MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The first biker bash to be held at Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex started on May 13 and will go until May 22.
Bob Hartmann, executive chairman, wants the venue to become a destination for people in Marion County and beyond. He believed the biker bash is the perfect kickoff.
The 250-acre piece of land sat vacant off U.S. 501 for years until Hartmann decided he wanted to transform it over five years ago into a venue for numerous events.
With millions of dollars worth of renovations, it's been a battle to get it where organizers want. Hartmann, however, has stayed hopeful.
Last year's Biker Bash came to a halt because Time Warner Cable canceled their contract and the security wasn't strong enough.
"Well, I expected three people to show up,"Hartman said. "That was my anticipation and we've gone way beyond that, I can tell you that much. But you got to remember the biker community is a little finicky in the beginning they are unsure of things."
He said it's hard to become a focal point after the many years Myrtle Beach has hosted bike weeks.
Swamp Fox was renovated to bring in jobs and tax revenue for Marion County, and host first-class entertainment. Hartmann added they also want to foster the arts and the artists' creativity.
While they are hoping the biker bash will become the safe place for bikers to stay for the whole week, the turnout the first go-around was a little slow.
The first thing that caught entertainer Dan Lewson's attention was the big sign off U.S. 501. Driving inside the complex, he said he knew it would get better and better.
The stage is the largest stage he's ever played, with 8,900 hard seats and 20,000 lawn seats. He compared it to the upwards of 8,000 rallies he's been to over the past 20 years.
"I looked it up, got on Google Earth and saw this place, went, 'Phew,' that's all I said," Lewson said. "It's amazing. We couldn't wait to get down here and we drove all the way from Boston."
Hartmann wants the word to get out to as many people as possible that Swamp Fox Entertainment is the next big thing.
Click here for a full list of upcoming events at Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex will host.