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Jukebox money not required

N.H. enlists B-52s in its efforts to lure Bay State firms

(Joseph Cultice for The Boston Globe)
By Jenn Abelson
Globe Staff / September 16, 2011

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New Hampshire officials are encouraging Massachusetts businesses to roam - as long as it’s north of the border.

If promises of lower taxes and less regulation aren’t enough, Granite State officials are now trying to lure Massachusetts companies with free tickets to a concert by the B-52s, the long-running band that - in addition to “Roam’’ - is known for quirky and danceable hits such as “Rock Lobster’’ and “Love Shack.’’

The event, billed as “Live Free and Dance,’’ is scheduled for Sept. 30 at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. Ten Massachusetts companies will receive free tickets to the show, a catered meal, and a ceremonial key to the beach. The catch: Prospects need to sit through a dinnertime PowerPoint presentation on why New Hampshire is better.

The invitations tout New Hampshire as a state “whose tax atmosphere and quality of life is as solid as granite.’’ More than 300 of them were sent out last week, and two manufacturing companies from the Merrimack Valley have already expressed interest, according to Mike Bergeron, a business development manager for New Hampshire’s economic development division.

Steve Boucher, the communications and legislative director who organized the event, said he wasn’t concerned about using a band whose heyday was years ago to promote New Hampshire as a place for the future.

“Really, who doesn’t love ‘Love Shack?’ ’’ Boucher said.

As for the B-52s’ members - who couldn’t be reached for comment - it’s unlikely they have strong opinions on which of the two New England states are more fertile territory for growing a business.

“The B-52s probably don’t even know they are part of the event,’’ Boucher said. “They are the way of getting people in the door.’’

And while New Hampshire officials highlighted “Roam’’ in a press release, if someone had dug a little deeper into the band’s discography, they might have come up with these more on-point lines from “Private Idaho,’’ another B-52s song:

“Get out of that state, get out of that state you’re in!

“You better beware.’’

Jenn Abelson can be reached at abelson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jennabelson. Mark Pothier of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter @markpothier.