‘A lot of people told us we couldn’t do it’: CCMF owner excited after no show in 2020

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 9:13 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Bob Durkin has been the face of Carolina Country Music Fest since he first brought the biggest names in Nashville to Myrtle Beach back in 2015.

After getting pushed back, rescheduled and then canceled in 2020, Durkin, who owns and organizes the four-day multistage country music festival, said he couldn’t be more excited for CCMF in 2021.

“It seemed with COVID, every time you said something was going to happen it just didn’t. So we drew a line in the sand and we said this one’s gonna happen and a lot of people told us we couldn’t do it,” Durkin said.

With the main stage set and some of the biggest names in country music on their way, CCMF isn’t just bringing back country music to Myrtle Beach, it’s the start of live music again more or less nationwide.

Durkin said the fans’ determination to come back to the Grand, the city of Myrtle Beach’s approval of the event and the big names out of Nashville agreeing to come down and perform, all made him confident that the now sold-out show would go on and be a hit.

“Luke Combs tweeted out the fact that he hasn’t played a show in 15 months and he can’t wait to see everyone at CCMF, and that’s what makes us feel great, that they’re excited to come back for a show, the city of Myrtle Beach, our whole team came together, and it’s going on in 2021,” Durkin said.

Other big-name festivals like Coachella are canceled for the second year in a row, and festivals like Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits aren’t taking place until the fall.

This makes CCMF one of the first of its size to come back after COVID-19 shut down live music. But Durkin said the artists didn’t stop working.

“Every number one song that’s been on the radio this past year has never been played in public, and so they’ve all talked to me about how excited they are, their song went number one, but they’ve never been able to play it to a crowd,” Durkin said.

And it’s not just the crowd who’s ready to see names like Darius Rucker take the stage and perform. Durkin said he feels the weight of the music each time an artist hits the stage.

“Once Jake Owens takes the stage, once Eric Church comes out there and welcomes everyone back, it’s going to be very emotional, because music is such an important part of my life, and to go without it for so long, so the moment it comes back, it’s going to be emotional and exciting,” Durkin said.

Another reason why Durkin said CCMF is so special, is the amount of talent who gets their start at the festival. Luke Combs is one of the headliners this year, but early in his career he was performing at The Boathouse, and when he first came to CCMF in 2017, he wasn’t even on the main stage.

The gates open at 6 p.m. Thursday and the festival continues until Sunday.

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