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Court Sides With N.H. Motor Speedway in Concert Dispute

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The New Hampshire Motor Speedway is cleared to stage a country music festival this summer after a Superior Court judge ruled the terms of 1989 agreement do not apply to property acquired in more recent years.

A group of concerned neighbors and the previous owners of the Loudon race track signed the agreement, which stipulated that the track couldn’t host concerts unless they were held in conjunction with a race.

The N.H. Motor Speedway announced plans to host a standalone three-day country music festival last year, prompting a lawsuit filed by three neighbors of the track who believed the 1989 agreement they signed was still in force.

During a hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court in April, lawyers for the track argued the planned country music festival would be staged on parcels of land acquired in the mid-1990s, and that the agreement was therefore not applicable.

Judge Robert McNamara agreed, writing in an order released on Wednesday that the term “premises” used in the 1989 agreement “refers only to the land owned by the [New Hampshire Motor Speedway] at the time the agreement was executed.”

"This is absolutely terrific news for music fans, local business and for tourism in the Capitol Region," said David McGrath, executive vice president of the N.H. Motor Speedway.

The track hasn’t yet announced which weekend it plans to stage the concert, which could draw an estimated 20,000 music fans to Loudon.

Attorney Steve Gordon, who represented the plaintiffs, says they are still reviewing the court’s order and haven’t made a decision if they will appeal.

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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