Saturday, March 8, 2014
By ROD HARMON
Portland got a tremendous shot in the arm earlier this week when the City Council approved an Aug. 4 music festival headlined by Mumford & Sons on the Eastern Promenade. While all the details, including ticket prices and an on-sale date, have yet to be announced, this is great news on a number of fronts.
Here are five reasons that the "Gentlemen of the Road" concert will be beneficial to Portland:
1. Mumford & Sons are hot right now, riding on the success of the hit 2010 album "Sigh No More," which rose to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and garnered numerous awards and nominations, including several Grammy nods. They are reportedly only playing a few select dates this summer, so it's quite a coup for Portland, and will result in more tourism dollars flowing into the state as fans from away flock to the show.
2. It helps to re-establish Portland's reputation as a draw for major touring acts, building on the success of the reopened State Theatre on Congress Street, last summer's outdoor shows at Ocean Gateway and the sold-out March 6 Black Keys concert at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Word of mouth spreads incredibly quickly in the entertainment industry, especially among those responsible for booking tours.
3. The style of music is consistent with the laid-back neighborhood atmosphere on the Prom. We're not talking heavy metal or rap here, we're talking folk-rock. Not that there's anything wrong with metal or rap, they just would be inappropriate for the site. A Mumford & Sons show, on the other hand, is tailor-made for an idyllic waterside concert experience.
4. The grounds of the Eastern Prom will accommodate different types of concert goers. So if your main objective is to see M&S up close, you can do that. And if you just want to chill out, lie on the grass and play Frisbee while listening to live music, you can do that too.
5. It's an outdoor concert. On the lawn. In the summer. In Portland. I've been to outdoor fests all over the country, and it's hard to enjoy yourself when you're shoulder-to-shoulder sweating bullets for hours on a blacktop tarmac. Sure, it may get a little toasty, but come on -- it's Maine. It's known as a summer vacation destination mainly because it's not as hot as most of the rest of the country.
Let's hope the M&S concert not only becomes a legacy festival that occurs annually, but also marks the impetus for similar events in the future. The City By the Sea deserves no less.
For more details on the Aug. 4 concert, read our story here: tinyurl.com/EasternPromConcert
Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at email@example.com