Concert Reviews

Chive Fest Kept Calm at City Park

Deep in City Park on Saturday, past the father and son playing catch and the picnicking family, in a fenced off area, was a sea of "Keep Calm and Chive On" shirts and neon green. It was the first Chive Fest, and after several hours of music and revelry, a few minutes of near total silence descended. That's because, on the roof a building right near the event, a couple was getting married, and the festival's organizers promised them the party wouldn't interrupt the nuptials.

See also: Chive Fest Could Set the Tone for Future Events in Denver Parks

Stopping an entire festival to please a bride and groom demonstrates the sensitivity and care Chive Fest took in order to hold a rare admission-based event in City Park, something that was both difficult and expensive. But any concerns of rowdy-festival goers destroying the park or disrupting the surrounding neighborhood Saturday afternoon proved unfounded. You could barely hear the music from the edge of the park, there were no more cars lining the streets of the neighborhood than normal and unless you happened to bike pass the fences or come across a Chiver in a bright green shirt, you would have no idea Chive Fest, contained in an area no larger than a couple of baseball fields, was happening.

"We tried to accommodate as much as possible," says Dave Welch, director of Chive Nation. "Chive Live has been so on point with protocol. We want to make sure that the people who are complaining aren't complaining anymore."

And he may just get that wish. If you took away the big music stages and merchandise tents, the groups of people playing frisbee or laying and enjoying a beer would have appeared right in place in a park on a summer Saturday.

"We saw some videos from the previous Chive Fests and it looked like fun," said one attendee, Nick, who came with a friend and was lounging under a tree with a beer. "It's cool to see how nice and friendly people are."

Nick and his friend had wanted to come with a big group of friends, but the $70 ticket price thwarted that plan, and possibly their desire to attend again next year. "I think it's a rip-off for sure," he says. "It's pretty comparable to Cultivate Festival but that was free."

A couple that was enjoying a picnic outside the festival had planned on going in to check it out, but the day-of ticket prices were keeping them outside for the moment. "Is it really 77 dollars? That's crazy," one of them said.

While the price tag was high, for both attendees and Chive Live, which jumped through some expensive hoops to make the festival happen, it seemed it was worth it, especially to be able to prove a festival can happen in a city park without causing mayhem. "That's the cool thing, that they could pull it off," says Carly McGraw, an attendee and follower of Chive. "It's a great location."

"I know they are using this as a test to see if they can have more festivals in parks," Nick said. "[Denver] is such a music hub, there should be more events like this."

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Isa Jones is an editor in Jackson Hole; her writing has appeared all over the Internet and occasionally in print.
Contact: Isa Jones