There was hardly a loose beer can in sight until Kendrick Lamar took the stage.
By 8:30 p.m. on the first night of Grandoozy, what had to be a majority of the crowd of 10,000-plus was at the main stage — the Rock stage — for the night’s headliner. Still partying but unwilling to relinquish their spots in the sea, they tossed their empties on the ground to get crushed under dancing feet.
All things considered, that’s a pretty minimal music festival mess to clean up. And that might be the most impressive thing about Day 1 of Denver’s new fest — it was so, so clean.
Yes, the knock-out lineup that included Miguel, Phoenix and local success story Tennis had one of the world’s most important artists in the headlining spot. Yes, good food and drink were plentiful. But did you use those bathrooms? Bless the person who brought in flush toilets.
So the first day of Grandoozy appeared to have run smoothly. Representatives for the festival wouldn’t comment on how many people were there or any problems during the day, but on the ground, things looked good. Hot, with every inch of shade occupied by someone fleeing the sunshine, but good.
“It’s a brand new event we’ve never done. Looking at it we think it went pretty well,” Denver Police spokesperson Marika Putnam said. “We’re going to take what we learned from last night and apply it to tonight, and hopefully things will go better. And if it continues in the future, then we’re gold.”
There were some citations for parking, she said, but “no major incidents” and as far as she knew of Saturday morning, no noise complaints.
As Grandoozy and the Denver Police warned the day before, Kendrick’s show had some pyrotechnics and capped off with a short fireworks display. The grand finale for everyone inside acted effectively as warning shots for the outside world, marking the moment just before 10 p.m. when thousands and thousands of people were about to flood the streets — many of them bailing on long waits for shuttles, light rail and Uber rides and instead walking until they found somewhere to wait it out. The Brutal Poodle at Broadway and Asbury Avenue, for one, had a great night.
Some things to keep in mind today:
Stay hydrated! Festival organizers are reminding attendees that you can bring empty water bottles and camelbacks to fill up there for free. The water stations weren’t easy to find just by looking, but they’re marked on the festival map, which you can find on the app. By my count, there’s one near the bathrooms to the right of the Florida Avenue entrance, one by the bathrooms behind the Backyard area, one to the left of the Scissor stage (if you’re facing it), one at the food and drink area to the back left of the Rock stage (if you’re facing it) and one in the VIP area right next to that.
Don’t try to drive. Just don’t.
But do remember that the light rail has been shut down for track replacement from 30th & Downing to the Convention Center. RTD is providing alternative shuttle service.