By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – After an even split on public opinion, the Denver City Council approved a contract for a massive three-day music festival to be held at Overland Park Golf Course.
The Council held a public hearing one week ago, then debated the issue among themselves for 90 minutes Monday before approving the plans with the concert promoter Superfly. The council voted 10 to three in favor of the festival.
“There’s a lot of healing that needs to happen with people who didn’t agree with each other and very passionately talked with each other. Now we work together to making it the best it could possibly be,” said Councilman Jolon Clark who represents the district that will host the event.
Councilors discussed the largest concerns that many residents brought forward like noise and traffic issues for nearby homes, or impacts to surrounding neighborhoods, and the issue with closing a golf course to allow an alternate revenue-producing event to take place. Many appeared eager to allow the event to take place and reevaluate after the first year.
The contract is for a five years and Denver stands to make around $2 million from ticket sales. Much more money is expected to come into city coffers from tourists who attend the event.
Organizers believe the first year may have attendance around 40,000 people per day. In the future attendance could double.
“Now a lot of the hard work starts in terms of continuing to work with the community and putting these plans together,” said David Ehrlich, a consultant for Superfly who has spearheaded the company’s efforts. “We want to deliver something that Denver is proud of.”
Many Denver City Councilors praised Clark for an open and transparent process that included many public meetings and involved several departments in the writing the contract.
“This does set a precedent in the kind of benefits we expect when people come to the city and come to the neighborhoods and want to do something in our neighborhoods,” Clark said. “We have direct dollars going into the community.”
A portion of the money Denver raises will go to a nonprofit set up to help with projects like building sidewalks or improving the South Platte River in the neighborhoods around Overland Park and Ruby Hill.
“Now you have to prove at every step of the way that you understand, the concerns, that you’re mitigating the concerns, that you’re rebuilding this community,” Clark said about what he expects from Superfly.
The festival is expected to take place in late September 2018.
“This festival is intended to be a celebration of all that is great with Denver,” Ehrlich said. “They’re going to see their local restaurants there, and their local nonprofits they support with a platform, they’re going to see their local bands.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.