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For its 20th season, Bank of NH Pavilion bringing big names to Gilford

airview concert

Courtesy photo by BNHP staff photographer


GILFORD — It was in 1996 that The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion was founded. Then known as Meadowbrook Farm, its first concert was held on Labor Day, with a temporary stage and temporary seating, with the legendary Johnny Cash as the headliner. Each year, under the leadership of founder Bob Harding, and later, his son R.J., the facility has grown in scale and prominence. Now, for its 20th season, the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion can lay claim to the title of premier outdoor concert venue in northern New England, and perhaps even further.

"It's been a little bit of progress in each year," said Marci DeCarli, marketing director for Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion.

Those "little bits" of growth have added up to something big. As of the 2014 season, the venue had grown to accommodate 8,000 fans, 5,500 under the roof and 3,500 on lawn seating. This year, the venue is offering fans the option to pitch a tent to stay overnight after the show. And, all along, the management team has leveraged the nearby attributes of the area – namely, Lake Winnipesaukee – to provide visiting artists a welcome respite in the middle of a grueling tour schedule.

Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion provides its musical guests with mountain bikes to ride through trails on its nearly 100-acre property. The backstage area provides a camp-like atmosphere, and artists can avail themselves of a boat or two to spend some time on the lake.

"Once an artist has been here, it is a place they want to return," said DeCarli. "I have to believe it's the atmosphere we provide. We want them to come here ... and be like a working vacation for the artists."

Over the years, the venue has made a name for itself by bringing in shows with strong audiences within a particular genre. For example, Meadowbrook/Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion has been nominated six times for the Academy of Country Music Association's Venue of the Year honor. The Pavilion has crossed a threshold this year, though, booking several acts that have broad, cross-genre appeal. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band, and Rod Stewart are all on the show list this year. The best example of the venue's rising profile, though, is the booking of the Dave Matthews Band for two consecutive nights in July, which sold out quickly after their announcement.

As DeCarli explained, word of the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion experience has spread within the music industry, and now artists that can sell out larger venues are willing to find a spot in their schedule for a short stay in Gilford. The Zac Brown Band has stopped several times in Gilford, going back to the Meadowbrook days. That band's management company recommended Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion to one of its higher profile clients, Luke Bryan. That management company was so pleased with the treatment of its talent that it booked a third client, The Dave Matthews Band.

"In the industry, as some of the larger artists are coming here, word of mouth spreads," said DeCarli.

The venue has also worked to cultivate a similar, fun environment for the fans.

"We enjoy having people come as soon as parking opens," said DeCarli. Tailgating in the parking area is encouraged by management, though alcohol is prohibited outside of the gates. Once through the gates, guests are entertained by small stages in a concourse area, which is ringed by food and drink concessions. Those food service areas are being improved this year, with permanent structures taking the place of tents and trailers, and a new food and beverage contractor, Best Beverage Catering Company, serving audience members.

"There's going to be an overhaul of what's available at the venue," said DeCarli.

Less visible than the new dining options, but just as important, is the new, in-house public address system installed this spring. Until this season, the venue relied on PA systems provided by the visiting artists. It was a bit awkward, with Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion staff having to ask the tour's sound crew to use their system to make announcements. More significantly, the in-house PA system will allow the venue to make broader use of the facility.

One of the new ways that the venue can be utilized is for movie nights, for kind of a drive-in movie feel but without all the cars. The first movie night, held this year as a kind of experiment, will feature a double-header of '80s classics "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club." The movie night will be held on Monday, Aug. 8, beginning at 6:30 p.m. It will cost just $5 to get in and see both films.

"I think it will be cool. I'm super excited about it," said DeCarli.

For more information, visit www.banknhpavilion.com.


The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion can seat 5.500 fans under its roof, and another 3,500 on its lawn. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)

