MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Every year in May, sounds of Screaming Eagle mufflers fill the air along the Grand Strand for the annual spring Bike Week rally.
The area is bracing for even more action this year during a pent-up surge in travel and activity following strict pandemic lockdowns. Restaurants, hotels, law enforcement, even medical personnel are planning on additional resources.
At the center of activity is a biker bar in Murrells Inlet called Suck, Bang Blow, because that’s what the featured old technology of a Harley engine does. The bar’s promotion touts, “10 days of hot girls tending 17 bars with live music all day and night featuring the rockin’ outdoor stage which can be seen from all of the decks, rooftops, and bridge.”
Bikers can put their rides in the “burnout pit” inside the bar and rev their engines while trying to blow a tire. The bar even has a tire service on hand just in case they do. Patrons also can watch 30 bands from the rooftop or surrounding area this year:
Bands this year include Blackberry Smoke, Colt Ford, Whitey Morgan and the 78s, Saliva Davisson Brothers, Cowboy Kid Rock, Whey Jennings, Jasmine Cain, Sunny Ledfurd, Piedmont Boys, Dirty Grass Soul, Josh Brannon, Rick Monroe, Devils Cut, Joe Santana, Lowlife, Backline, Kevin Nichols, Stell Country Express, Ashley Martin, Barnyard Stompers, Matt Craine, Badcash, Aaron Hamm, Power Born Rebellion, Smoking’ Joe, Burnin Blues Band, Coman Spoles, DJ Shtty Bill, DJ Kyle, Jack Schit and DJ Mayhem. See the schedule in detail.
Of course, there’s the annual wet T-shirt contest on Saturday night, the challenging poker run, the burnout contest, food trucks, vendors, and much more geared toward bikers from all around the country. Other events in the area include a craft beer fest, local comic con, and wine fest at Brookgreen Gardens.
The annual 10-day event, from May 7 to 16, does much to fuel the local economy but it also requires some extra resources. Lodging data from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce show bookings are up close to 60% this weekend, compared to nearly 40% this same time in 2019.
The City of Myrtle Beach has not released a change in traffic patterns for this year’s rally as of Friday. In the past, restricting bikers to a specific traffic loop caused controversy but also provided some relief to the congestion the large crowds can create.
Myrtle Beach police told News13 it’s planning on additional resources and traffic congestion management. However, no restrictions in traffic flow have been set up.
The Horry County Police Department will have extra officers on duty. “Uh [Highway] 31, [Highway] 22 – they’ve become race tracks. As you all know International drive, [as well],” said Chief Joseph Hill.
“We do not want to send anyone home in a body bag,” Hill explained. “We want everyone to come here and enjoy themselves.”
Grand Strand Medical Hospital officials say the hospital typically sees a spike in trauma cases around the bike weeks. Anywhere from the bike accidents themselves versus… unfortunately violent interactions with guns and knives,” said Dr. Rachel Cobos, associate trauma medical director.
Police and the state highway patrol bring in additional officers for the event. “U.S. 17 in and out of the beach, in and out of Georgetown coming in, 501, 544- those are just some of the areas we’re going to be looking at,” Master Trooper Lee said.