HEBRON —Harold Brooks is changing his Redneck beer tent into a veterans tent.
The founder and organizer of the Redneck “Blank” Pig Roast and Music Fest has not only changed out the beer tent, but he has replaced his traditional Rebel flag with a red, white and blue flag as he prepares for the 8th annual event at his Hebron farm this summer.
Brooks appeared before the Board of Selectmen at a June 25 public hearing to answer questions and submit documentation for a Mass Gathering permit which will allow him to hold the four-day event from August 2 to 5. The BYOB event draws thousands of campers and revelers to his 210-acre property on Harold Lane each summer to enjoy live music, food and games.
Selectwoman Elizabeth Olsen said the board tabled the application at its last meeting while Brooks gathered the proper documentation and set up a public hearing mandated by the town’s Mass Gathering Ordinance.
Olsen, Selectmen Chairman Richard Deans, and fellow selectman Dan Eichorn said Brooks needs to furnish documents, such as proof of liability insurance, confirmation that an appropriate amount of law enforcement is on hand, and other documents are necessary for the permit approval.
This year, Brooks said he has changed the banner flag on his event Facebook page and posters and the beer tent to promote his collaboration with the Lewiston Veterans Center.
Brooks, a contractor, told selectmen the decision came about during a construction job to jack up a barn. When he arrived at the job site, someone was baking bread, a lot of bread and Brooks said he wanted to know why.
“She’s cooking a bunch of bread. I asked her, ‘what are you cooking all the bread for?'”
The reason, he was told, was to help raise funds for the Lewiston Vet Center. The Center’s funding for the veterans annual July 4 barbecue had been cut and she was trying to help raise money.
Brooks said the decision to help the veterans was an easy one. He would simply close the beer tent, move it a little further away from the stage where live music would be playing, and put the veterans in it for a barbecue and fund raiser.
Brooks told the Board of Selectmen most of the veterans involved have seen active duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“It was easy to do it. They had a need,” he said of the decision to hold the barbecue at his Redneck event and raise funds for the group.
No one from the public appeared at the June 25 public hearing in support or against the Redneck “Blank” plan. Selectmen said they have 30 days from the date of the completed Mass Gathering Ordinance application to take action on it.
In 2012, Annual Town Meeting voters ok’d the Ordinance, some say in response to the first Redneck event. Neighboring towns such as Norway and Oxford had similar ordinances in place to govern events that have attracted thousands of people to their towns such as Norway’s FudaFest and Nateva and Oxford’s annual 250 Oxford race.
In the case of Hebron, the ordinance covers events that attract more than 300 people for an event that lasts at least six hours. Under the Ordinance, the applicant must file an application at least 60 days before the event. The applicant has to submit proof of liability insurance, a plan to remove rubbish, and a plan of the area including toilets, water sources, first aid and parking and other documents.
Once the board receives the complete application, the board must act on it within 30 days. The board can deny or grant the license and impose conditions to safeguard the public, such as showing a plan that details police protection and how private neighboring properties will be protected.
Owners of facilities, such as campgrounds that house 200 or more guests, are excluded as long as the mass gathering takes place on the property. The town is exempt, as well as public and private school functions.
Brooks announced the last Redneck event during the summer of 2017 while family members purchased the former Evergreen Valley Ski Resort in Stoneham.He plans to develop the property as a home and open the extensive grounds for a variety of activities.
Because his Hebron property is still on the market, Brooks said he decided to do another Redneck event.
Brooks told the Advertiser Democrat Monday that he has begun some structural work on the Stoneham property, but the larger plans for the property are proceeding slowly as he intended.
“This will take years,” he said of the Stoneham property’s full development.