The promoter of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands was initially working on the project with Anschutz Entertainment Group, but will be taking over the festival with AEG's full support. AEG ultimately decided not to pursue the festival, instead focusing on an ambitious slate of programming at Red Rocks, Fiddler's Green and its many other venues in the city, says Chuck Morris, president and CEO of AEG Live.
"We felt confident in Superfly and their ability to be a great festival driver," says Morris. "They will do a great job. They got a great response from our city friends, and we feel good about it. We had to make a decision to focus on another outrageous summer here in Colorado."
As to whether AEG will pursue another music festival in the area, Morris says: "We’re not interested in focusing on another festival. We are a very busy company."
The Superfly announcement comes after months of community meetings exploring whether neighbors and the golf community support the proposed event. Superfly and AEG were also considering other sites, including one in Westminster.
“We’ve spent the past three years exploring the Denver market, experiencing the city’s vibrant culture and developing relationships with community leaders and local officials,” says Rick Farman, co-founder of Superfly, in a statement. “The passion in this area for great music, art, food and an active outdoor lifestyle is incredibly inspiring, and we are 100 percent committed to delivering an experience that matches the energy of this creative community. After thorough discussion and analysis, we are thrilled to be focused on the Overland Park Golf Course site as we continue our outreach and work with the City to develop a landmark festival in the heart of Colorado.”
Despite petitions and a strong opposition campaign demanding that the promoters stay out of the neighborhood, several major players in the community, including the Overland Park Neighborhood Association and the leadership of the nonprofit 7,500-seat Levitt Pavilion music venue — which sits a stone's throw from the golf course — opted to take a neutral stance on the event.
David Ehrlich, who has been leading community-relations efforts and negotiations with the city on behalf of Superfly and AEG, will continue to do so for the festival. Throughout the process, Ehrlich worked with the city to ask for feedback from neighbors and pledged not to move forward unless he and the companies he represents were confident the festival had widespread support.
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"The next phase is continued community outreach and taking the things we said we’d do and the commitments we’d made on behalf of Superfly and putting those in a contract," says Ehrlich. That will include addressing issues including noise, parking, traffic, security and the restoration of the golf course each year. The company will also begin to reach out to local artists and restaurants to form strong local relationships.
Although Superfly has settled on the Overland Park Golf Course, there is a chance the festival will not happen there, according to Cyndi Karvaski, a spokeswoman for Denver Parks and Recreation, who notes that the deal is now entering the contract-negotiation phase.
If the city and Superfly come to an agreement on terms, any contract will have to be approved by Denver City Council in order to pass.
Says Karvaski: "Once that has occurred, it will be considered a done deal."