An annual music festival that brings Philadelphia bands and their fans to Belgrade has prompted the town to consider an ordinance regulating big crowds.

The Planning Board prepared it in response to complaints about the noise generated by a three-day music festival that takes place off Sahagian Road in Belgrade Village, according to Town Manager Greg Gill.

“When it first started several years ago, they had a couple bands which played for a couple hours and that was it,” he said. “Now there are a number of bands, and they’re charging admission. We wanted some way to regulate that. People were moving away from their homes for two days because they couldn’t sleep.”

The proposed ordinance, which would take effect immediately if approved at the polls on March 20, would regulate gatherings of over 300 people for an hour or more, but provide exceptions for municipal and school events. It would prohibit mass gatherings between midnight and 8 a.m.

The Planning Board wrote the ordinance with help from Chris Huck, the Kennebec Valley Council of Government’s planning director.

“We tried to have this not target any one thing,” said Peter Rushton, chairman of the Belgrade Planning Board.

It would apply to “festivals, concerts, exhibitions, social gatherings, meetings and entertainment,” and require an application fee of $200, a performance bond, detailed plans, abutter notification and proof of insurance.

Seven copies of the application must be submitted at least 90 days before an event, a public hearing and a vote by the selectboard would follow.

The full ordinance is posted on the town’s website.

The music festival, known as Caravan, is organized by Matt Manser and held at a quarry on property his family has owned since the 1970s, according to information on Facebook. The first festival was held in 2009.

This year, the festival is set to begin 9 p.m. on July 30, the Facebook page says. Information about previous festivals says the admission fee – paid online – covers portable toilets, food, water and cleanup, and that the bands play for free.

The gathering site, 65 Bluebird Drive, is owned by the Manser family. A phone message left for Matt Manser at a Philadelphia phone number was not returned Friday.

No one commented on the proposal at a Feb. 17 public hearing by the selectboard.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631, or at:

[email protected]