MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Carolina Country Music Festival kicks off this week in Myrtle Beach. After large groups of people were targeted in international attacks, Myrtle Beach Police are incorporating extra security measures to keep festival participants safe.
Organizers of the Carolina Country Music Fest say safety is a top priority during the four-day event.
“There certainly is, you know, a heightened sense and paying attention to every close detail with our plan,” reveals CCMF Director Michael Stephens.
Police and festival organizers expect nearly 20,000 people per day at the event. For that reason, CCMF officials say they’re beefing up security at the event entrance, and that will be in addition to Myrtle Beach Police officers.
“We have a whole front gate security team that goes through bags, checks bags, pat downs, and then people can go in and enjoy the festival safely,” explains Stephens.
Stephens adds that there will be LED message boards and horns to alert attendees in the event an evacuation is necessary. In addition, security officers will be placed backstage to help protect the musicians.
“We have a backstage security team that keeps backstage secure because the artists’ safety is also of the utmost importance, and there’s a specific meeting with our security and the artist and their team,” identifies Stephens.
Lt. Joey Crosby says the Myrtle Beach Police Department has been monitoring what’s happening around the world throughout the year in preparation for the event, and they’ll have officers placed all over the festival, some which you may not even see.
“We’ll utilize various types of officers in various capacities and have different resources on hand to make sure that we’re able to address any type of situation that may occur,” confirms Lt. Crosby.
The police department discussed its plans with homeland security, and for the first time, Myrtle Beach police officers will use drones to monitor the crowds.
“We’ll be able to monitor from the sky, how the traffic is flowing in and around the event site, as well as monitoring the pedestrian traffic pattern to see if there is any additional equipment that we may need or is there a different pattern that we need to put in place from night one to night two to help this flow better,” explains Lt. Crosby.
Water barricades and other devices will be used to keep people from driving into crowds, like attacks that have occurred world-wide, adds Lt. Crosby. The complete security plan could not be revealed in attempts to keep everyone safe, but Myrtle Beach Police will partner with law enforcement officers from surrounding communities and state agencies.