Colorado’s Newest Music Festival
Grandstand Media and Superfly Productions opened the gate to their newest creation, Grandoozy, on Sept. 14. The three-day festival took place just south of Downtown Denver at the Overland Golf Course. Headliners Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine, and Stevie Wonder helped give birth to the event that hosted 35 acts in all. A communal atmosphere and heavy-hitting musicians, from Young the Giant to De La Soul, combined to set up a promising future for the festival in the years to come.
Alongside the three main stages (Rock, Paper, and Scissors), the festival grounds sported several other fun diversions. A biergarten and graffiti art installment sat at the heart of the grounds, providing shade and entertainment for sun-beaten festival goers. Additionally, an 80s ski lodge tent was outfitted with a stage of its own where a few DJs played and topical forums were held. One such event was the Conservation Conversation where a panel of winter sports and conservation advocates spoke about the way in which global warming, among other environmental threats, affects our outdoor sports and the communities and economies that depend on them.
On a more musical note, each night built up to the scheduled headliner where everyone came together to the Rock Stage to share in a collective experience. Never was the sense of community stronger than Saturday night when Florence + the Machine took the stage. Lead singer, Florence Welch, worked the crowd between songs, getting emotional at times and even running through the photo pits to stand on the fence and sing among the people. By the end, she had everyone hugging, swaying, and holding hands while they sang along.
Though Florence certainly brought this feeling to a head, it was apparent from the beginning that a sense of community was running through the hearts of attendees. L.A. band Andy Frasco & the U.N. also brought people together as Frasco waded into the crowd with a chair, asking everyone to kneel like a football team as he elected people to lift him up in a Jewish Hora dance. “When we break,” Frasco said, “I want everyone who’s not lifting me up to run around me in a circle.”
Other notable openers included Snow Tha Product, St. Vincent, and Sunsquabi. The last of which started their set without any pretense; their funk coolly rose from the speakers as naturally as grew the grass and trees scattered around the festival. Their mix of jam-rock and EDM was a perfect match for the Colorado audience.
Though the festival managed to feature a few key Colorado companies, such as Icelantic or Breckenridge Brewery, the lack of local attention was apparent. Despite features like the 80s ski lodge and a South Park outdoor arcade, there wasn’t much local representation on stage. Apart from Sunsquabi, only seven other local artists graced one of the main stages.
Despite what seemed like a lack of local involvement, the festival was a success. Between Kendrick’s “Kung-fu Kenny” skits and Stevie’s masterful performance rested a hub of art and culture. It remains to be seen how much the festival will grow, but Grandoozy could certainly be the start of a great Denver tradition.