In 2000, the (then named) Sunnyside Bluegrass Festival began in the backyard of a neighborhood couple who wanted to have a free music festival for their friends and neighbors. It started with 2 bands, 2 kegs, 50 people and about 20 dogs. The next year, a monsoon rolled off of the mountains and it was rainy and about 45 degrees all day, but the event grew in both attendance and beer consumption. The founders knew they were getting somewhere in 2002 when a couple of local politicians showed up to glad hand. The second stage, located in a neighbor’s back yard, and actually on a back porch.
By 2004, the event was on the brink of moving into Chaffee Park, but the abundance of expensive permits and paperwork seemed daunting. Shortly after, the couple moved away, and sadly the festival was discontinued.
In 2007, local Sunnyside couple applied for two small grants to revive the festival. Together with a handful of friends they re-launched the event with the help of local musicians like Mollie O’Brien.
The Sunnyside Music Festival has become a mainstay for the NW Denver Neighborhood, taking over Chaffee Park the Saturday after Labor Day each year. Every year, new charities are chosen, with several thousand dollars having been donated back into the community to date. Over 30 Leadership Committee volunteers, 50-plus day-of volunteers and dozens of local businesses make this event possible as it continues to grow, develop and serve the Sunnyside neighborhood.
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