By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Boulderite Kevin Watson trampled through throngs of people, stomping turf with his leather sandals.
“Yea, Mile High,” shouts a shirtless Watson, his face and chest red from the pounding sun all day, as he continues to slap and pound the hands of fellow festival attendees.
The second annual Mile High Music Festival, held once again this Saturday and Sunday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, was another success.
Correcting issues faced last year during the inaugural festival, AEG Live chief of the Rocky Mountains, Chuck Morris, was sure to add more water stations and teamed up with Boulder-based Green Event Company to offer discounted GreenPasses for green-friendly shuttle service between Denver, Boulder and the festival.
Planners also condensed the distance between stages, resulting in less walking, but more standing on concrete. The majority of the stages, however, were set completely on soccer turf.
Fans were dazzled with a polite mixture of entertainment, each set complementing all the others in their own way. But the diverse array of music brought with it a diverse section of the population.
In the end, it looked like harder Tool fans brought more T-shirts with them, but softer Widespread Panic brought the crowds expected during their only Colorado performances of 2009.
This festival was dominated by their presence, with two full sets each night dedicated to Panic. That’s the difference between Panic playing for three hours and 15 minutes and Tool playing for only one hour and 45 minutes.
Incubus and Tool fan Luke from Pittsburgh, who declined to give his last name, said that while he would have liked to have seen Tool play longer, he was still finding the overall Mile High experience an “awesome” one.
“This is awesome, man, this is my dream,” he said, adding that it was well worth the trip in from Pittsburgh. “I think I’m gonna cry.”
The festival incorporated some whacky elements as well, like a lounge on one of the main streets with a bartender handing out hundreds of pairs of goofy, orange, plastic sunglasses. Mr. Morris, who is known for his dozens of pairs of trademark sunglasses, must have approved of this venture.
Some fans walked around with Super Soakers, drenching smoking fans throughout the day. Others walked over to the WaterWorks station to cool off.
Fans were also able to interact with art through a partnership with the Art Institute of Colorado. Industrial design students created green-friendly art, including VIP seating created out of recycled materials; a Mayan-inspired village with a solar-powered rotating sun and towering misting sunflowers; giant movable hands made with recycled tent and backpack poles; and an Earth-inspired dome tent built out of plastic bags and garbage.
For Sarah Denim, the experience was all about Widespread Panic.
“That’s why I’m here, man,” she said. “That’s what all this is about.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters