AEG and Superfly have their eyes on at least two cities, Denver and Westminster, as the multinational music companies weigh where to locate a music festival that would attract between 30,000 and 60,000 people, says AEG/Superfly consultant David Ehrlich.
Westminster officials said this morning that their city was at least one other site under consideration, in addition to Denver.
Ehrlich says the proposed location would be a Westminster Open Space. While he says negotiations with that city are nowhere near as far along as they are with Denver, he says that Denver is by far the hardest city to work with in Colorado.
Westminster is eager to move forward with the project, says Ryan Hegreness, operations manager for the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Libraries. "We as a city have a mission statement of being the next urban center on Colorado's Front Range, and we think the possibility of an event that celebrates the Colorado lifestyle and raises the recognition of the city and all we have to offer — we think that could be a very positive thing."
Westminster, like Denver, would undergo a public-comment process, but it's too early for that. "It's kind of hard to ask for public input when you don't have a proposal. It's all just exploration at this point," says Rich Neumann, marketing supervisor for the city's parks department.
As for AEG and Superfly's thoughts on Westminster, "They have been terrific to start discussions with, but we are just starting," Ehrlich says.
The site the corporations are looking at in Denver is the Overland Park Golf Course, the oldest in Colorado. Neighbors, golfers and the team behind the community-based music amphitheater Levitt Pavillion Denver have raised a bevvy of concerns about the festival wreaking havoc on the golf course, creating security issues and damaging the ecosystem and neighborhood culture. Other residents celebrate the project as innovative, profitable and a boon to an otherwise slow community.
"Honestly, I think that if [Westminster has] a big, open space, site-wise I think that makes a lot more sense than the golf course," says Chase Wessel of Levitt Pavilion Denver, a nonprofit community group that will start hosting shows this year at a 7,500-seat venue that's a stone's throw from the Overland fairways.
"From my understanding, Westminster really wants it. For me and for Levitt, we're still learning about the festival, just like everybody else is," adds Wessel. "Our mission is community through music. If the neighborhoods Ruby Hill and Overland all support it, we'll end up supporting it."
At a public meeting on Wednesday, consultant David Ehrlich told Westword that Denver's cumbersome process for approving events involved "more hoops to jump through" than any other city on the Front Range.