MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival returned to the Grand Strand on Friday, after being one of many events canceled last year due to COVID-19.
The three-day event takes place on Carver Street in Myrtle Beach just outside Charlie’s Place.
Mickey James, one of the event’s organizers, said suspending last year’s festival was a tough decision.
“It was really hard, I hated it but the illness was so bad,” he said.
James explained that the process of getting the festival back on track this year has been a lot of work, which included bringing sponsors and vendors back on board.
However, he said it was worth it as he expects a huge turnout of up to 8,000 people this year.
James said that while many people are excited to go out and enjoy the live music, they will also have the opportunity to support even more local businesses as more than 20 vendors participate.
This is more than double compared to previous years.
“Economically, a lot of people are struggling financially,” he said. “It brings more economic development to our community, and also for Myrtle Beach, especially for the vendors.”
Iniki’s Creations Cakes & Treats is one of the sellers of the jazz festival. Isiah Vereen’s daughter owns the business and says the family is doing everything they can to help and support it in its development.
It’s also their first time attending the festival, and Vereen says events like this are one of the reasons business has been good this year.
“Based on last year with COVID, that kind of set us back enough,” Vereen said. “Overall he comes back with a brighter and better year this year, I’m excited.”
Vonda Johnson, owner of AS&J Fashion, said it was also her first time taking a seat at the festival. She also explained how important it is for the community to offer this type of event, giving residents and the opportunity to support businesses in their neighborhood.
“Let’s support our local businesses. Let’s go out and support each other, ”Johnson said. “It’s so important that we continue like this.”
The jazz festival also brought out some familiar faces, including ‘Vee’s Wings and Things’ owners Veronica and Byron Gilliard said business is doing well that ear, but they are happy to see more profit from the return of live events.
“It’s the livelihood of a lot of people,” Byron said. “Lucky for us it’s not our livelihood but it’s very important to have stuff like that.”
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