DENVER (CBS4)– The Overland Golf Course opened to the public for the first time since last month’s Grandoozy music festival while city leaders and organizers for the event have not announced if it will be back next year.
“We’re really happy, relieved, and pleased that the course is looking good,” said David Ehlich, executive producer of Grandoozy for Superfly.
The course had less damage than originally anticipated, according to city staff. For the inaugural weekend of the event, 55,000 people attended over the course of three days. A third of the entire site was used for the music festival so the ability to accommodate a larger turnout in future years would be possible, the city said.
There were several precautions taken to preserve the popular golf course and repairing the ground was less work than some predicted. The festival organizers used high-tech portable roads and mats to relieve some of the pressure from all the foot traffic, stages and equipment for the concerts.
A third-party consultant examined the golf course before and after the festival to assess the impact. Staff say they replaced about one acre of sod, mostly along the driving range across the entire property of about 130 acres in total.
“I would definitely do it again, the damage was minimal to what we were expecting. So that was a good thing. We did have some rain in load in that caused some challenges but I don’t think there is anything we couldn’t overcome,” said Director of Denver’s Golf, Parks and Recreation Scott Rathlake.
Over the next few months, residents in the area will be able to discuss how the music festival impacted them, including noise and traffic complaints. All of those will be considered before a final decision is made on another Grandoozy music festival.
“Even some of the biggest opponents of the festival gave the producers and the event an A in how it was handled,” said Robert Lovell, a resident and member of the Overland Park Neighborhood Association.
Lovell says he believed many were supportive of the event leading up to the weekend, but some were cautiously optimistic and others were opposed to idea from the start. He hopes the success of the first ever music festival will help Grandoozy return in 2019.
Other neighbors told CBS4 while they believe the event went on without any major incidents, they are still not eager to see it return to their neighborhood next year. They still worry about the impact on wildlife in the area as well as access to green space for nearby residents.
Another neighborhood organization has been critical of the festival and one of its members questioned the impact of Grandoozy with a much larger turnout in the future.
“Starting with a base of not a lot of complaints and damage and there is money to reinvest into the neighborhood, it’s going to be a good collaboration process, said Ehrlich. “Did it work perfectly? No, but it worked pretty well, and we’re going to improve on it.”
Ehrlich said one of the early lessons from the first attempt at the festival was the various transportation methods used that weekend. He said there were 1,300 people who took up the bike valet service, more than they expected.
He also acknowledged there were aspects of ride share services and RTD routes that could be improved. Educating the public about the time they will need to budget to get out of the festival will also be a goal for the future.
Superfly, the creator of the event, paid the City and County of Denver $840,000 for the use of Overland Park during Grandoozy. A portion of that money covered reimbursements and expenses totalling $240,000. The remaining $600,000 will be divided among the golf course, $300,000; along with the neighborhood receiving $140,000, and another 140,000 set aside for all city parks.
These figures are rough estimates based on the initial assessment of the net revenue for the City.
Neighbors and organizers have talked about using some of that money for an arts project or improvement work on nearby bridges for cars and pedestrians. Some supporters praised Superfly’s ability to adjust during the festival itself and learn from those changes in the future.
“Some people were surprised by the sound checks, they maybe weren’t aware that was going to be happening,” said Lovell, who noticed the sound checks were pushed back to later in the morning from one day to the next during the festival.
While city staff and Ehrlich would not say if Grandoozy is confirmed for the next year, they were optimistic, saying the initial assessment was positive. Denver has over 700 events each year and leaders say there weren’t any more complaints for this festival than any other, in fact they were less compared to other similar events.
“It went well and we are excited to see who’s going to be on the lineup next year,” said Lovell.