a few things last year that people weren't happy with, and it sounds as if they've been addressing the issues," said EZ Eats owner Jim Carayiannis. "We're looking forward to the changes being positive, we hope."

Crosby also talked to the crowd about where shuttles will drop off concertgoers.

Shuttles from the two parking lots at CCU and the Myrtle Beach Mall will drop people off in front of Ground Zero off Chester Street. Shuttles from the local hotels will drop concertgoers off on Ninth Avenue North across from Kings Highway.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department plans to publicize all plans on Facebook and its website. Crosby told the crowd there will also be a map service for cell phones, so visitors can see everything in real time.

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