Mu­sic fes­ti­val is a hole in one

The Denver Post - - OPINION - Gabriel Scar­lett, The Den­ver Post

While there’s no dearth of fun things to do in Den­ver, a pro­posed mu­sic fes­ti­val in Over­land Park hosted by one of the coun­try’s hippest pro­mot­ers sounds like a fun ad­di­tion to sum­mer­time, and an­other feather in the Mile High City’s cap.

We’re talk­ing about Su­per­fly, the in­no­va­tors who host the Out­side Lands Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in San Fran­cisco’s Golden Gate Park, and Bon­na­roo in Ten­nessee, two of the coun­try’s larger mu­sic fes­ti­vals.

The pro­moter is ex­pand­ing its reach across the coun­try, and as The Den­ver Post’s Dy­lan Owens and Jon Murray re­ported for The Know, the pro­mot­ers want to make the Over­land Park Golf Course in the Ruby Hill neigh­bor­hood in south­west Den­ver home to a three-day fes­ti­val start­ing on the sec­ond or third week­end in Septem­ber for the next five years.

The yet-to-be-named fes­ti­val would run from noon to 10 p.m. each day. No more than 80,000 peo­ple would be al­lowed to at­tend, and likely fewer would in the fes­ti­val’s early years. It’s meant to be a cre­ative event at­trac­tive to en­tire fam­i­lies. Lo­cal food and drink ven­dors would add to the spec­ta­cle.

City Coun­cil mem­bers are set to re­view the con­tract on Mon­day. Over­all, we hope they like what they see, but we would wel­come dis­cus­sion on the one big piece of the ar­range­ment that con­cerns us. Su­per­fly says it needs to take over the course for five weeks for setup and take-down. And while the pro­mot­ers would hand out $25,000 in golfer dis­counts at other city cour­ses, the time frame seems ex­ces­sive.

Su­per­fly of­fi­cials met re­cently with mem­bers of our ed­i­to­rial board and struck us as good peo­ple. In their ex­ten­sive plan­ning for fes­ti­vals, they’ve found ways to ad­dress com­mon con­cerns that a city and res­i­dents near their events might have. At least that is their in­tent, which sug­gests a will­ing­ness to ad­dress any con­cerns they haven’t yet con­sid­ered. Den­ver parks of­fi­cials trav­eled to San Fran­cisco to re­search the fes­ti­val there and of­fer glow­ing re­views of the pro­moter’s abil­ity to leave a park in good shape.

The pro­posal calls for a so­called driver­less fes­ti­val. In­stead of al­low­ing park­ing at the site — a tough prospect in the busy area along Santa Fe Drive — the fes­ti­val would re­quire at­ten­dees to leave their ve­hi­cles in lots in cen­tral Den­ver, like, per­haps, the Bron­cos sta­dium, and shut­tle in. Other op­tions in­clude a ride-share kiosk, the light rail sta­tion near the park, and the South Platte bi­cy­cle trail on the west side of the park, as there will be bi­cy­cle valets.

Su­per­fly would pay the city $200,000 to rent the course, and an ex­tra $5,000 for every day be­yond the five-week pe­riod. The Golf En­ter­prise Fund would get $90,000 for land­scap­ing. Pro­mot­ers would pay all the city’s la­bor costs at the park. The city also would get 10 per­cent of ticket sales and the golf fund would get $2 from every ticket sold. An­other buck would go to the Over­land course and sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods.

An on-site com­mand cen­ter and 24-hour hot­line would serve to pro­vide se­cu­rity and rapid re­sponse to com­plaints from neigh­bors. Sound lev­els would be strictly mon­i­tored at the park and in a nearby neigh­bor­hood to keep the am­pli­fiers at city sound lim­its.

Fi­nally, Su­per­fly makes use of spe­cially de­signed ve­hi­cles to pro­tect the grass, and would fence off greens, nat­u­ral ar­eas and tee boxes. The main stage would be on the driv­ing range, with other stages on the fair­ways.

Sounds like a good time to us. We hope Su­per­fly has a chance to live up to the hype. The mem­bers of The Den­ver Post’s ed­i­to­rial board are Wil­liam Dean Sin­gle­ton, chair­man; Mac Tully, CEO and pub­lisher; Chuck Plun­kett, ed­i­tor of the ed­i­to­rial pages; Me­gan Schrader, ed­i­to­rial writer; and Co­hen Peart, opin­ion ed­i­tor.

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