Organizers cancel Folly Gras after violent video surfaces

The video appears to a woman kicking a security guard in the head. (Source: Facebook)
The video appears to a woman kicking a security guard in the head. (Source: Facebook)
Updated: Feb. 25, 2019 at 7:37 PM EST
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FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Leaders on Folly Beach officially announced that the annual Folly Gras celebration will no longer be held following numerous arrests and videos of violence appeared on social media over the weekend.

Folly Association of Business President Steve Carroll and Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin held a news conference Monday afternoon to confirm the news.

“We want to thank all of the people who came out to Folly Gras to have fun and we apologize for those few people who don’t respect our community and have to ruin everyone else’s good time,” Carroll said earlier Monday in a statement. “Honestly, we feel that Folly Gras has essentially outgrown its venue; the venue being our quaint little beach town. At this point, it is not what we need for the city, the businesses or the community so we’re going to put it to rest.”

Carroll added that the 2019 event drew more than 11,000 people which is a record for events hosted and funded by the FAB.

“FAB hosts several wholesome events that convey what we are all about on Folly, but regardless of our efforts, Folly Gras seems to attract some unsavory people," Carroll said. "The events we host are vital for our business community and allow us to do some great things like funding expensive fireworks shows that benefit the Charleston area as a whole. We need the events but we’re determined to find a better way to celebrate Folly Beach than what Folly Gras has become.”

Carroll also said multiple party buses pulled into the Folly boat landing before the event began and event security refused entry to “dozens” of people who were drunk before the event began.

“We think Folly Gras the brand kind of represents that a little bit to that younger demographic," Carroll said. “And Folly Beach welcomes everybody, but there’s just not a place for that on Center Street.”

The Folly Beach department of public safety is also actively investigating a fight that was caught on camera at Folly Gras on Saturday.

The video shows what appears to be a security guard on top of a man trying to apprehend him. A woman then enters the frame, kicks the security guard twice and appears to knock the guard out with the second kick.

“We currently have arrest warrants on file, but since this is still fluid, the report will not be ready for a couple days,” Folly Beach Director of Public Safety Andrew Gilreath said. “We are aware of it and it is being investigated.”

Preliminary numbers from Folly Beach Public Safety show law enforcement arrested 27 people on Saturday at the event and issued citations and warnings to 34 people. More than 130 calls were made to 911.

Director of Public Safety for Folly Beach Andrew Gilreath said every officer was working the event, along with an additional 70 private security officers. Still, it wasn’t enough to control the crowd.

“You prepare and plan for a hurricane, and then oops, the hurricane gets worse than you think it’s going to be, than you could ever plan for,” Folly Beach mayor Tim Goodwin said. “That’s pretty much Folly Gras growing and growing and growing over the years.”

On Sunday, Folly Beach mayor Tim Goodwin spoke out about the event.

“It’s very bad we have to put up with those people at a festival,” Goodwin said. “They did a good job trying to organize but like a hurricane, you plan for the worst, but it’s worse than what you plan for.”

FAB hosts other events like Taste of Folly, The Sea & Sand Festival, Follypalooza, and The Bill Murray Look-a-Like Polar Plunge as well as the firework displays on July 4th and New Year’s Eve. The funds raised are used to execute the events and a large portion of the proceeds are donated to local Folly Beach charities.

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