After being silent for over three years the Church of Universal Love and Music, located near Acme, Pa., prepares to rock the pews with a three-day blowout that’s fit for the angels.
Back in 2001 county officials told church founder William “Willie” Pritts he needed to obtain a zoning exemption before he held concerts on his 147-acre property, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In 2005 the county forced Pritts to cease his musical stairway to heaven when it ruled he was running a concert hall and not a church.
Pritts fired back in 2006 with a federal lawsuit, claiming the county violated his religious freedom.
Now the county and Pritts have come to an agreement – the county will allow Pritts to present shows on the property in exchange for Pritts dropping the lawsuit. That is, if Pritts and the church abide by a few rules and regs.
What kind of rules does the church have to follow? The volume cannot exceed the ambient sound level at the property line, plus no nudity and no illegal drugs.
While the noise and drug rules are understandable, we can’t help but wonder what spurred the nudity restriction. Did people doff their duds at previous concerts or were county officials just hung up on excessive displays of skin?
Nevertheless, the church begins its first musical service in more than three years with three days of music. Duped the “Pa. Potluck,” the multi-day event features performances by Donna The Buffalo and Rusted Root.
However, it’s not all bands and encores at the church. Saturday’s events will also include a speaker from the Pine Ridge, S.D., Indian reservation, and a minister will give a sermon on Sunday.
Not all local residents are happy about concerts returning to the Universal Church of Love and Music. Nancy Griger told the paper that that it wasn’t a “conducive thing” for the county, saying she had hoped Pritts had learned a lesson from his dustup with the county.
And what kind of lesson does Pritts think he learned from years of legal wrangling?
“Stubbornness can be a good thing,” Pritts told the Tribune-Review, adding that some people will complain even if all the rules and regulations are followed.
“It’s not the noise that bothers them. It’s the fact that we’re doing it that bothers them. A lot of people make things up. Some people need something to hate, and drama. At least give us a chance.”
Click here to read the entire Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article.
Click here for the Church of Universal Love and Music Web site.