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The end for Hard Rock/Freestyle Music Park?

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Published: March 29, 2010 at 2:25 PM

The once-anticipated South Carolina theme park appears to have run its last ride.

So sayeth the lawyer.

Anyone still care enough to react?

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on March 29, 2010 at 2:36 PM
:(
From Adam Dodds on March 29, 2010 at 2:37 PM
Should have been built in either Fl or Houston. Then it would have done very well.
From 99.194.126.137 on March 29, 2010 at 2:42 PM
This sucks. That park had great potiential. Very good planning and alot of money went into it. Myrtle beach has plenty enough tourist to keep it going. I do believe that there wasen't enough advertisement for a park its size, however I think the biggest trouble the park had was prying the tourist death grips off of the beach and the lame carnival rides that lined it. Glad I got to go when I did though. Hope someone grabs up the Time Machine coaster. That was a fun smooth coaster.
From Brandon Mendoza on March 29, 2010 at 2:48 PM
I too think that location may have been a huge reason why it failed. Or maybe the number of theme parks demanded in the US is maxed out as it is? I'd like to see a Supply and Demand analysis on theme parks... maybe by region or something.
From Joshua Counsil on March 29, 2010 at 2:52 PM
What an epic fail of a park. From day 1, we've predicted problems with the location, management, and marketing.

I would care, but it seems like nobody in the company had any passion for this project. Seemed too much like nothing more than an investment.

From TH Creative on March 29, 2010 at 2:56 PM
The idea of a Hard Rock attraction (or "Land") would have worked really well as part of an established park ('Rip, Ride, Rock It' anyone?).

But as an entire park in a seasonal tourist area?

Not a chance.

From Robert Niles on March 29, 2010 at 3:05 PM
If Hard Rock Park had been, from the beginning, a Herschend or Koch family production - or the work of someone with a similar passion for customer service - it would have succeeded, despite the challenges of its location and theme.

But too many people were involved with the project, representing too many constituencies. So, from where I sit, it looks like so much energy went into keeping those folks working together that there wasn't enough left over to devote to marketing to and serving the park's potential customers.

In the end, HRP/FSMP might go down with the industry's highest-ever ratio of billable legal hours to actual paying guests.

From Vickie Boyd on March 29, 2010 at 3:16 PM
It was doomed from the beginning. Too many hands in the pot. But I hope someone grabs up those coasters. They are nice and would go well in another themed park.
From Michael Smith on March 29, 2010 at 3:25 PM
I was excited when I first heard the plans for this park. It had really bad timing with the economy. I think it would have taken a different business model to make it work.

I think a lot of struggling parks should look into going back to using tickets. Having no gate admission or a very low one, and charging people for only what they ride. If you charge $80 a day and your park is full, then fine. But if your attendance is way down, wouldn't it be better to get people into your shops and restaurants that wouldn't be there if they had to pay the 80 bucks? I was in SC during the first year of this park. I had some money, but not enough to drop on admission. I would have loved to come in and walk around, have a meal, maybe pay to ride a couple of rides.

From Alex Gamso on March 29, 2010 at 4:17 PM
Location was the biggest issue. We almost got lost trying to find it! A place in FL would have been much better. I think the Hard Rock theme was better also. I miss Nights in White Satan!
From Tim W on March 29, 2010 at 4:22 PM
Big shock. This park was doomed from like the first 2 months. There were people telling us in myrtle beach selling these ticket packs not to go there when i was there 2 years ago. Was doomed to failure!
From James Rao on March 29, 2010 at 4:23 PM
So, who gets the rides?
From Joshua Counsil on March 29, 2010 at 4:32 PM
James -

I'll throw in a couple hundred, if there are no takers. You in?

From Mike Duchock on March 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM
I visited the park twice, once each as HRP & FMP. This is a top notch park with theming better than most regional theme parks and is very easy to navigate. Granted it didn't have very many attractions but it still had a good mix and ample room to expand.

The problem was that both of the previous ownership groups didn't have great expertise in running a major tourist attraction nor did they understand the Myrtle Beach market.

I firmly believe that this park can succeed under the right leadership and with an owner who is willing to invest capital to expand and hire the right staff. I would love to see a family owned company with an established track record (I'm looking at you Herschends) come in to save the park.

