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Loudon Racetrack Pitches Three-Day Country Music Festival

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Loudon Zoning Board heard more than four hours of arguments Thursday both for and against a variance request made by the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The track is hoping to host a three-day country music festival next summer.

The event would draw an estimated 20,000 music fans per day, with an estimated 5,000 attendees camping out on the Speedway grounds.

“Our team is geared specifically for these types of events, and have honed our skills over the years, and to not be boastful, but we are pretty good at it,” said David McGrath, the Speedway’s general manager.

Earlier this year, owners of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway decided to move one of its two annual NASCAR races to Las Vegas. McGrath says the venue was already considering a country music festival before that announcement, however, the loss of revenue clearly makes bringing in new business to the track a priority.

Residents filled the Loudon Elementary School gymnasium to hear the track’s plans, and, in some cases, to express concerns.

Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR
Residents of Loudon and Canterbury weighed in on the Speedway's plans for a country music festival.

That included Carole Soule, who is opposed to music running well after dark.

“At night is when we want to sleep and be quiet, and not have overwhelming noise,” she said.

Opponents also point to a 1989 agreement signed by the track that prohibits concerts that are not held in conjunction with racing events.

After hours of testimony, the Zoning Board put off a vote until more documents could be reviewed.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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