DENVER — The organizer of Denver's Grandoozy called the three-day event over a scorching September weekend a “successful debut” and in the same sentence said it would be taking a “hiatus in 2019.”
The City and County of Denver had a positive reaction too. It did, after all, get $840,000 out of Superfly, the same company behind some of the country’s biggest events like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. Denver and Superfly entered a contract that lasts through 2020 though either party could choose to sit out whenever they’d like.
So why is Superfly already exercising this right despite the positive vibes it’s putting off?
We may never know. They haven’t answered questions from 9NEWS and the City and County of Denver can’t speak for the private company. Though, Jill Thiare with the Office of Special Events says she expects and hopes for Grandoozy to be back in 2020.
“This was really Superfly’s decision to take 2019 off. They wanted to take some time and really reevaluate the kind of festival experience they were delivering in Denver. The festival world is changing quickly and different regions, different cities have a different vibe and expectations regarding festivals,” Thiare said. “So, they really wanted to take some time and zero in on, what does Denver want? And what can they do that’s new and unique and awesome in regard to providing a festival here again?”
The City and County would love to have them back. It used 30 percent of its payment to take care of costs associated with facilitating the event, such as paying the Denver Police Department. Thiare says the rest went to improvement on the golf course, city parks and the surrounding neighborhood.
“For as disruptive as it was with the noise, it was also really cool to sit on my porch and hear Stevie Wonder,” Lucas Sanchez said, whose front door opened to the entrance gates of the festival. “I am kind of on the fence. I will miss it in a nostalgic kind of way. But in terms of the impact on the environment and neighborhood and everything, it was a give and take.”
The take, great music. The give, drunk people urinating in his yard right off of Santa Fe Drive. A location another neighbor, Helene Orr, called a logistical problem.
“I think there are better venues. Logistically better venues. And, also, in light of our diminishing open space in Denver I just think it’s really important that we protect these spaces and not use them for private, money making events.”
Orr also pointed out that there were just 55,000 attendees over the course of the three-day weekend. The contract between Denver and Superfly allows for a maximum capacity of 80,000 per day.
“I think that if you are building a festival and you want to build it to greater numbers, chances are that taking a year off is not a great way to build momentum,” she said.
Superfly has backed out of events before, most recently cancelling the 2018 Lost Lake in Phoenix four months before the scheduled event and after confirming big named artists. 9NEWS’ sister station in Phoenix cited poor ticket sales in 2017 as the reason. That festival only managed 45,000 attendees over three days.