With Thursday’s blessing from the La Crosse County Board, the fuse is lit for what promises to be the biggest musical event the county has ever seen.

The board backed a conditional-use permit for the festival, which will be called Country Boom and will be held on the former site of the Maple Grove Country Club, W4142 Hwy. B in the town of Hamilton. The festival is expected to draw a crowd of 20,000 to 30,000 on the site, which is bigger than Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York that hosted the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969.

“This sounds like an exciting idea,” said board member Patrick Barlow before the permit was given unanimous approval. “I just hope this is a successful event.”

The festival, which will offer onsite parking, camping, food service and other amenities, will feature 10 acts per day, with music running from noon to 1 a.m.

Jon Holthaus

Holthaus

“Now that we’ve got final approval, we’ll have a meeting with our promoter and see what acts are available for next summer,” said Jon Holthaus of Country Boom LLC. “We’re hoping obviously to have some good up-and-coming bands that are making a stir in Nashville as well as some current stars that are household names.”

Festival organizers are still working with several traffic engineering firms to reduce potential for congestions on the roads leading to the festival. The county’s Highway Department will need to sign off on those plans, and the Sheriff’s Department must approve a “large assemblies” permit for the festival to take place.

The two-day festival planned for the first year, which will have a $7.5 million estimated economic impact, could expand to three days in future years if all goes well.

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