When AEG Live’s Chuck Morris scouted City Park for a new two-day music festival, he made a promise to the Denver Zoo located there: he wouldn’t stage a massive show nearby if the Zoo objected.
After Morris made public his plans for the July 19-20 inaugural Mile High Music and Arts Festival, the Denver Zoo indeed had second thoughts. And with the recent spotlight on zoos because of the December 25th killing of a patron by an escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, any chance of a change of heart likely evaporated.
Morris is keeping his word to the Zoo. Despite local predictions that the Mile High festival was doomed, he tells Pollstar that tales of the event’s demise are premature.
He’s not quite ready to confirm details, like a lineup rumored to include Dave Matthews Band and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, but he did quash others that the festival is taking place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Stadium, Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium or any other enclosed venue.
"All I can say is there will be a festival; the biggest thing we’ve ever been involved in in Denver," Morris told Pollstar. "And it will be in an open space as originally planned."
As to any lineup speculation, Morris would only say "no acts have been confirmed."
"It will be the biggest festival in the history of Denver, on the same weekend of July 19-20 as originally planned. It’s just not going to be at City Park. I promised them and every neighborhood group and organization that if the Zoo wasn’t OK with this, I wouldn’t do it. I’ve stuck to my word. Shame on me if an animal died. I can’t be wrong on that."
Morris is scouting another location and expects to be able to have a more definitive announcement in the next 2-4 weeks. Without naming the site, he said it is a large, grassy expanse approximately 10 minutes from downtown Denver.
"This will be the first year of an annual, ongoing event," Morris said. "There won’t be camping, so it will be closer by comparison to the Austin City Limits and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festivals than Bonnaroo.
"But it will definitely be a city festival."