The organizers of events like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands are talking with city officials about using Overland Park Golf Course for a three-day festival featuring as many as 80 performers, starting in the fall of 2018. The promoters are seeking a five-year contract for what would become an annual event, for which the course would need to be closed for a total of three to four weeks. The city stands to make $1 million to $2 million a year from the event, proponents say.
Organizers behind famous music festivals like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands are eyeing a golf course in Denver as a possible location for an annual multi-day music festival, Denver’s NBC television station, KUSA, reported.
Promoters AEG Live and Superfly are working with the City of Denver Office of Special Events to host a three-day music festival at the Overland Park Golf Course, with the first event taking place in the fall of 2018, KUSA reported. Both organizers and the city stressed that planning is in the very early stages.
As part of the proposal, Denver’s CBS television station KCNC reported, AEG is asking the city to agree to a five-year contract for what would become an annual event.
KCNC reported that the Overland Park course would have to be closed for at least three to four weeks around the festival.
At a briefing at the golf course on January 30, KCNC addd, attendees were told the city stood to make $1 million to $2 million a year from the annual event.
According to David Ehrlich with AEG Live, preliminary plans call for 70 to 80 musical performers at the event, KUSA reported. Ehrlich likened the proposed event to Indio, Calif.’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and said local artists, nonprofits and food vendors would also be heavily involved in the ticketed event.
Organizers selected Overland Park Golf Course because of its proximity to public transit and downtown, KUSA reported. Ehrlich said that other cities are also being considered to host the festival if Denver rejects the plan.
Grace Lopez Ramirez, a community affairs liaison for the city, told KUSA that once the city has time to consider public feedback, it would likely make a decision sometime in the spring. City officials are reaching out to residents living near the park and the golfing community, with a public meeting scheduled for the evening of February 1 at a local elementary school.
Ehrlich compared hosting the festival on the golf course to the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, an event that Superfly has helped to organize for the last several years in that city’s Golden Gate Park and that attracted 210,000 people in August 2016. The promoters said their teams have demonstrated that they can take care of the environment when such events are held, Ehrlich said.
The potential festival is already attracting controversy from Denver park activists, KCNC reported.
“Parks are under attack all over the city and we have to band together to protect our parks if we want to maintain our quality of life in Denver,” said Bridget Walsh.
Walsh, who has been a frequent critic of the current city administration, added that her initial thought was that “200,000 people on a golf course is going to come to a no-good end,” because traffic and noise could be problematic along with potential damage to greens and fairways.
The fact that Denver was entertaining the idea of a massive festival on a public golf course showed that it wants to “monetize the parks,” Walsh added, and that is “on a relentless march for development.”
“They are grabbing and snatching everything they can,” Walsh said.
Mara Owen, President of the Overland Park Neighborhood Association, told KCNC that residents have been assured by AEG representatives that the Denver event would only go forward if community groups agreed it was a good idea. The city first approached area residents and assured them they would have a defining voice in the process, Owen added.
“This is something the city has gotten right this time,” said Owen. “It would also be interesting to have something that vibrant in the neighborhood. I think that’s what a lot of people who like it are saying.”
Owen felt she could support the concept, KCNC reported, if it meant that money would be coming back into the neighborhood to improve infrastructure.