Music festival is a hole in one
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.