Grandoozy pumps the brakes

Community to decide what to do with money from festival


Grandoozy, the new music festival that organizers had hoped would become a Denver institution, is taking a break in 2019 after one year.

The festival ran over three days last September, drawing in an estimated 55,000 attendees, according to Superfly, the company that organized Grandoozy. The festival was held at the Overland Park Golf Course in south Denver, 1801 S. Huron St.

Superfly is the New York-based company behind Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Outside Lands in San Francisco, two festivals that have been around for 16 and 10 years, respectively.

David Erlich, a Denver-based organizer for the festival, told the Washington Park Profile in September that Superfly is “not looking to do something for a couple years — they’re looking to build an institution.”

Erlich and the communications staff at Superfly did not respond to a request for comment on Grandoozy’s hiatus.

The company addressed that break on its website and social media pages.

“We feel a special connection to Denver and its people and intend to use this hiatus as an opportunity to create a festival that is even more unique, sustainable and integrated into the region’s local and creative community,” the post says. “We’re proud of the world-class festival we delivered for a world-class city and are truly humbled by the praise and support Grandoozy received in its inaugural year.”

Although the festival is not returning this year, community members got together last month to discuss how to use funds from September’s shows. According to the city’s contract with Grandoozy, Denver received a portion of ticket sales for various projects, said Jill Thiare, a communications specialist with the Office of Special Events.

In total, the city received $840,000. About $252,000 of that, or 30 percent, will be used to reimburse city offices for festival expenses. The remaining $588,000 is going into improvements for city parks and golf courses.

Thiare added that city officials are excited for the festival’s return in 2020.

Seperate from the city amount, the community also will receive $58,000 for local projects, Thiare said.

Councilmember Jolon Clark, who respresents District 7 and the Overland Park Golf Course, was scheduled to hold a meeting on Feb. 28, after the Profile’s press deadline, for community members to discuss ideas for the funds. Clark said ahead of the meeting that what happens with those funds is entirely up to the community. (Look for an update on the meeting on the Profile’s Facebook page:

Overland Park resident Helene Orr said she hopes the money can go toward city projects that are lacking funds.

Entities like the Colorado Department of Transportation and Denver Parks and Recreation have a limited amount of money to dedicate to projects, Orr said. The community has tried to get projects off the ground in the past but has faced funding roadblocks. One idea was to protect existing trees in the Overland Park Golf Course from a sidewalk construction project. Orr also said the new community funds could help address sound barriers in the area or cars speeding on South Huron Street.

“Other possible projects might be dealing with the unsafe Evans overpass and getting some sort of fencing or barrier between pedestrians/cyclists and the motorists flying by,” Orr said. “Other overpasses have this, but CDOT insists they don’t have the money.”

Orr added that Superfly had also committed to a community fund for local nonprofits. Superfly announced last month that it would be donating an additional $58,000 to nonprofits through the Grandoozy Works Fund. Community members, such as Orr, recommened nonprofits. Grandoozy officials worked the Rose Community Foundation, which hosted the fund. The Levitt Pavilion concert venue in Ruby Hill, which neighbors Overland Park, received $25,000. The Greenway Foundation received $5,000. All together, Youth on Record, Denver Urban Garden, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, and We Don’t Waste received a total of $28,000.


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