Superfly Productions likely will get the final word Monday night on whether it can launch its latest large music festival in south Denver.
The City Council is set to vote on a five-year agreement with the promoter behind San Francisco’s Outside Lands and rural Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival that would allow for a three-day weekend festival each September on Overland Park Golf Course. The first event would be the second or third weekend of that month in 2018.
Superfly promises a slate of performers, from big names to local Denver bands, and heavy involvement from local food and drink purveyors.
The event could draw 30,000 to 40,000 people a day to the site in the first year, with the contract capping daily attendance at 80,000 as the festival grows.
But the council’s focus has been on making sure the Superfly arrangement protects surrounding neighborhoods, especially an area just south of the golf course. “My position from the beginning has been that for (the festival) to take place, I think the neighborhood needs to be better for being there than if it didn’t take place,” Councilman Paul Kashmann said recently.
Last week, the council delayed its vote on the 42-page contract for a week on the same night that its members heard both supporters and opponents sound off on the proposed festival. Monday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.
In exchange for gaining control of the course for up to five weeks after Labor Day each year for set-up and tear-down, Superfly would pay a lease of $200,000. The city could pocket many times that amount from a 10 percent seat tax and other considerations, including $2 per ticket for a golf fund and $1 per ticket for a community fund.
Backers, including some neighborhood advocates and voices from the Denver music scene, see the event as a big potential get for Denver. And together with the recently opened Levitt Pavilion at nearby Ruby Hill Park, the festival could elevate the prominence of south neighborhoods.
But many nearby residents and some parks advocacy groups have several concerns, including the potential environmental impact, the difficulty of getting so many people to Overland Park using shuttles and public transportation, and the potential for noise to disrupt their homes.
At least one Ruby Hill resident has pointed to the Levitt Pavilion as a cautionary tale. Late last week, Marilyn Barela sent a letter to council members that said the new venue, in its first several concerts, had “destroyed our peace and quiet.”
A group called City Park Friends and Neighbors — which has urged city officials to find another site — has pointed to Denver Parks and Recreation’s 2010 “admission-based event policy,” which does not include any golf courses among the several parks listed as fit for such events. The policy sets several other bounds that Superfly’s contract also would stretch.
On Monday, it will be up to the council to decide whether the Overland music festival is extraordinary enough to create a big exception to those rules.