One of the best music venues in Myrtle Beach isn't a concert hall, auditorium or a even bar; it's a railroad station. The Myrtle Beach Train Depot has been closed to rail traffic for years, but the restored historic building has come alive with music over the past decade, thanks to the South by Southeast (SXSE) Music Foundation.
Formed in 2003 by a group of local music lovers, SXSE has served the dual purpose of raising money for music in education programs and attracting and promoting Americana-style music on the Grand Strand, the famous stretch of South Carolina beaches.
One of many musical acts that South by Southeast has brought to the Myrtle Beach stage — Photo courtesy of South by Southeast
The group's biannual musical events have raised thousands of dollars and hundreds of instruments to local schools and organizations, while putting on some of the most memorable concerts by regional and national touring acts, such as the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Randall Bramblett Band and Webb Wilder, just to name a few. And, based on the recently released spring concert lineup for 2014, SXSE continues the tradition of bringing outstanding bands to the small but spirited venue.
On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Virginia-based trio Wild Ponies will take the stage to share tunes from their latest album, Things That Used to Shine, which is climbing the Americana music charts. On March 29, the Randall Bramblett Band is back by popular demand after rocking the Train Depot during their last visit. The jam-rock outfit returns after touring and recording with the likes of the Allman Brothers and Steve Winwood.
The combination of great music and a unique venue creates a wonderful atmosphere for music lovers. The events (called "music feasts") start with a Southern-style pot-luck dinner, in which SXSE members and regular visitors prepare covered dishes to share with all in attendance.
Enjoy home-grilled venison steaks, chicken bog and other regional favorites while also tasting the fare of the bi-monthly restaurant sponsor. The event is also catered by New South Brewing, which used to host the concerts in its brewery and still provides all-you-can-drink beer during the shows.
The Myrtle Beach Train Depot is now a concert venue — Photo courtesy of City of Myrtle Beach
The events moved from the Brewery to the train station after a preservation and restoration project on the building, which now features hardwood floors, sliding station doors and unbelievably sweet acoustics. The venue only holds about 150 people, so the concerts are intimate and guests feel a part of the show. SXSE members include some of the movers and shakers of the local music scene, making it a great place to meet and eat with folks of similar tastes.
SXSE - a twist on the Austin, TX, famed South by Southwest Festival - is a nonprofit group dedicated to spreading music and goodwill in the community. Learn more about it at the organization's website. The Myrtle Beach Train Depot is located at 851 Broadway Street in downtown Myrtle Beach.