Overland Golf Course music festival: The layout, the stages, the complaints and more

A preliminary diagram of a music festival proposed for Overland Music Festival, which would be modified based on community feedback. (AEG, Brungardt Enterprises)

It’s nearly decision time for the three-day music festival that two music-industry giants want to put at Overland Golf Course.

Organizers AEG and Superfly have started to unveil more detailed plans for the event, which could put 30,000 people per day and superstar musical acts on the golf course.

So, the new stuff first –– here’s a look at the preliminary layout:

A preliminary diagram of a music festival proposed for Overland Music Festival, which would be modified based on community feedback. (AEG, Brungardt Enterprises)
A preliminary diagram of a music festival proposed for Overland Music Festival, which would be modified based on community feedback. (AEG, rendering by Brungardt Enterprises)

As you can tell, this thing is shaping up to be a multi-stage event that puts a ton of people in a fenced-off area. I count three large outdoor stages, a fourth smaller one, a stage under a tent and facilities for beer and other concessions.

The large gray circles represent shaded and/or “water experience” areas. The only entrances are at the northwest and northeast corners, a move intended to keep people out of residential streets.

Also, you’ll notice a little comedy stage tucked off on a fairway. AEG spokesman David Ehrlich has said the organizers are interesting in showcasing local talent in categories beyond music, potentially including cooking too.

The main stage is relatively close to the residential neighborhood just south of the park, but would be pointed out across the course. A special lot for Uber is set aside to the north, while a bike valet could be convenient for people coming off the riverside bike trails.

However: It’s not a done deal.

AEG has released this information in part to win over neighbors and city leaders. It’s hard to tell just how well they’re succeeding. The major neighborhood associations in the area have declined to weigh in, as we reported last week.

For a sense of where the conversation stands today, we spoke to Helene Orr, a staunch opponent and nearby neighbor to the festival, and compared some of her concerns to the organizers’ and the city’s plans.

The impact on the course:

The festival organizers say they would commit to protecting and fully repairing damage to the course turf. Still, Orr, who lives just south of the course, worries that the hordes will have subtler impacts as they stamp down the grass, especially around trees. “When you have compaction of soil, you don’t have plants that can thrive, at best, or at worst can’t survive,” she said.

Traffic:

AEG says it hopes to arrange for traffic checkpoints to keep people from driving into nearby neighborhoods.  Orr worries that won’t stop pedestrians who are trying to get a free listen. She’s also concerned that noise and traffic will come with the five weeks of set-up and teardown work that the festival could require.

“For me, personally, that means – I’m 65 – really, for the rest of my life I’ll never have a quiet fall,” she said.

AEG and Superfly aim to secure the land for the festival for five annual events. They’re working to minimize their impact during the longer rental term, possibly including an effort to keep nine holes of the course open for some of it.

Process:

Orr feels the city is improperly using the golf course for an event that will enrich private companies. AEG estimates it will pay a fee in the six-figure range to Denver for use of the space.

Orr feels that neighborhood and elected leaders could have involved the full neighborhood earlier. For its part, AEG has said that its goal has been to engage with residents and others.

“We’re not going to do this if we don’t think the community is very positive,” Ehrlich said in an earlier interview. The organizers so far have participated in two community meetings about the plan.

The contract ultimately would have to be approved by the Denver City Council. AEG plans to “socialize” the idea with council for much of April. The hope is to have the first edition of the festival in September 2018, and they’d need to book their biggest acts a year or more in advance.

“We are doing our best to address issues like security and noise,” Ehrlich wrote in an email. AEG’s other large festivals include Coachella, while Superfly is a co-producer of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.