Marty’s Driving Range gets more flexible hours

  • Marty's Driving Range in Mason. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/22/2019 9:30:06 PM

Marty’s Driving Range has gained permission from the zoning board to hold daytime as well as daylong musical acts on its summer stage.

The Mason Zoning Board of Adjustment amended the business’ 2017 special exception Monday to allow owner Nicole Ruggiero to host musical acts on Marty’s outdoor stage during the day.

“It was a request to gain a little bit more flexibility with the hours I was allotted in my special exception,” Ruggiero said.

In 2017, the zoning board granted Marty’s a special exception to allow music on its outdoor stage ten hours a week. But the hours were limited to Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“So basically there was no leeway or much give in those hours. I wasn’t allowed to have a daytime event or a longer event,” she said.

Ruggiero said she knew she wanted to be able to hold a fundraiser or family-friendly event on the stage during the day, but said she was grateful to the zoning board for the special exception and didn’t want to push her luck by returning with a request to adjust the hours.

“I knew family events and charity events were a huge part of my future expansion plans,” she said, adding back in 2017 she decided to move forward with the permission she had in hand.

Then this year, the Uplift Music Festival, usually held in Greenfield, approached her about using Marty’s as its 2019 venue.

The date for the festival has been set for July 27 and while she and the organizers said they planned to work within the hours allowed and scale back on the number of acts, but booking Uplift lit a fire underneath Ruggiero to return to the zoning board.

Uplift is a volunteer-run annual family-friendly music festival that raised money for local non-profits that give back to the community.

“I stand for everything they do, but I’m locked into stage hours,” she said.

Monday night, Ruggiero said she got what she asked for which is the ability to host musical acts during the day and if an all-day event, up to seven hours, she is not allowed to hold any more events that week. This will allow Uplift to be the all-day music event it has always been.

“They granted exactly how I worded it, which was amazing,” she said.

Mason zoning clerk Constance Lacasse said as long as Ruggiero doesn’t exceed 10 hours of music from Tuesday through Sunday she can hold daytime events. Music is only allowed on Mondays if it is a holiday, she said. And yes, if Ruggiero holds an all-day event that prohibits her from holding any other events that week.

While she is forfeiting hours, about two to three hours when she holds an all-day event, it is worth the trade-off, Ruggiero said.

“I don’t want to bombard people,” she said. “I kind of wanted to sweeten the deal for the neighbors. … I would say pretty much across the board everyone seemed pleased with what I was offering and I’m sure made a smoother execution of the amendment.”

The 1,000-person outdoor venue is starting its summer concert series June 1 with the renowned reggae band The Wailers.

“It’s good a good way to kick of the season for sure,” Ruggiero said. “We are super excited, the legends that played with Bob Marley on my stage, for a second year running.”

Tickets are still available, $35 in advance and $39 day of for general admission.

Ruggiero said while The Wailers and other bands attract concert goers from far and wide she is excited about bringing these musical acts to her regulars.

“My locals have supported me from the beginning and they are the reason that I am still doing this and pushing away at it. It’s always exciting to have them come and see the big bands and stuff,” Ruggiero said.

Marty’s Driving Range is located at 96 Old Turnpike Road in Mason.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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