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Weekend-long concert approved for NHMS, but with conditions

Union Leader Correspondent

November 16. 2017 8:30PM
A general view of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway is shown in this 2013 photo. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports/File)

LOUDON — A weekend-long concert at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was approved by the town’s planning board Thursday night after a series of heated discussions.

The planning board voted unanimously to approve the concert, but with conditions. This was a one-time only approval.

“If they don’t come back to us, they’re not doing another one,” said planning board member George Saunderson.

The three-day country music concert series would be held at the track sometime between June 1 and Sept. 1 next year. The concerts will be held from Friday to Saturday, and begin at 2 p.m. All shows must end at 10 p.m., with quiet hours starting at 11 p.m. There will also be no firearms allowed on-site.

Attendees will have the option to camp at the track for the event either in RVs, campers or tents.

“We believe this event will be a highlight of the 2018 summer adding value and economic impact to the State of New Hampshire,” said David McGrath, executive vice president and general manager of NHMS, in a statement. “This will be a terrific family-friendly event and we promise to work hard to make sure the festival is a success.”

A special exception and variance were needed to allow for the event to be held, both of which were unanimously approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in September. That approval only allows the track to hold one concert a year as well.

Residents from both Loudon and Canterbury were vocal in their opposition to the concert week. Their main concerns were about lighting, traffic and sound — issues they say they deal with already during other events held at the track like the NASCAR races.

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

Many had also brought up concerns about a 1989 settlement between the speedway and local residents. The lawsuit settlement states that no concerts are allowed to be held on the property, though track representatives said that only applies to the land NHMS owned at that time and the land that the concert is proposed to be held on was acquired after the settlement.

Some have said they are in favor of the concert, though.

State Rep. Charlie St. Clair said that he has spoken to many of his constitutions about what they thought of the proposal. Though they don’t live in Loudon, he said the feedback he got was that it would be good for the Lakes Region.

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