On Monday night, after an extensive application process Bonnaroo and Outside Lands organizers Superfly Productions have received the green light from the city of Denver, CO to launch a brand new large-scale music festival in south Denver. The new event initially received considerable pushback from the area’s residents, but the City Council eventually voted 10-3 to approve the event’s five-year deal for the Colorado capitol’s Overland Park Golf Course. According to a report in the Denver Post‘s The Know blog, the majority of the council members gave credit to the seasoned festival organizer for thoroughly addressing the community’s concerns in their plans.
The approved contract allows for a three-day weekend festival at the Denver golf courseeach September, with each event staged the second or third weekend of that month beginning next Fall. For the as-of-yet unnamed event, Superfly has promised an expansive lineup of performers including local favorites and nationally touring acts, as well as heavy involvement from local food and drink purveyors. The event is expected to draw 30,000 to 40,000 people a day to the site in the first year, promoters say, with the contract capping daily attendance at 80,000 as the festival grows.
In exchange for gaining control of the course for up to five weeks after Labor Day each year for set-up and tear-down, Superfly will pay a lease of $200,000. The city will pocket many times that amount thanks to a 10% “seat tax” and other considerations, including $2 per ticket for a golf fund and $1 per ticket for a community fund, expected to net “five- to six figures” each year, promoters say. City officials project the city’s profit from hosting the festival at $2 million once attendance grows to 70,000 a day, and they say a portion of that also will benefit surrounding neighborhoods.
“I do believe this is a good contract,” said Councilman Jolon Clark, who has worked on the issue for nearly a year because Overland Park is in his district. “It’s a contract that protects the golf course, that protects the neighborhood … and brings revenue to the neighborhood that can be used for projects that the citizens have been asking for for years.”
Supporters of the new festival play, including some prominent neighborhood advocates and voices from the Denver music scene, see the event as a big get for Denver. And together with Levitt Pavillion, recently opened at nearby Ruby Hill Park, the festival could elevate the prominence of south neighborhoods, they argued.
However, there was still some understandable concern among some of the Council members. Councilman Kevin Flynn expressed concern about the chosen event site. “Just in my gut, it seems like the wrong location to me,” he said. The other two dissenters voiced concern about what they considered too few safeguards or details about logistics, which will be set out in a dozen or so plans next year.
Many nearby residents and some parks advocacy groups also voiced a variety of concerns about the new fest, including the potential environmental impact, the difficulty of getting so many people to Overland Park using fee-based shuttles and public transportation, and the potential for noise to disrupt their homes. While the yea-sayers used Levitt Pavillion as an argument for the contract, detractors looked to it as a sort of cautionary tale: Last week, resident Marilyn Barela sent a letter to council members that said the new venue, in its first several concerts, had “destroyed our peace and quiet” just north of the park.
While we won’t know how the new festival will play out for the residents of south Denver next year, this is undoubtedly good news for music fans virtually everywhere else. Denver is getting a major music festival. Rejoice!
[h/t – The Know (Denver Post)]