EDITOR’S NOTE: Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival president Mickey James later announced plans to remain at the traditional site on Carver Street in the city’s Booker T. Washington neighborhood. Click here to find out more.
The annual Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival is getting bigger and better! Organizers confirm that the fourth annual event will be held this year at the site of the former Myrtle Square Mall, an expansive 44-acre area with more space for music, vendors, parking and fun.
“This will help us bring a whole new level of artists, as well as a whole new audience,” Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival founder Mickey James said. “It changes the entire dynamic.”
The Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival was founded in 2016 as a backyard jam on Carver Street. This helped bring a new focus to revitalization efforts in the historic Booker T. Washington neighborhood, also known as the Hill. Since then, the area has seen a long-hoped-for refurbishing project begin at the street’s legendary Charlie’s Place site, which once played host to a series of music legends in the segregation era before falling into disrepair. (The venue also provided an early showcase for the Shag, South Carolina’s official state dance.)
As interest blossomed once more in this nearly lost history, wide media coverage coverage followed – including a well-received PBS documentary. A state historic marker was also unveiled last October, not long after the third annual Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival took place on the adjacent grounds.
This rebirth on Carver Street coincided with explosive growth for the festival, which has attracted thousands more fans with each passing year. Parking had become an issue, as did space for a swelling list of interested vendors. As the event continues to grow, additional stages could also be added. The new location, at 2501 North Kings Highway, is right around the corner from the festival’s original site – but provides another level of visibility, since it sits on the entertainment district’s busiest thoroughfare.
“Having the festival on the main strip, more people will stop to check it out,” James added. “It’s not secluded anymore; it’s not a neighborhood thing. There’s tons of space out there, meaning there are all kinds of things you can do now.”
Over the years, a series of legends and rising stars have graced the Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival stage, beginning with the late Skipp Pearson, South Carolina’s ambassador of jazz music. Others have included Daniel D, Marcus Anderson, T-Ray and Soda City Jazz Band, as well as numerous local and area performers. Dates for this year’s Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival have already been announced: Oct. 4-6, 2019. More details on this year’s lineup will arrive in the coming weeks.
“This is a chance for Myrtle Beach to come together like never before,” James said. “We’re ready to grow.”
Festival sponsors include Burroughs and Chapin, Brittain Resorts, the Jackson Companies, the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, CresCom Bank, Better Brands, South State Bank, HTC, Sandhills Bank and WPDE.