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Speedway country music festival talks pushed back to November

Sunday News Correspondent

October 21. 2017 11:47PM

LOUDON - Plans for a country music festival at New Hampshire Motor Speedway are at a standstill after town planners decided Thursday to delay discussions until November on a site plan and change-of-use application from NHMS.

"I think that would be the proper thing to do," said Tom Dow, planning board chairman.

At issue is a 1989 settlement between the speedway and neighbors that states that concerts will not be allowed on the property.

Track representatives, however, contend the agreement only applies to the land NHMS owned at the time, not land it has acquired since.

But because plans include using some track amenities during concert events, the planning board said it would consult with selectmen to determine if the proposed use is a violation of the 1989 agreement.

"Until I know that, I'm not sure I'm ready to make that judgment one way or another," said Stanley Prescott, planning board vice chairman. "I want to do what's right by the agreement."

The proposed three-day country music festival would be held sometime between June 1 and Sept. 1 of whatever year it's held. Concerts would be held Friday and Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. and ending by 10:30 p.m.

Attendees would be able to camp at the track in RV's, campers or tents during the festival.

A special exception and variance were also required to allow the event and both were unanimously approved by the zoning board last month.

The zoning approval only allows one festival a year.

Selectmen have informed the track's representatives they will require planning board approval.

Residents from Loudon and Canterbury have vocally opposed concerts. Concerns include bright lighting, increased traffic and noise - annoyances neighbors say they already contend with during other events at the track, particularly NASCAR races.

"I could not sleep with my windows shut," said Canterbury resident Hillary Nelson of the noise from the September NASCAR race weekend. "It was unbelievable."

The discussion will continue at the Nov. 16 planning board meeting at Loudon Elementary School.

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