From Chris S on March 29, 2010 at 5:29 PM
I never went to the park, so I can't say too much for or against the park itself. What I can say is that I think there is a market for a good music-themed park (where it should be is another question.) Also, the first mistake the new owners made when taking over Hard Rock Park was giving it a terrible new name. Freestyle Music Park? That was the best they could think of?
From 72.147.151.186 on March 29, 2010 at 5:45 PM
Can it be moved to Kentucky Kingdom? lol
From 130.127.255.239 on March 29, 2010 at 6:53 PM
I believe marketing was a HUGE park of the parks failure. Living in upstate, SC, I have many friends who go to Myrtle beach at least once a year with family/friends/etc (multiple demographic groups) and still have no idea there ever was/is a HRP or FMP.

I have a nice pic of the Led Zeppelin ride as one of my rotating backgrounds and a friend from SC who had been to Myrtle Beach at least 3 times since the park was there says:

him: "that looks like a cool ride, where is that at"
Me: "It's in Myrtle Beach at HRP/FMP"
him: "There's a park in Myrtle Beach?"

marketing fail if you ask me.

From James Rao on March 29, 2010 at 7:03 PM
Deal, Josh. Heck, I'd pay $100 for Zeppelin/Time Machine alone. It would look like nice out in front of Worlds of Fun, replacing that crappy up-charge go-cart thingie.
From 76.26.176.185 on March 29, 2010 at 7:21 PM
I worked at a Hard Rock concert venue, and the only time I EVER heard of the park was at a staff meeting. Granted, the Hard Rock I worked at was at Universal Orlando, but still, marketing failure big time.
From Derek Potter on March 29, 2010 at 7:28 PM
It's never gotten the chance to succeed. I was there when it was Hard Rock Park, and I was impressed. The visuals were good, the shows were good. It needed a few more attractions, but the ones that were there were great. As a theme park, it could have been a success given a little time. The actual location of the park wasn't the best in the Myrtle Beach area, but it was in the middle of a huge tourist market and had big potential given the right management.

It opened in the midst of the worst economic crisis in recent history, and had owners who severely mismanaged the financial side of the operation. To go through as much money as they did while operating the first year is crazy. As it turned out though, later lawsuits brought to light that the Hard Rock executives had pretty much checked out about a month after the park opened. When Freestyle took over the park, they were saddled with millions of dollars in invoices from hundreds of businesses that were never paid by Hard Rock and who wouldn't provide services until they were paid. The new owners were then taken to court by the former owners, who despite going bankrupt and selling the park, filed a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement and intellectual property rights. They now have lost their biggest investors and are now involved in a lawsuit with BMW, who isn't happy with their use of the Mini Cooper...ironically (or not) another decision that former management was responsible for.

It's a real shame....a real shame, that such a beautiful park with endless potential has had such poor management. All it needed was a capable leader and some money. I'll say it again. It's a real shame.

From 76.122.58.19 on March 29, 2010 at 9:39 PM
The passes were too high.........The park was too small and not enough attractions to charge that much.......
From Steven Lee on March 29, 2010 at 11:11 PM
I wish someone like Herschend Family Entertainment would purchase the park and turn it into something great. They are already in the area with a partnership with Dolly Parton in Dixie Stampede in Myrtle Beach so right there you have an advertisement in their brochure as well as combo tickets that can be sold together very easily. Plus Dixie Stampede and Dollywood Vacations in Pigeon Forge has combo deals with Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg so the music park could really create some great relations with area attractions for some free cross promotion since Ripley's has a Myrtle Beach aquarium as well. They could probably get the park for $20-$30 million which isn't bad for a park that originally cost $400 million! The parks they own are well known as is and are only growing in popularity. I've heard the properties they have purchased such as Adventure Aquarium (Camden, NJ) and Wild Adventures (Valdosta, GA) both have gotten much better since they acquired the locations.

Just some thoughts though.

From 98.122.18.73 on March 31, 2010 at 1:37 PM
The biggggest problem is the Ghost Mall that sits in front of the park. If they would have bulldozed all that extra property the park could got alot more investors looking this way. Somebody with money could snap this up & with a little work could buy the land & expand so it would be more visible from the main highway leading into Myrtle Beach. Both of these so called owners had to plead for funds, which never appeared. Myrtle Beach needs this park but, no one is willing to take the chance. even if only a summertime park. This ain't Fla....

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