Final Premier Bluegrass Weekend at Ocean Lakes this August

After two plus decades in Myrtle Beach, SC, the Premier Bluegrass Weekend at the Ocean Lakes Family Campground is coming to an end. The 25th annual event this August 25-26 has been announced as the final one.

Ocean Lakes had been popular with bluegrass fans as the concerts were held in an air conditioned building situated less than 200 feet from the ocean. The draw for Ocean Lakes was that only those staying at either the campground or in one of the 300 rental units on site were eligible to attend the festival. Festival goers liked that the facility offered quick beach access, as well as a great many amenities either in the campground or close by for families and children.

Barb Krumm, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Ocean Lakes Family Campground, says that they are proud of what they accomplished with the Premier Bluegrass Weekend, and are a bit sad to see it go.

“After twenty-five years of bluegrass, it is bittersweet to see this event come to an end. I started this show in 1999 to increase occupancy during a lower occupancy time of year. At Ocean Lakes, we do things big, and we do things right. We wanted to bring in the bands that true bluegrass fans love, and over the last 25 years, we have brought in 77 different award-winning bluegrass bands. From the volunteers, the bands, teammates, guests, and loyal fans, we have created this family unit and have brought together so many wonderful people.”

Now that occupancy in late summer is much higher, it has become difficult for the Campground to have space for Bluegrass Weekend visitors, and ongoing vacation and long term renters.

Top bluegrass acts scheduled for this final festival include Rhonda Vincent, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, and The Malpass Brothers. Rather than an all day stage show with a dozen or more performers, Premier offers two bands each day in the late afternoon and early evening, allowing for plenty of time on the beach, at the mini golf tournament, or the morning run.

Another of the acts performing in August is Sideline, who will play their very final show as a band at Ocean Lakes. Steve Dilling, banjoist and band leader recalls how he has played here several times over the years.

“I am honored to be performing at the 2023 Ocean Lakes Premiere Bluegrass Weekend again. I have been fortunate enough to play there many times over the years. The staff at Ocean Lakes is absolutely the best. They take care of their artists, as well as their patrons, to suit any needs that they have. To top it off, I get to perform a few tunes with my old bandmate, Russell Moore. Together with the guys from IIIrd Tyme Out, we were the ‘unofficial host band’ for the first several bluegrass weekends at Ocean Lakes, so it is only fitting that we perform together for the final bluegrass weekend at Ocean Lakes.”

Russell Moore also shared his congratulations to the festival management and staff.

“This year’s 25th Annual Premiere Bluegrass Weekend at Ocean Lakes Family Campground will, no doubt, be a production that is filled with great music and an awesome time spent with friends and fans of bluegrass, and we [Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out] are very excited to be a part of it!

Even though it’s sad to know this is the last year for the bluegrass shows, I’m so honored to have been a part of the last 25 years, and can honestly say that some of my best times playing music have been at the Ocean Lakes. They have given me so many great memories that will stay with me forever!

I’d also like to thank all the staff and volunteers, past and present, for the many years of hospitality and giving bluegrass music a home with wonderful experiences for all who have attended….Kudos!”

Though this weekend bluegrass event will conclude this year, Lauren Eckersley, Communications & Social Media Specialist for Ocean Lakes, says, “We are not saying we will never have another bluegrass band play at the campground; we just will not hold the Annual Premier Bluegrass Weekend. While it was a hard decision, we felt it was the best decision.”

Ocean Lakes has the distinction of being the largest vacation campground on the east coast, and among the largest this country has to offer. They have capacity for 859 RV spots, with concrete parking spaces, plus electrical, water, and sewer hookups.

Full details about the final Premiere Bluegrass Weekend can be found online, including tickets and campsite registration.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.