MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The second year for the Carolina Country Music Fest includes big names like Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, but while getting those big names is important to organizers, so is bringing in local talent.
Several openers for the festival were discovered through Battle of the Bands competitions in the Carolinas. The one in Myrtle Beach was at the Boathouse. The other two were in Raleigh and Charlotte.
The head of Carolina Country Music Fest, Bob Durkin, said exposing local artists to big record labels is important to the event. He said a lot of popular names come out of the Carolinas, and labels like Warner and William Morris will be here scouting.
Carolina artists and Grand Strand natives Shawn Bilton and Maddie Hunt are a few of the locals benefitting from the festival's efforts to get them on the map. Hunt is from Myrtle Beach, and Bilton is from Pawleys Island.
Hunt, just 15 years old, won battle of the bands in Myrtle Beach, and says performing her first big name concert while at home isn't going to be like anything she's ever experienced.
"It's a coming out moment and like, the place that I grew up, like, I'm a native here and it's absolutely amazing to be like hopefully discovered here, that'd be awesome," Hunt said.
Hunt is opening for Tim McGraw. Bilton is one of the openers Sunday for Florida Georgia Line.
"I'm pretty excited to open for Tim McGraw because ever since I heard Taylor Swift's song Tim McGraw, I like, fell in love with his music and I think he's an amazing performer so that'd be a lot of fun to meet him," Hunt said.
Hunt said she can't wait to open for the man of country himself Saturday afternoon at CCMF at 2:30 p.m. Tim McGraw goes on at 10 p.m.
View a complete lineup of CCMF artists here.
Durkin says another way the festival puts these newcomers on the map is by getting them on the bill with names likes McGraw and Florida Georgia line because that's how they got started too.