Carolina Country Music Festival 2023, Myrtle Beach, SC, June 9-11, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 22nd, 2024  

Jessica Rose, Bret Michaels, Briana Calhoun, Tracy Lawrence

Carolina Country Music Festival 2023, Myrtle Beach, SC, June 9-11, 2023,

Jun 15, 2023 Photography by Visit Myrtle Beach Web Exclusive
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Myrtle Beach boasts a unique culture that remains omnipresent beyond tourist season. Whether it’s the allure of the 60-mile coastline that shows off the endlessness of the Atlantic Ocean or a boardwalk full of attractions including the famous Skywheel, the city is the perfect location for visitors to make unforgettable memories and for locals to set their roots. Music venues, like House of Blues and The Bowery, are sparkling gems in their own right. The former offers a slew of interesting events outside of concerts, including a moving Gospel brunch that places black folks at the forefront with soul stirring renditions of spiritual classics.

The latter provides an elusive setting for local and national artists to light up the stage with their talent. One of Myrtle Beach’s biggest annual attractions is the Carolina Country Music Festival. It debuted in 2015 and drew over 20,000 attendees. Over the years, past acts have included Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, Lady A, Sam Hunt and Brittney Spencer.

This year’s festival took place from June 9-11 and featured an array of stars, including Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Brooks & Dunn and Hardy. However, the best part of the festivities was a mix of smaller musicians who dazzled onlookers with their prowess and larger acts who proved that their onstage flair is unmatched. Here are a few of our favorite moments from CCMF.

Bret Michaels honored veterans during his spirited set.

The former Poison frontman possesses a storied career in the realm of music and has also left an indelible mark in television. Balancing both endeavors requires a tremendous amount of charisma and Bret Michaels undoubtedly brought all of that charm to Carolina Country Music Festival. He delivered hits like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Unskinny Bop” and “Talk Dirty To Me.” Michaels’ hour-long set was as invigorating as it was fun. For “Something To Believe In,” the star brought local veterans onstage to commemorate their contributions–which served as the high point of his performance.

Briana Calhoun embraced her imperfect past.

Singer/songwriter Briana Calhoun used her time at Carolina Country Music Festival’s ZYN stage to not enchant onlookers with her raw musical approach, but floated authenticity as her most alluring trait. Calhoun not only played songs close to her heart, but told her personal tale of redemption and how being incarcerated changed her life. Her sincerity was palpable as she performed her 2021 hit single “If These Boots Could Talk” (she wore her grandmother’s boots during her set). She also had no problem keeping it real about naysayers when she did a live rendition of “Let Jesus Drive.”

DJ Slim McGraw kept the energy high all weekend long.

It’s not easy to man the ones and twos for tens of thousands of hot and sweaty festival goers, but DJ Slim McGraw has turned it into an art form. He has played CCMF on numerous occasions, with McGraw’s sets serving as the perfect dance break in between artists. One of the best parts of his song selections was the range. From Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like A Woman!” to Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” to MIMS’ “This Is Why I’m Hot” and Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” the renowned personality knows how to throw a party and more importantly–he knows how to keep it going.

Tracy Lawrence remained truly humbled by his fans.

Singer Tracy Lawrence took CCMF by storm when he performed during the Thursday night kick-off concert. The night was stacked with impressive talent aside from Lawrence and included the likes of Hardy, Chase Matthew and Dylan Marlowe. The star has made cameos at the festival in the past and reminded the audience of how much of a consummate entertainer he sincerely is. In between songs like “Alibis” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” he thanked everyone in attendance for making his career possible. As fans danced and sang along to his biggest hits, it was obvious that the feeling of appreciation was mutual.

Jessica Rose spent quality time with the crowd at CCMF.

Country darling Jessica Rose not only graced the stage at Carolina Country Music Festival, but she made it a point to fully immerse herself in the experience. The artist, who is based out of New Jersey and Nashville, entranced the crowd with a pulsating rendition of “Whiskey Knows” and teased her new single “Live To Learn” (which is out this Friday). When she wasn’t giving her all to fans, Jessica Rose was spending time with them. Alongside her band, the artist posed in front of photo backdrops, handed out autographs and rode the mechanical bull. In short, the group enjoyed everything CCMF had to offer.


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