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Commission Axes Punk And Goth Festival

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A city commission voted this week to keep a heavy metal, punk and goth music festival out of LeLacheur Park, in Lowell, Massachusetts, angering festival supporters who claimed the decision was discriminatory.

The New England Punk, Goth and Metal Festival, planned for Oct. 1-2, has been forced to seek a last-minute relocation, but organizers have said the event will otherwise continue as planned. Organizer Matthew Marchesi said the festival had been planned for months at LeLacheur, home of the Lowell Spinner’s minor league baseball team, according to the Boston Globe.

Lowell’s License Commission denied the festival’s application unanimously, saying that Marchesi failed to clear numerous permitting and insurance issues with the city, which owns the park.

“This isn’t about the type of music or the kind of music,” Commissioner Walter Bayliss Jr. told the paper. “This is about someone running off and not doing something through the proper channels.”

The decision angered local festival supporters, who said the vote was a slap at Lowell’s youth counterculture. About two dozen supporters gathered outside City Hall during the hearing.

“I don’t think they’re opposed to a concert or a show. They’re opposed to this concert,” said Ben Burns, 25, who held a sign that read, “I vote, too.”

More than 40 bands had already agreed to perform at the festival, which had been in the planning stages since February, when Marchesi began negotiating with the Spinners to use the facility. He said more than 1,100 people were expected to attend.

When Lowell officials learned of the festival plans last month, they moved quickly to halt the event, citing potential damage to the park, poor planning and concerts about concert content.

“There are acts that, in my opinion, might not be appropriate for that venue,” said City Manager John Cox.

Marchesi told the paper that he thought he completed the permitting process a long time ago, based on conversations with city officials. It wasn’t until last month that he began hearing the city might ban the festival from LeLacheur.

“I didn’t even know we had to file these plans,” he said. “We tried to do the right things from the start.”

Marchesi and festival supporters characterized the denial as discriminatory against the types of music at the show and the people who were likely to attend. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers