CCMF 2016 ends; year two considered a success - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

CCMF 2016 ends; year two considered a success

Crowds fill the Old Pavillion Site for the CCMF Weekend. Source: WMBF News Crowds fill the Old Pavillion Site for the CCMF Weekend. Source: WMBF News

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - On Sunday night, the Carolina Country Music Festival wrapped up its second year.  The event saw bigger crowds than last year and a little more work to keep everything in order.  

More vendors, a bigger line-up and a lot more people - the Carolina Country Music Fest finished its last night with a bang.  Cole Swindel opened for Florida Georgia Line in front of a huge crowd.  Florida Georgia Line took the stage at around 10 p.m.

The other headliners for the weekend were Keith Urban and Tim McGraw.  The festival's director, Bob Durkin, says last year, CCMF was caught off-guard with how big it turned out to be. 

Durkin says the festival took about three years to plan, but this year, festival organizers and the city of Myrtle beach were more prepared.

Myrtle Beach Police spokesman Joey Crosby agreed.  "After year one you learn a lot of different things to make the event better, and we were certain to implement those into our operational plan as did the organizers, too.   So, this year has gone a little bit smoother and we continued to progress in that each and every day," Lt. Crosby said.

The fences were taller this year, so police kept people moving along the sidewalks outside the festival. Lt. Crosby says crime was also minimal, most calls were non-violent in nature or had something to do with heat exhaustion. 

The passes to CCMF were in wristband form.  A chip on the wristband was magnetic to load money so the entire event could be cashless.  Originally, people were encouraged to load money ahead of time through the CCMF phone app.  But, that led to money delays Thursday night.

Money could be loaded at the festival through the top-up stations.  There were 8 of those scattered throughout festival grounds, Durkin said. People stood in line at the tents and loaded money through a credit card.

Festival goers said once the confusion was settled from Thursday, the cashless wristband led to a more stress-free festival.  People were not fooling with extra pennies and dollars when paying.

The technology improvements also included push alerts through the phone app.  When a patron was near a specific vendor like the silent disco tent or a new artist was set to take the stage, the patron would receive an alert.  This helped people better organize their day.

"You know, the whole thing is better organized I think this year too.  The ticket was good, probably, I mean there was some people having trouble waiting in line inside, but that's a good sign," festival-goer Mike Grehl said.

He and two of his friends considered themselves safer in the festival because they were not carrying a lot cash while being around thousands of other people.

Last year was CCMF's first year.  The event had the wristbands and phone app, but improvements to each led to a smoother event this year.

Durkin credits much of the success to the city of Myrtle Beach, fire and police departments, Oceanfront Merchant Association and vendor partnerships.

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