Phoenix. Miguel. The War On Drugs. Kendrick Lamar.
A glorious stretch of my Friday night this past weekend included consecutive sets from all four of those massive acts, a collection of artists that would normally be the cherrypicked highlights from a full weekend of programming at a music festival, all delivered in a single two-hour slot. And those were just the first four acts I managed to see while balancing travel to Colorado, a full day of work, and attending the first night of Denver’s Grandoozy festival, a new music event produced by an event company that recently popped up in the city: Superfly.
Superfly is already well-known in the music space for helming massive, beloved live music events like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, so their decision to found a festival in Colorado was met with excitement and intrigue from interested parties. Denver hasn’t had a music festival of its own since the Mile High Music Festival ended in 2010, with the founders citing economic reasons for the cancelations. So the main question seemed to be, was Denver ready for its own full-fledged music event?
This weekend answered that with a resounding yes, as the city turned out in droves for a bill anchored by aforementioned hip-hop heavyweight Kendrick Lamar, Florence And The Machine, and the inimitable Stevie Wonder. But, as it was a Superfly event, the headliners weren’t the only story — as other inclusions like Phoenix, The War On Drugs and Miguel illustrate — and in fact, the music wasn’t the only story at all; plenty of other installations, art, and refreshments were spread out across the Overland Golf Course, making Grandoozy an instant competitor in the same realm as already-established coastal fests.
Denver itself comes in just under 700,000 population-wise, but the greater metropolitan area hits around 2.8 million, which puts it on the playing field to compete with cities like LA (around four million), New York (between eight and nine million), and Chicago (close to three million). And if the Uber surges and throngs of people crammed around every stage are any indication, plenty of Denverites are ready to embrace festival culture. Plus, Denver is one of the quickest growing cities in the country, increasing in population by 100,000 in under a decade.