The Denver city council recently approved a request by Superfly Productions to put on a massive new music festival on the city-owned Overland Park Golf Course. The event promoter is already well-known for putting on similar festivals, such as Tennessee’s Bonnaroo.
The vote was 10-3, but the final tally belies how controversial the festival and its negotiation process was for the city and with residents. The site itself already required a special exemption for use as the event is admission-based, will likely require the site for at least five weeks, and attract 30,000 to 40,000 people in the first year and up to 80,000 in subsequent years. So yes, this is a large disruption for residents.
However, city officials and the festivals organizers pointed out the economic boon to the city the festival could be. Not only will the economic activity of thousands of people help the city, but the terms of the deal also have Superfly paying a lease of $200,000, a 10% seat tax, and other considerations, including $2 per ticket for a golf fund and $1 per ticket for a community fund. But wait- there’s more! Festival organizers plan to include many local Denver musicians as well as bringing in national headliners, and they plan on using many Denver-based vendors and businesses to provide food and drinks to the festival.
The south Denver area has long been a quieter, more residential part of the city compared to the city core, but this new festival is part of a larger movement towards growing the area economically through the music industry. The recently opened Levitt Pavilion in Ruby Hill Park is another example of the increasing popularity of the area. One local resident wrote in a letter to the city council objecting to the festival that the Levitt Pavilion had already “destroyed our peace and quiet” in the surrounding areas.
Of course, the noise concerns will never be completely addressed to the satisfaction of long-term residents as south Denver develops a new relationship with the music industry, and the development could bring great investment to the area.
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