CCMF date change discussed to boost 'shoulder season,' better compromise suggested

CCMF date change discussed to boost 'shoulder season,' better compromise suggested

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Since it began, the Carolina Country Music Fest has been scheduled to go on two weeks after Memorial Day. But, some council members wonder if it wouldn't be better earlier or later in the year.

Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said the discussion of moving CCMF has happened with city council several times. This past week, it reached the table again in workshop.  Kruea said two council members leading the discussion are Mike Lowder and Mary Jeffcoat.

WMBF News spoke with Councilwoman Jeffcoat, Councilman Lowder declined to comment. Jeffcoat said late May is a busy time for Myrtle Beach city staff and workers.  She suggests a weekend in May, April or the fall to help fill the 'shoulder season' of summer. She said council's goals include expanding the tourism season outside of the summer months and to examine the city work schedule in late May and early June to consider a date change.

Councilwoman Jeffcoat said Memorial Day biker events leading up to CCMF keep city workers and first responders working around the clock.  While she said she doesn't want to 'fix what's not broken,' she said council will monitor the May and June workload and evaluate city demands. She said she expects the conversation to come up again for the 2018 CCMF.

Carolina Country Music Fest owner Bob Durkin said when organizers were originally choosing a date, spring months were looked at. However, the June date was chosen because it was a less busy weekend at the time, and hotel rooms were empty. He said he likes the date right where it is, and considers it a kick-off to beach season.

"You'll find that some of council may be supportive of the date that we're already at, and some may want to review other dates. But, you know, from all indication this is a really great weekend because it's before the majority of our schools get out within the drive market regions...and you know, our hoteliers will tell you there's a lull in occupancy rates the second weekend in June," CCMF organizer Amie Lee, of Palmetto Productions said.

Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, said strategy went in to choosing the current June date. "So it was purposely selected to give us a positive economic impact at a time when we're not really full. We're concerned that if they move that date, it could affect attendance...and it's a great event for the Grand Strand and the entire region. Our hope is that is stays and grows right where it's at," Dean said.

WMBF News asked viewers for opinions on a date change. Some want to keep the current summer date, others were in favor of a spring date for cooler weather.

However, Bob Durkin has more up his sleeve. A second music festival in the Grand Strand.  Durkin said he's had no conversations about moving CCMF, but he has had conversations with the city about bringing another music festival to the area.

"We have had conversations of putting on another event, to add additional events to the market. Which then will bring additional people all weekend...that are not as big as the traditional summer weekend. So, you know, the mayor has definitely put that in our ear.  We've had great success in Myrtle Beach, a great partnership with the city and the people of Myrtle Beach.  People obviously love to come here for a festival, so you know, we love different genres of music...and different types of festivals we work that's definitely a possibility," Durkin said.

Durkin said if a second festival is put together, it would be a different genre of music.

Jeffcoat said she wouldn't be opposed to adding a festival for a spring or fall tourism boost, depending on the city's schedule.

WMBF News reached out to Myrtle Beach mayor, John Rhodes. He hasn't gotten back with us yet.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.