Grandoozy, Denver’s first big-market, three-day music and arts festival, won’t be back next year.
Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Denver Office of Special Events Communications and Outreach Specialist Jill Thiare said the city learned about Superfly’s decision today.
“This was a decision that Superfly made,” she said.
“I think they really are trying to reimagine themselves as a festival production company to make sure — they feel like the music festival world is constantly changing and consumers’ expectations are changing, so they’re trying to put their finger on making sure the events they’re putting together are meeting the current and future needs for those folks.”
It’s a stunning move for Superfly, which worked for more than a year to bring the festival to Denver. It faced strong opposition from some residents in Overland Park and other nearby neighborhoods, as well as golfers who use the course, who were concerned about damage to the course and crowds of festival-goers driving through, parking on and stumbling through their streets.
And after all that, the festival was hailed as a success. Even one of its most vocal opponents, nearby neighbor Helene Orr, gave Grandoozy an “A” grade.
Orr said Friday that she still feels that Superfly did a good job and that for the most part the city did, too. Where it went wrong, she thinks, is that the city wasn’t straightforward enough with neighbors, making the process more difficult,
“I guess my takeaway from all of it was — my opposition was very vocal and so were my neighbors, but I think the city and they way they approached it was really the problem,” she said.
District 7 Councilman Jolon Clark, who represents those neighborhoods, is hosting a meeting on Jan. 23 to discuss how to best use the money — $1 per ticket — that Superfly gave to community improvements.
The city pulled in a total of $840,000 from the event, which wasn’t as much as it expected but still satisfactory. Fred Weiss, director of finance for Denver Parks & Recreation, told press in October that about $240,000 of that would go to reimbursements for things like the golf course being closed and expenses incurred by the city; a little more than $300,000 would go to golf; $135,000 to $140,000 would go to the neighborhood; and about $135,000 to $140,000 will go to general parks.
Superfly’s contract with the city allows it to put the festival on through 2022.
Superfly made its announcement Friday afternoon with this statement:
After a successful debut in September of 2018, Grandoozy, Denver’s first ever three-day multi-format festival, shares that it will be taking a hiatus in 2019. Superfly, the producers behind Grandoozy, feels a special connection to Denver and its people and intends to use its 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 company is proud of the world-class festival they delivered for a world-class city and is truly humbled by the praise and support Grandoozy received in its inaugural year from the fans, artists, vendors and the city of Denver.
The city of Denver passed along the announcement with this message:
While the City and County of Denver is disappointed that the Grandoozy festival will not return in 2019, we hope and expect it to return in 2020. We look forward to seeing what new festival concepts Superfly develops during this hiatus.
This story will be updated.