PARIS — A weekend festival in Norway can go ahead as planned, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Justice William Brodrick denied the town’s request for a temporary restraining order against Yagger Fest, a planned three-day event on Yagger Road off Route 118 in Norway. The town argued that the event’s organizer, George Emerson, had not cleared the event with the Board of Selectmen; Emerson said the event is not large enough to require such an action.

Under the Norway festival ordinance, which passed in 2007, organizers of events expected to draw 250 or more people would need to pay a $100 application fee. Organizers are also required go before the selectmen to ensure that health, safety and security concerns, as well as any concerns brought up by neighbors, have been addressed. Town Manager David Holt said the board has waived the fee for nonprofit organizations.

According to advertisements for Yagger Fest, the event will run from Friday to Sunday, with three local bands playing on Saturday and open mic spots and disc jockeys playing at other times. Emerson said the festival will take place on 125 acres of land he owns, and camping is allowed.

“This is to promote local entertainment and music,” said Kevin Frost, who will be a DJ at the festival. “We’re not doing anything other than that.”

Emerson said he has received a fire permit for the event and will provide trash removal, portable toilets and volunteer security. A waiver to be presented at the festival stipulates a set of rules for attendees, including that no one under 21 can drink alcohol, illegal drugs are not allowed, and people must stay off neighboring properties.

“We didn’t get a permit because we were pretty confident that we were going to keep it under 250 people,” Emerson said.

Town attorney Geoffrey Hole said he believed the event qualified under the festival ordinance because 250 tickets had been printed for it. He also said there was a possibility that the festival could get out of control due to its remote location.

Emerson said he has given away 100 tickets to the event, and none have yet been sold from Creative Media in Norway or K’s Glass House in Paris. Frost said the intent was to limit ticket sales so the number of people at the event, including band members and organizers, was below 250.

Brodrick said he did not believe the festival would exceed 250 people, and denied the restraining order. The ruling was followed by a brief argument between Emerson, Frost and Chief Robert Federico of the Norway Police Department after Federico said the police would want to make sure Emerson abides by his bail conditions at the event.

Emerson, who was arrested on May 10 on a charge of operating under the influence, is under conditions that he must not possess or consume alcohol. He said he would not attend the event because he could be charged with possession if other people have alcohol on his property.

Frost said this is the first year the festival is being held, and that the organizers plan to learn from the event and expand it in the future. He said they will follow the festival ordinance when they expect greater numbers.

Holt said the town also unsuccessfully sought a temporary restraining order against FudaFest, an annual event put on by Aaron Fuda of Norway to protest marijuana laws. He said the town may seek to revise the festival ordinance due to the difficulties of enforcing it in court, and that one possible solution would have organizers of smaller events meet with the town to discuss their plans at no cost.


“We’ll have to take a look at the ordinance and see how it might be changed to make it better to enforce,” he said.


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