Denver says yes to a major music festival on Overland Golf Course

The three-day festival will be put on by Superfly, the promoters behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, and feature national acts alongside local musicians.

Overland Park Golf Course. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Overland Park Golf Course. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; overpland park golf course; sports; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
Overland Golf Course. This is where the magic will happen. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver City Council members approved a contract Monday to bring a three-day music festival to Overland Golf Course.

The possibility of a major music festival at the golf course has been a controversial topic that divided neighbors in Overland and Ruby Hill.

Councilman Jolon Clark of District 7, which includes the golf course and surrounding neighborhoods, said that long-standing members of the community really want to see the festival happen.

“There are people who have worked for years, decades, for this neighborhood in hopes that something like this would be an opportunity that are really, really excited about this,” Clark said.

Council members voted 10-3 in favor of the festival.

Council members Kevin Flynn, Deborah Ortega and Paul Kashmann voted against the festival.

Flynn told council members to ask themselves if they would want a festival like one at Overland Golf Course to happen in their neighborhood.

“Just in my gut, this feels like the wrong location to me. Ultimately it just feels wrong to use a golf course for this,” Flynn said.

Ortega said she felt torn between her love for music and community concerns. She specifically raised concerns that potential GO Bond projects might be complicated by the presence of the festival.

“We’re going to be having a lot of public works projects going on. A lot of folks are going to be trying to move these projects,” Ortega said.

Kashmann felt similarly divided.

“Next to my family and friends, music is the most important part of my life,” he said. “I can’t believe that I’m sitting here, and I’m going to have to vote no. The information that I need to get to that point (to vote yes) isn’t available to me.”

Details on the contract:

Superfly, the organization organizing the festival, has worked on other music festivals like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.

The festival will take place on the second, or third Friday, Saturday and Sunday each September. The contract requires the event to end at 10 p.m. each nigh,t it is taking place. Here are more basics of what the contract will entail.

  • Superfly will have a contract with the city until 2022.
  • Overland Golf Course will be closed for five weeks out of the year.
  • Superfly can host up to 80,000 people at the golf course.
  • It will be responsible for repairing damage to the golf course and for ensuring the golf course is the same as it was prior to the festival. The promoters will pay a $50,000 damage deposit.
  • Superfly will pay $200,000 base rent to the Golf Enterprise Fund.
  • Superfly will also pay $5,000 per day for every day over or under five weeks that the golf course is closed and make a $25,000 payment to cover discounts for golfers who will have to play different courses during the festival.
  • Superfly will pay about $180,000 to $420,000 per year to build golf infrastructure and $100,000 to $200,000 per year for community improvements, with the money coming from fees on tickets.
  • Ticket taxes will generate an estimated $1 million to $2 million per year into the city’s general fund.
  • Superfly has promised to give discounted tickets to neighborhood residents.

“I do believe that this is a good contract,” Clark said. “This is a group of people who know how to defend their neighborhood.”

“I came into this meeting ready to vote no,” Councilman Wayne New said. “I trust Councilman Clark. I have great confidence in him, and he will make sure the residents have a voice.”

The event will have four stages, beer and food.

 It is unknown which artists would perform at the Overland Golf Course festival. However, Superfly will look to promote local artists alongside national acts. Along with artists, local businesses and restaurants will also receive publicity from the festival.

According to Denver’s Office of Special Events, the festival will be a mixture of different music genres, and it will aim to attract people of all ages.

Based on festivals in other cities, Denver estimates the event would have a $60 million economic impact.

“The work is not done. There is a lot ahead of us to ensure that everything happens like it is supposed to,” Clark said.

Clark made a promise to the people concerned about a music festival.

“I’m going to work really hard, and I know all of the leaders in Overland are going to work really hard, all of the folks in the city are going to work really hard to show them that we can manage their concerns,” Clark said.

He also wants to bring those who were divided on the topic together.

“I think that the neighborhood has a lot of healing to do because not everyone was on the same side on this one, and so I think the first thing to do is bring the neighborhood together to heal,” Clark said.