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Archive for the ‘Fantasy Harbour’ tag

Hard Rock Park / Freestyle Music Park, US 501 at Myrtle Beach: 2 Jan 2009   16 comments

Posted at 1:17 am in Uncategorized

Well, given the events of last Friday, I suppose it's time to do a closing on South Carolina's biggest white elephant. That's the date that Hard Rock Park "chose" to move from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation. Why?

The park, which said it was worth $400 million when it opened in April, was unable to attract any bidders willing to pay at least $35 million for the park at a Dec. 15 auction, according to court documents.

I find that amazing, even with all the other financial beef-wittery that has come to light lately. The Sun News's stories on the park are filled with comments from the locals to the effect that they could have told the owners what was going to happen, although it also appears that many people did tell them. One of the articles (which I don't have a link to right now) detailed the park's origins: Apparently the pitchmen were thrown for a loop when they were told that the Hard Rock empire was approachable for branding the rock-and-roll park they were pitching. The problem was that they weren't pitching a rock-and-roll park, but a "standard" amusement park, and weren't planning to pitch to Hard Rock, but they brainstormed some rock-related ride names on a lunch napkin and sold the concept. That's the kind of story that becomes a legend if a venture succeeds, and a cautionary tale if it doesn't...

In the event it seemed that the owners were better at promoting to corporations than to tourists, and aside from the unforseeable blunder of trying to launch a venture in the annus horribilis of 2008, they priced tickets too high ($50 + $10 parking), didn't advertise, and didn't promote with local hotels.

I had two chances to visit the park. The first was on the Fourth of July 2008, when I was taking pictures of Waccamaw Pottery. As I was standing in the parking lot, I could see the Led Zeppelin roller-coaster running in the distance, but it was about lunch time, and after that, I ended of taking a helicopter ride over the beach instead. I also had a week to myself at the beach in August, and thought about taking in the park then, but it was hot, I didn't feel like getting on 501 in tourist season, and I figured it would be better in October, but that was not to be as the doors closed in September.

Oh well, it's only rock and roll!

UPDATE: Here's a link from commenter "Beach Guy" that has the origin details I mentioned.

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