Mayhew sues over crematory accusations


LACONIA — Peter Mayhew, owner of the Mayhew Funeral Home Inc. in Meredith, has asked the Belknap County Superior Court to silence his next-door neighbor, Douglas Frederick, owner of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, who has repeatedly told public officials and news outlets that emissions from the crematory at the funeral home carry human ashes on to his property.
On Wednesday, attorney Marc van Zanten, representing Mayhew, filed an ex parte motion, that is without Frederick's knowledge or presence, in Belknap County Superior Court seeking a temporary restraining order against Frederick and his wife, Leslyee. Justice David Ruoff denied the motion, but summoned both parties to a hearing on Mayhew's request for a preliminary and permanent injunction on Friday, May 27, in Belknap County Superior Court.
Mayhew contends that there is no evidence for Frederick's claims that "human ash" is falling from the crematory chimney and and fouling his property, yet he and his wife "loudly and publicly continue their groundless complaints."
The suit asks the court to forbid the Fredericks from making any statements that are published in a public medium that bear on either character, credibility and reputation of Mayhew, his wife or his funeral home or on the reflect directly or indirectly on the operation of the crematory at the funeral home.
Moreover, the suit claims that the Fredericks "maliciously published false and misleading statements, which falsely accuse the Plaintiffs of business conduct that is abhorrent to a civilized society, with ill will, evil motive, intent to injure and wanton disregard for Plaintiffs' rights and the consequences that were likely to follow," and seeks appropriate damages.
The brief in support of Mayhew's motion claims that Frederick began voicing public complaints about the crematory in 2013 and refers to public statements he and his wife made this month and last before the Meredith Board of Selectmen, in the pages of the The Citizen and The Laconia Daily Sun and on New England Cable News TV. Likewise, the brief alleges Frederick lodged similar complaints with the Office of the Governor, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, New Hampshire Attorney General and Board of of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers as well as with the Meredith police and fire departments.
In addition, the brief claims that in an undated letter Frederick complained to his neighbors about the "material fallout from the incinerator" and said he had "maintained samples of the fallout." It alleges that in the same letter Frederick charged that Mayhew displayed a "callous disregard to the danger he places to those who live and work around his property."
Mayhew's brief notes that twice, first in April and again in May, Frederick told the Meredith selectmen that he intended to appear and speak at at every meeting until steps were taken to quell the fallout of ash on his property.
Calling Frederick's claims "groundless," the brief states that the "crematory has been operating strictly according to state law for over five years" and adds that while Frederick claims to have collected material from his property, he admits it has not been tested and consequently has no knowledge of its composition.
The brief notes that after an on-site observation earlier this month Thomas Guertin, senior compliance assessment specialist with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services reported "he did not see smoke (much less the soot of human remains) coming from the chimney during the cremation." Nevertheless, the brief continues, The Citizen quoted Frederick as saying the cremation was "set up so there would be no way it would fail."

The Sun was unable to reach either party for comment by deadline.

Laconia PD swears in three new officers (396)


LACONIA — Three rookie police officer were sworn in at the Police Commission's monthly meeting yesterday afternoon.
Matthew Wolak is originally from Thompson, Connecticut, and graduated cum laude from Worcester State College with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Before coming to Laconia, he worked in the psychiatric unit of the New HampshireState Prison for Men.
Kira Goodheart is from Meredith and graduated from Inter-Lakes High School. She graduated summa cum laude from Plymouth State University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. She is a gymnast and a power lifter who did an internship with the Laconia Police Department.
Holly Gage is from Nashua and graduated from Merrimack High School. She has an associate's degree from Hesser College and previously worked as a loss prevention officer at J.C. Penney. She completed an internship with the Merrimack Police Department.
All three will attend the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Academy in the fall but will be doing local training until that time.

Other police news
• Chief Christopher Adams said Sgt. Gary Hubbard is working with the Laconia School District in preparing a pamphlet for schools to distribute at the end of the year informing parents and children about finding needles during their summer vacations, warning them about the dangers of touching them, and explaining to them that the police should be called to safely dispose of them.
• Adams announced that Patrol Officer Kyle Jepson was named Officer of the Year at the recent awards banquet.
•Capt. Matt Canfield said he has been in daily communication with the organizers and promoters of Laconia Fest, which is hosting live musical entertainment at the Weirs Drive-In during the annual Motorcycle Week. He said he is being kept up to date on preshow ticket sales and hopes to get fairly accurate numbers in time for the show.
Adams said that the three newly sworn officers will be working at Motorcycle Week but will be working exclusively with field training officers.
• Prevention Education and Training Officer Eric Adams is earning his Licensed Alcohol and Drug Councilor certificate and will be attend a seminar that can be used a credit toward his certification.

05-20 new cops

From left are Patrol Officer Matthew Wolak, Commissioner Doug Whittum, Patrol Officer Holly Gage, Commissioner Thomas Tarr, Patrol Officer Kira Goodheart, Commissioner Armand Maheux, and Police Chief Christopher Adams. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo - Gail Ober)