FESTIVAL GETS THE OK
Massive three-day event to start in 2018
Despite concerns from neighbors, the Denver City Council approves a five-year agreement for a threeday weekend music festival each September at Overland Park Golf Course beginning in 2018.
Superfly Productions received official approval Monday night to launch its latest large music festival in south Denver.
The festival faced a barrage of concerns from many neighbors for months before the City Council voted 10-3 to approve the fiveyear agreement. The deal paves the way for the entry into Denver of the promoter behind San Francisco’s Outside Lands and rural Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
Most council members credited event organizers for addressing community concerns in their plans, although some still had worries, and said the event’s financial boon for the surrounding area would be significant.
The Denver contract allows for a three-day weekend festival each September at Overland Park Golf Course, with each event staged the second or third weekend of that month beginning in 2018.
Superfly promises an expansive slate of performers, from big names to Denver bands, and 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.
The council’s focus in recent weeks was on making sure the Superfly arrangement protected surrounding neighborhoods.
“I do believe this is a good contract,” said 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.”
But Councilman Kevin Flynn expressed concern about the golf course site, especially given a previous city policy on admission-based events. “Just in my gut, it seems like the wrong location to me,” he said.
Others 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. In the end, Paul Kashmann and Debbie Ortega also voted no.
In exchange for gaining control of the course for up to five weeks after Labor Day each year for setup and tear-down, Superfly will pay a lease of $200,000. The city will pocket many times that amount from a 10 percent 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.
Superfly will be required to restore the turf and all other aspects of the golf course.
Backers, including some prominent neighborhood advocates and voices from the Denver music scene, see the event as a big get for Denver. And together with the recently opened Levitt Pavilion at nearby Ruby Hill Park, the festival could elevate the prominence of south neighborhoods, they argued.