Atlantic Beach changes name of Bikefest, adds musical acts for 2017

Atlantic Beach changes name of Bikefest, adds musical acts for 2017

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - You may know it as Atlantic Beach Bikefest, but this year it has a new name along with a list of new activities.

The new name for the event is the Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival. You may know, Atlantic Beach calls itself the Black Pearl.

Town leaders are also working to bring in three different R&B entertainers to perform the entire weekend.

The Bike Festival has been around for 37 years, but now town leaders are working to give it more life to keep people in Atlantic Beach where it all started from the beginning.

Atlantic Beach used to be a haven and destination for a lot of different artists and soul singers back in the 40s and 50s when the town was more vibrant than it is today.

So along with food, alcohol, beer and retail vendors, to draw a broader audience, town leaders are finalizing plans to have live concerts Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Memorial Day weekend.

They're also planning to have a big tent with DJs to have an outside club atmosphere on a different night.

But once the artists are announced, it doesn't stop there.

Leaders plan to market and advertise the event from Washington D.C. to Atlanta to reach as many people possible.

"We hope that it will increase the number of vendors who come and want to participate and sell their wares, food vendors and retail, hope this broadens and expands the entire bike fest festival, to not only a vendor fair but entertainment fair," Town Manager Benjamin Quattlebaum said.

In 2015, there were almost 100 vendors, but last year in Atlantic Beach, that number dropped to 65.

Leaders believe it was because of a storm threat, but also think people continue to drift away from Atlantic Beach because there is more to do in North Myrtle and Myrtle Beach - things like more shopping and hotel accommodations.

Atlantic Beach officials say numbers were down crowd-wise as well last year.

About 15,000 people usually pass through for Memorial Day weekend, but that wasn't the case last year.

Along with not much to do in Atlantic Beach, leaders seem to think people's perception of bikers in general has become a negative stereotype and when it comes time for the event, negativity from people who live in the area steers people away.

So to draw more people in, and have a more positive event, town leaders figured out another way by adding artists to perform the entire weekend.

They hope that becomes a permanent part of the festival for years to come.

Leaders said they're looking to pull out all the stops to make Atlantic Beach a destination again as it was in years past.

"At the end of Bikefest last year, a lot of vendors talk to me and gave me input to encourage the town to add entertainers as another vehicle for an attraction for people to come here so that where it came from," Quattlebaum said.

In addition to those changes, right now Horry County and Atlantic Beach leaders are drawing up evacuation plans just in case a major storm comes through the area.

At this time, the artists aren't set in stone.

However, there will be a cover charge for all three nights.

If you are an interested vendor and want to register go to

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved