Sara Bareilles Drops Five F-Bombs on Suburban Denver Park: Ten Eyewitness Accounts
1. The first time she heard Sara Bareilles's breakout hit "Love Song," a young swimmer named Hannah Bradford immediately won her race, setting a personal record in the process. That was in 2007, when the song was ubiquitous, particularly among suburban families driving to swim meets. So the girl who slipped off the starting block and is now afraid of water probably also heard "Love Song" immediately before the race.
But Hannah has listened to Sara Bareilles before every swim meet since then, and now she is her favorite artist. Hannah Bradford and her mom, Lisa, showed up early to the Sara Bareilles show at the Denver Botanic Gardens: Chatfield. They brought extra-sharp cheddar and red-pepper hummus and pepperoni and gluten-free crackers and chocolate chip cookies because Hannah is allergic. They got a piece of grass right up in the front row.
2. The Denver Botanic Gardens: Chatfield is neither a regular concert venue nor a regular botanic garden. It's 600 acres of prairie across South Wadsworth Boulevard from Chatfield Reservoir. It is, admittedly, immaculate prairie, with a diverse and well-cared-for selection of native flowers and grasses, a brand-new visitors' center, a barn that hosts weddings and, in the fall, a corn maze of some renown. Mostly, the Chatfield branch of the Botanic Gardens earns its keep with special events and rentals, but you can wander around any time you want for an admission fee of $5 per car. It would be a nice place to have a picnic.
The volunteers there probably didn't sign up for chaperoning concerts, since the Chatfield location has an agreement with its landlord and neighbors to host a maximum of five shows per year. This year it will have three -- more than it ever has before -- all part of the Botanic Gardens Summer Concert Series presented by Swallow Hill Music. In addition to the three Chatfield concerts, the series features eight shows at the Botanic Gardens' main location on York Street.
The night before Sara Bareilles was the Barenaked Ladies at Chatfield. Two longtime Botanic Gardens volunteers have, by chance, worked most of the concerts over the years. They praised this year's events, noting that the belligerence of the crowd and open consumption of marijuana were nothing, nothing compared to what they were like at the David Byrne and St. Vincent show last year. Sara Bareilles fans and Barenaked Ladies fans, I was surprised to learn, are equally docile and uninterested in pot.
3. You can bring quite a bit into the Chatfield Botanic Gardens for concerts. Binoculars and picnic baskets and non-alcoholic beverages in sealed containers are acceptable. So is any type of food. Your service animal is welcome; your bullhorn is not. Also not allowed: chairs over 26 inches high.
A member of the Argus security team was given a yardstick and what would seem to be the unhappy task of walking around, cracking down on tall chairs. But there is at least one champion for justice and clear sight lines left in the world, and the woman who drew this assignment took to it enthusiastically.
"Oh, that green one!" she exclaimed, spotting a chair near the front in clear violation of the 26 inch rule. "I'm gonna get it."
She and her stick left no room for gray areas. The green chair and its owners relocated to the back, where they wouldn't be blocking anyone's view.