MARION, SC (WMBF) - The Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex in Marion County is preparing to open its gates this week for the Swamp Fox Biker Bash. It's the culmination of years of waiting and hard work to get the area's 250-acre economic driver back open.
"Marion County really needs this," said Jenny Snow, entertainment director and producer. "This place has been sleeping for a very long time and it has now come out of a coma."
Bob Hartmann, the owner of Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex and executive chairman of HDMG Entertainment, decided to change the name from Carolina Amphitheater to Swamp Fox Entertainment Complex to really represent the region's history and heritage.
"We hope that Marion County, the people of Marion County really take this property and take it as it's theirs," he said.
Hartmann bought the property in January. He said he had been eying it for years though.
"I'd always drive by this property because to go to Myrtle Beach you have to go right by and it was always closed, so I started seeking out who were the previous owners, what problems existed here," he said.
Hartmann and his crew are getting the complex ready to open it back up to the public. It took some work to get it into the condition it is now in.
"It was all disarray," he said. "The stage itself was in disarray. We brought in a stage company to come in and redo it. It cost us over a quarter of a million dollars to certify the stage. We purchased all new seating."
The progress came to a halt when issues with Time Warner Cable fiber optics installation caused the cancellation of the May opening event. Now, admission for the Swamp Fox Biker Bash going on September 24-October 4 is free. There is a fee for camping on site.
"A place where motorcyclists can come go for some great rides because the ride is really out here, not really on a beach," Hartmann said. "Why fight the traffic when you can ride out here, which has got some great scenery. Come back, camp and party like a rock star."
Hartmann has plans to build the world's longest bar on the site, which could be open by the Spring Bike Rally. He also wants to eventually build a small town mirroring Deadwood during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
"Even if we do the minimum of what we plan on doing, we'll generate over 4.5 million dollars in new-found tax dollars, in sustainable tax dollars to the county," he said.