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N.H. Motor Speedway Confident It Will Win Lawsuit Over Country Music Festival

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A group of residents are taking legal action to try to block a three-day country music festival scheduled for next summer at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, but officials for the track say they are confident the event will go on as planned.

In a petition filed this week in Merrimack Superior Court, the residents say the concert would  violate an agreement signed in 1989 by the track’s previous owners that no music events can be held unless they are “in conjunction” with an actual race.

“That’s what the original agreement said. We’re just asking the court to enforce it,” says Jim Snyder, one of the three petitioners to challenge the concert.

A Canterbury resident, Snyder says the noise at his home, which is less than a mile from the Motor Speedway, is a nuisance while the track is in use.

Text from a 1989 agreement signed by a group of residents, the previous owners of the racetrack, and the Town of Loudon.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway general manager David McGrath says that the 1989 agreement doesn’t apply to this concert because of where on its grounds the event will be staged.

“The land that we are holding this concert on wasn’t even owned by the Speedway when that agreement was signed back in 1989,” he says.

The Speedway is preparing a legal response to the petition.

“In my mind it is really simple,” says McGrath. “They stand on one side and feel that we can’t hold...a concert, and we feel we can. We just need to get in front of a judge and get that decided,” adding he’s absolutely confident the Speedway would prevail.

After lengthy public hearings earlier this year, the Loudon Zoning and Planning Board approved a multi-day concert for 2018. The request was made following the Speedway parent company’s decision to relocate one of the two major NASCAR racesfrom Loudon to its facility in Las Vegas.

The country music event would draw an estimated 20,000 fans to the Speedway. 

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. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.
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