By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) – A proposed three-day music festival to be held on the city of Denver’s Overland Golf Course would close the course for at least three to four weeks according to organizers.
CBS4 first learned of the proposed music festival which is being discussed with neighborhood groups and stakeholders who live near Denver’s Overland Golf course, a public course.
Concert giant AEG Live and the City of Denver are gauging neighborhood interest in the event which would start in 2018. At a briefing Monday night at the golf course, attendees were told the city of Denver stood to make $1 million to $2 million a year from the annual event. AEG is asking the city to agree to a five year contract.
The potential festival — which is not a “done deal” — is already attracting controversy from Denver park activists.
“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, a parks activist who has been critical of the Hancock administration’s use of parks.
Concert giant AEG has been quietly discussing the proposed festival with community groups in southwest Denver. Citizens briefed on the proposal say the Denver festival would be modeled on the annual Outside Lands festival in San Francisco, a three-day summer event that has been held for years and attracted 210,000 people last August.
The Outside Lands event features hundreds of musical and comedy acts and high-end food and art shows. It’s held in Golden Gate Park.
Mara Owen, president of the Overland Park Neighborhood Association, said residents have been assured by AEG representatives that the Denver event would only go forward if community groups agreed it was a good idea. She said the city first approached area residents and assured them they would have a defining voice in the process.
“This is something the city has gotten right this time,” said Owen, who said she was pleased the city first came to neighborhood groups for input and collaboration. “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.”
She said while she is waiting to hear more information and get more feedback from her neighborhood, she could support the concept if it meant money coming back into the neighborhood to improve infrastructure.
Owen said she knew the festival proposal would generate controversy.
“When you bring that many people in here, there’s going to be controversy, yeah.”
That’s already started. Walsh told CBS4 she was familiar with the music festival proposal and did not think it was a good idea.
“I thought 200,000 people on a golf course is going to come to a no-good end,” Walsh said.
She said traffic and noise could be problematic along with potential damage to greens and fairways. Walsh said the fact the Hancock administration was entertaining the idea of a massive festival on a public golf course showed the city wanted to “monetize the parks. The city is on a relentless march for development. They are grabbing and snatching everything they can.”
Cynthia Karvaski, a spokesperson for the Denver Parks and Recreation Department, said, ”We are kind of in the preliminary stages. AEG is doing presentations to the community to get a sense of opinions and if it’s something they would embrace.”
Residents have been told Overland Golf Course is not the only site being considered for the festival, but they have not been told what other metro area sites are under consideration.
Another community meeting on the music festival proposal has been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at Schmitt Elementary School located at 1820 South Vallejo Street.