No. 6: Big Venues, Big Fun, Big Changes
NH1'S TOP STORIES OF 2017: No. 6, Changes at New hampshire Motor Speedway, Weirs DRIVE-IN and the Bank of New Hampshire PAVILION
In March, Las Vegas tourism officials approved a deal to give the city a second NASCAR Cup race starting in 2018, taking the September race away from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
It was a loss of more than just a race. Each race week in New Hampshire brings in about $250 million into the state through people’s purchases of food, dining, hotel rooms, camping and tax-free shopping.
NHMS also employs thousands of local charities and non-profit organizations for race weekends as a fundraising opportunity. Last year, the N.H. Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities generated more than $363,000 during the September NASCAR weekend.
Despite the loss, things started looking up for NHMS when it gained a country music festival. Approval for the three day affair was granted by the Loudon Planning Board on Nov. 16.
However, it might not happen if neighbors have their way. In December, neighbors filed a petition in court to stop the event. No decision has been made on that lawsuit.
Another entertainment icon took a hit in August. Patricia Baldi, who has run the theater since 1974, said she would sell the 12-acre parcel to Al Mitchell, of Belmont, so she could retire.
Mitchell planned to tear down the drive-in to make way for condos and shops, but that didn't sit well with most residents in Laconia.
That deal fell through in September because of archaeological importance.
“I met with some people about the possibility of what might happen up there,” said state archaeologist Richard A. Boisvert at the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources at the time. “It is my understanding the sale had not gone through before I spoke with the parties.”
Boisvert said that any large development may require federal permits. Due to the necessity of following the fed's rules, the developer would need to be aware of any historical resources on the parcel.
In December, entertainment giant Live Nation bought a majority hold at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion.
President Robert “R.J.” Harding and his wife Bridget, the current executive team at the Pavilion, will run day-to-day operations and will work with Ticketmaster to integrate ticket services.
The purchase could open up the doors to more acts and has the potential to affect ticket prices.