“Surfside Beach … “
YouTube videos from the party show huge crowds and numerous fights as more than 20,000 people crowded onto the small town’s streets and jammed its beaches, leaving piles if trash behind. One person was shot dead and three others were injured before the party was shut down.
Larry Davison has been mayor in Surfside Beach for 15 years.
“We’re prepared to handle 10’s of thousands of people on holiday weekends and we have the staff and the people and the experience and we have the signage. We had never experienced people parking in and up and down all the streets and there weren’t enough facilities for them. There weren’t enough places for them to go to the bathroom or park and so it was just a disaster.”
Davison says Surfside Beach has no problem with crowds of visitors, but says the way the party promoter went about it was illegal.
“We have an event when we have St. Patrick’s Day and it’s thousands and thousands of people and they’re all over the city and it’s an organization that comes and gets permission and been doing it for 15 years, but you can’t just announce live music and DJ’s and a party somewhere that it’s not legal. It’s absurd.”
Davison says the city is still considering whether to go after the party promoter for the cost of the beach and street clean-up.