Denver Approves Overland Music Fest, Some Residents Still Concerned

Denver's city council has approved a five year contract for a three-day music festival at Overland Golf Course. It’ll come to town in 2018.

Entertainment company Superfly — creators of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands — will organize the festival that’s expected to draw up to 40,000 people to the southwest side of the golf course found near Ruby Hill.

The proposal sparked debate around the use of public spaces for major private events. The festival will last three days in September, but the golf course could close for up to five weeks for setup and restoration.

Some nearby residents are worried because of limited on-site parking. But organizers say they'll aggressively promote public transportation and bike trails as transit options. Overland is located along the South Platte River Trail and just over a mile from the Evans light rail station.

Fred Weiss, director of finance for Denver's Parks and Recreation, says Denver could make more than $2 million annually from the festival, depending on attendance. Most of that money, Weiss says, will go to the golf Course and the city's golf fund, some of the money will also go directly to the surrounding neighborhoods.

"And those are all for improvements because the restoration of everything is included in the base contracts," Weiss said.

Councilman Jolon Clark represents the district where the event will take place. He says most of his constituents are in favor.

"While the process that we landed on wasn’t perfect, it was robust with all the meetings, the surveys and the opportunities for public comment and engagement," Clark said.

Three council members opposed the festival, citing concerns about the location of the event and compromising potential public works projects, Denverite reports. One city council member also criticized that the approval of final plans for the festival is up to city agencies, not city council.

Organizers have until April to submit detailed plans for security, transit and cleanup.

“We have spent the past year working with the city and community to bring a world class festival to Denver and we’re thrilled to be one step closer to making this a reality," Superfly co-founder Rick Farman said in a press release. “Moving forward, we will be focused on further developing our programming and operational plans with the city in hopes of formalizing an official event announcement in 2018.”

CPR News' Xandra McMahon contributed to this report.