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    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    Applications for Revolution Rock Festival permits expected this week

    Preston — Formal applications are expected to be submitted this week by Foxwoods Resort Casino and concert promoter AEG Live for required town event and planning permits for the proposed Revolution Rock Festival on an open field at 455 Route 2 on Sept. 17.

    And it's possible that residents might be able to petition to send the matter to a town meeting for a vote, First Selectman Robert Congdon said. While the required Planning and Zoning Commission special exception permit or site plan permit are not subject to petition for a town meeting, Congdon said “almost any” vote by the Board of Selectmen can be petitioned to a town meeting with 20 signatures.

    The Board of Selectmen would have to approve the rock concert plan under the town ordinance for special events. The PZC would have to hold a public hearing before voting on a special exception permit application.

    Joe Litvag, senior vice president of AEG Live, outlined details of the logistical plans for the proposed one-day rock festival expected to attract 18,000 to 25,000 fans to hear 15 to 20 rock artists on two or three stages.

    Litvag said tickets would be sold in advance, and would be limited to 25,000. If tickets remain available the day of the festival, they would be sold at the door. But show promoters would work hard to get the word out early once the show does sell out to avoid a potential problem of large numbers of fans coming without tickets the day of the show.

    Parking is planned for three vacant lots across Route 2 from the festival field, with some “premium” parking at the far end of the festival grounds. Many questions by Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Tom Casey centered on how the festival staff would ensure the safety of 25,000 fans crossing four lanes of Route 2 on a busy Saturday.

    Parking lots would be open at 8 a.m., Litvag said, and typically for similar festivals throughout the country, about 2,000 dedicated fans of specific bands could be expected to arrive early and likely would stand in line waiting for the gates to open to get spots near the stages. Litvag said a waiting area would be established for those fans.

    Pedestrian traffic would be funneled to a specific crosswalk, and traffic security and signs and police would slow traffic to approximately 15 mph through the concert venue. Police would stop traffic at intervals to allow pedestrians to cross, Litvag said. He compared the proposed Preston festival setting to the annual Carolina Rebellion festival at the Charlotte race car track.

    “You slow the traffic down to 15 miles per hour, and that road could turn into a parking lot in a hurry on a summer day,” Selectman Lynwood Crary said of Route 2.

    Litvag said he could not yet name the bands expected to play at the festival. General admission tickets would cost $50 to $80, and VIP tickets — which would include package deals for Foxwoods hotels — would be higher. Fifty cents from each ticket sold would be turned over to the town as a donation, Litvag said.

    Following the presentation, about 40 residents of Lynn Drive, Route 164 and other streets peppered questions at Litvag and Keith Gove, Foxwoods executive director of planning and public works facilities and Christopher O'Connell, vice president of development and resort services. Residents expressed concerns about issues from noise levels to litter, trespassing, traffic and potential drunkenness of festival-goers. Some said the festival would change their neighborhoods for good.

    Speakers would be aimed away from houses, and noise levels could range from 80 to 100 decibels. Congdon said the town requires sound monitoring at Strawberry Park campground's summer music festivals and the same would be expected at the rock festival to ensure levels stay within state regulatory limits.

    “Is it going to be loud? Yes,” Litvag said. “It's a rock show. It's not quiet.”

    AEG would provide neighborhood security, with someone stationed at the entrances of streets to prevent parking and trespassing on properties. After the festival, cleanup crews would collect any litter from the areas.

    An 8-foot chain-link fence would surround the entire 41-acre festival ground, with controlled entrances for pedestrians and vehicles. The parking lots too would be fenced to prevent patrons from entering nearby yards.

    All structures, from stages to vendor tents to the fencing, would be removed following the festival, Litvag said.


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