Mas­sive three-day event to start in 2018

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Jon Mur­ray

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.

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