‘They love this festival’: City leaders ready to welcome back CCMF fans

Published: Jun. 10, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 8:32 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The long wait is over for Carolina Country Music Fest fans.

Since the major music festival was canceled in 2020, fans are bringing out all the stops this year. Some even showed up hours early for a chance to be at the front of the crowd when their favorites artists make it back on stage.

“I’m excited, I like to be first. First in line. I like to be close to the stage,” one fan told WMBF News.

CCMF super fan, Christie Drew, comes every year from Greenville, S.C. For her, it’s more than just the music. She said she’s met her family here.

“Since I have been coming here for 5 years I have met so many new family members, I call them. From 5 years ago, I still have friends from 5 years ago, we’re meeting together today as a matter of fact,” Drew said.

She and her friend Audrey spent over 5 hours in line on Thursday, just so they could be first up when the gates open.

“I’m not trying to be in the back of the line I want to be as close to the stage as possible to get good pictures and it’s always a good time!” said Audrey, who traveled from Texas.

For fans like Audrey and Christie, seeing all their favorite artists live is only part of the reason why they love CCMF. They said there’s just something special about this oceanfront stage.

“Nobody can ever tell you about it unless you come out here and experience it for yourself. There’s just nothing like the CCMF here in Myrtle Beach,” Christie said.

Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach city leaders are expecting the return of the Carolina Country Music Fest to generate millions of dollars this weekend.

With a full crowd in attendance, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Karen Riordan said this year’s festival is bringing in more money compared to the last one in 2019.

The four-day event brought in between $15 million to $20 million two years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping fans from attending this year’s concert, and it’s gotten city leaders excited and proud to be able to pull it off.

“The expectation would’ve probably been from some that, ‘OK, we’ll have it but because it’s post-pandemic. It’ll be a shadow of its self, right? Only a few thousand people coming,’” Riordan said. “The fact that these fans want to be back and that every single ticket was sold says, A, they want to be in Myrtle Beach and, B, they love this festival. This is where they want to be and I think it really does put us on a national stage as a destination.”

The estimated money brought in from the festival includes more than just what people paid for tickets. It also factors in the money spent on things like hotels, shopping and dining out.

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