Commissioners approve permit for second music festival
The Grand County Board of Commissioners has approved a temporary use permit for the Divide Music Festival near Fraser.
The festival is planned for July 22, 23 and 24, and organizers Team Player Productions, based in Denver, anticipate around 8,000 patrons per day.
County staff recommended approval of the permit with more than 50 conditions, including an attendance cap of 15,000.
The Divide Music Festival will be located at the Colorado Adventure Park, the same site slated to host the Touch the Sun Music Festival.
“We really want to make this a manageable festival in the first year and then grow the festival with the community, with the venue, as we see it can handle,” said Jason Ornstein with Team Player Productions.
Ornstein described the festival as a family-friendly event featuring contemporary rock and roll artists.
The festival will have around 3,000 campsites, Ornstein said.
Music is planned to last until 11 p.m. each night.
Residents attending a discussion on the festival raised many of the same concerns heard during the hearing for the Touch the Sun Music Festival.
Executives with Live Nation Entertainment, Touch the Sun’s organizer, said the festival may not proceed after commissioners declined to raise that festival’s attendance cap from 15,000 to 20,000 on Jan. 26.
Dennis Saffell, who owns land adjacent to the festival site, said he wanted liability protection to prevent any possible lawsuits from trespassing festivalgoers.
Saffell said he felt the temporary use permit was a “loop hole” and the site wasn’t zoned correctly for concerts and lacked adequate infrastructure.
Ornstein said he would work with Saffell to keep attendees off of neighboring property.
“I think that this is still just a little bit too much for Grand County to bite off,” said Fraser resident Jay Clough. “Both of these festivals in one year is certainly too much.”
Clough added that he didn’t believe the town had the infrastructure to support a large music festival.
County resident Melanie Zwick said she felt the county should only allow one summer music festival venue at the venue.
Concerns were also raised about how the festival would affect the nearby rodeo.
But Megan Ledin with the Grand Foundation, which hopes to partner with Team Player Productions pending board approval from both parties, said the festival would bring valuable funds to local non-profits.
“We have 187 non-profits in Grand County, so between us as a funder the county as a funder, the municipalities, everybody has been looking at how to consolidate,” Ledin said. “So the more funds that we can bring into our community, that is our goal.”
Ledin added that, while impacts can’t be avoided, organizers are doing what they can to mitigate them.
The Town of Fraser wrote a letter to the board in support of the festival.
Commissioner Jane Tollett said she was concerned about traffic for the event.
Grand County Planner Bill Gray said that, as a condition of the permit, traffic plans for the festival are due in the coming months.
Commissioner Kris Manguso said she felt that, though the permit process may need revision for such events, county staff had adequately addressed issues surrounding the festival.
“I think it’s worth a try,” Manguso said.
The board approved the permit unanimously.
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After their soccer game Saturday, the Grand County Wildcats suited up for a very different type of game.