Just as with travel, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into plans for in-person festivals and concerts. However, those events may slowly be returning with the help of some creative thinking. At the forefront of this comeback is the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront, which recently partnered with ReVibe Wellness Retreat, an electronic music and mindfulness gathering, to host a CDC-compliant vertical concert—the first of its kind on the U.S. East Coast.
Designed for today’s COVID climate, this innovative new experience allowed guests to view live music performances from the safety of their own hotel room and balcony. The two-day event began on Oct. 30 and wrapped up on Halloween night.
The event featured dozens of top-tier artists performing electronic dance music from two separate stages—the Vibe Stage, which was visible from the resort’s Palmetto Tower, and the Frequency Stage, visible from its Live Oak Tower. The lineup included Buku, Mersiv, TRUTH, Shlump, Ivboo, Wreckno, Manic Focus, SoDown, Break Science, Daily Bread, and Michael Menert, among others.
“The vertical event has been done successfully in European countries, so event producer Cliff Williams decided to bring this to the United States and pulled together a team of industry professionals to execute it in the safest way possible,” said Mike Frits, general manager of the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront.
Frits said that the retreat followed all social distancing guidelines established by Horry County, where the property is located, as well as guidelines and protocols established by Hilton’s CleanStay initiative. The resort prepared for 1,600 total guests, offering multiple sanitation stations in public spaces and implementing social distancing and directional signage throughout the property, Frits explained. But to listen to the music, guests simply needed to venture out onto their own private balcony. “All ticket holders [were] able to comfortably watch the event from the safety of their hotel room and balcony,” he said.
To ensure that guests adhered to the health and safety guidelines in place, Frits said security and event services staff were placed around the property and on each floor. Staff enforced a face-covering policy and made sure groups didn’t crowd anywhere onsite.
During the event, guests could purchase food from multiple dining options, including Ocean Blue Restaurant; Southern Tide Bar & Grille; The Pool Bar & Snack Shop; and seven local food trucks on-site. For guests over 21, alcohol was available for purchase at Ocean Blue Lounge, Southern Tide Bar and Grille, and event bars located in both the Palmetto and Live Oak Towers.
As an added security measure, the resort placed perimeter fencing around the property so that only ticket holders could enter the grounds for the event. “We [also created] socially distanced pods for people to be on the ground floor by the stages, but still keep in line with our social distancing policies,” Frits explained. “Patrons [were] really excited about the idea and [appreciated] all of the measures [we took] to ensure the event [was] as safe as possible while allowing people to experience the live music they have missed all year.”