It's time to dust off the old cowboy hat and flip-flops.

Carolina Country Music Fest
Credit: One Life Photography/Carolina Country Music Fest

Festival season is upon us. Lineups are being released, tickets are beginning to sell out, and attendees are counting down the days—right down to the very last minute—until the gates open. If you love music, we can all agree that festivals are the place to be during summer. Still, one Southern music marathon hasn't received nearly the same attention as others, even though it promises the same palpable sense of excitement and a boot-scootin' good time. And that underrated gem isn't in the desert or on a farm. No, the Carolina Country Music Fest is held right on the shores of the Grand Strand's Myrtle Beach.

In 2015, we saw this brand new festival make its mark in the South, hosting more than 30 country music acts. And this year 20,000-plus fans will descend on The Emerald City on Thursday, June 8, for the third annual, four-day event, which brings all-star musicians to the coastal city for a weekend filled with 24/7 live entertainment and booze. Here, the Atlantic Ocean and endless stretches of sand are as much a part of the show as the pyro torches and wailing guitars. Considered a vacation in and of itself, many concert-goers are opting for this beachside experience instead of braving the massive crowds at Bonnaroo in Manchester or the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, both occurring the same weekend as the Carolina Fest. And let's face it, one thing neither of them have is the beach.

Where else can you bond with a group of complete strangers over your shared love of honky-tonk tunes, country twang, catchy melodies, and storytelling at its finest? Not to mention, the opportunity to take in the view of clear water, a growing skyline, and one of the tallest Ferris wheel in between sets. And if that's not enough, here are seven more reasons why you should make the Carolina Country Music Fest your next summer getaway.

Kenny Chesney Carolina Country Music Fest
Credit: Photo: One Life Photograpraphy/Carolina Country Music Fest

1. You get to hear some of the best country music four nights in a row.

Although CCMF is a newbie on the summer festival scene, there have been some heavy hitters to rock the stage over the past two years, from the likes of Tim McGraw and Keith Urban to Florida Georgia Line and Kelsea Ballerini. And this year's lineup of cornerstone acts looks to be no different, with up-and-comers performing and headliners such as Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, and Gretchen Wilson all gracing the main stage.

2. You'll eat some delicious Southern food.

If you're someone who lives to eat, there won't be a shortage of down-home meals at nearby restaurants. That same coastal fare will definitely be served by vendors on site.

3. You don't have to worry about carrying a wallet or purse—well, sort of.

Of course you'll still have to pay for your food, drinks, and merchandise, but your wristband acts as your own personal credit card, stashed right on your arm. This way, you won't have to wear the god-awful fanny pack or make frequent trips to the ATM when your cash gets low.

4. Um, beer.

Two stages are named after Jack Daniel and Coors Light. Expect a steady stream of beer to be flowing all weekend long, just don't forget to pack your growlers!

5. You can experience Myrtle Beach like a local.

In addition to the beach, why not see a show at The Carolina Opry, take a ride on the SkyWheel, visit the Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, or take a stroll on the Boardwalk while you're in town?

6. You'll meet some new people from all over and your favorite stars.

People will be traveling from all over the country to celebrate, and you'll be dancing shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded festival-goers all weekend. Might as well get cozy and make some friends while you're there. And you'll probably have the opportunity to meet the performers, as some of them venture into the crowds for selfie moments.

7. There's free stuff.

When you get tired of watching amazing performances (c'mon, as if that'll really happen), there are plenty of activities to engage in beyond the music, like games, a Coca-Cola tasting, and Silent Disco line dancing.

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There's still time to get your tickets and register your wristbands for this star-studded, oceanside event. There's even something in it for Mama, too! Details and more on this special promotion available at