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August 2, 2012

Mumford & Sons: Prom kings

The reigning British folk-rock phenom plays a sold-out show in Portland.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Today's Poll: Mumford & Sons

Do you plan to go to the Mumford & Sons concert in Portland on Saturday?

Yes

No

View Results

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Mumford & Sons

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GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD STOPOVER

WHO: Mumford & Sons with St. Vincent, Dawes, The Maccabees, The Apache Relay, Haim, Dropkick Murphys, Simone Felice and emcee Reggie Watts

WHEN: 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Gates open at noon. Rain or shine.

WHERE: Eastern Promenade Park, Portland. The only entrance gate is near Moody Street on the Eastern Prom.

HOW MUCH: Sold out

INFO: statetheatreportland.com; gentlemenoftheroad.com

GETTING THERE

FIRST, THE BAD NEWS

There is no parking on the festival grounds. Much of the East End neighborhood, roughly from Washington Avenue north to the water, will be closed to vehicles beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Residents with proper ID will be allowed to drive into the area.

Even if you get to the area early, there will be no parking from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on many streets, including: Eastern Promenade, both sides from Morning Street to Washington Avenue; Fort Allen Park (both sides); Walnut Street from the Prom to Washington Avenue; and Mountfort Street from Congress Street to Fore Street (both sides).

Also from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the following streets will be closed as part of an emergency route: Eastern Prom from Morning Street to Walnut Street; Wilson Street from Morning Street to the Prom; Moody Street from Morning Street to the Prom; Congress Street from Morning Street to the Prom; Turner Street from Morning Street to the Prom; Quebec Street from Emerson Street to the Prom; Melbourne Street from Emerson Street to the Prom; Montreal Street from Willis Street to the Prom; and Walnut Street from Willis Street to the Prom.

NOW THE GOOD NEWS

There are a number of parking garages and lots within walking distance from the Eastern Promenade. To view a list or map, see the city's website at portlandmaine.gov/parking/offstreet.asp.

If you don't want to walk all the way from Washington Avenue to the park, the Narrow Gauge Railroad will be shuttling people from its location at 58 Fore St. to the festival grounds between 1 and 7 p.m. Free; donations accepted.

A bicycle valet service by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will be set up at the bottom of Cutter Street near East End Beach. You can ride your bike there using the Eastern Promenade Trail from the Old Port or from near Marginal Way. Bikes can be retrieved from the valet area at any point during the show. Free; donations accepted.

Maine Pedicab will be running Saturday to take people to the festival. They work on tips, so it's pay what you want. Call 430-7011.

STAY CALM AND CARRY ON

WHAT'S AN ALL-DAY MUSIC FESTIVAL in a public park without rules? Well, we won't know, because the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover does indeed have some. Here are most of the key ones from the event organizers. See more online at statetheatreportland.com.

DO NOT BRING: Alcoholic beverages; illegal or illicit substances of any kind; weapons; fireworks; umbrellas; bicycles inside the festival grounds; professional photo, audio or video equipment; laser pointers; chairs; beach umbrellas or anything that could obstruct the view of others; pets; outside food and drink; glass; bottles; cans or coolers.

RE-ENTRY: There will be no re-entry into the festival once you have had your "Gentlemen of the Road Passport" checked. Gates open at noon and will stay open for the duration of the concert.

FOOD: Food vendors will be on site all day.

ALCOHOL: Locally made Gritty McDuff's and Shipyard beers will be sold at the beer garden. The bars are cash only. ATMs will be available on the site.

SMOKING: Don't do it. Not allowed.

HANDICAPPED SEATING: Will be made available by request when you arrive at the festival grounds.

HANDICAPPED PARKING: Available on a first-come, first-served basis on Cutter Street and in Fort Allen Park. Clearly marked handicapped vehicles can pass through the barricades until 6 p.m.

For those Mainers who don't know Mumford & Sons from "Sanford and Son," here's the crux of Saturday's daylong Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Festival at Portland's Eastern Promenade Park, summed up as TV junkman Fred Sanford himself used to say:

"It's the big one."

By anyone's measure -- music fan, unknowing bystander, local business owner -- Saturday's event will be one of the biggest music events ever held in the city. It has already drawn national attention, and could open the door for similar events in Portland.

It certainly is the biggest, most ambitious concert in recent memory to be held in a city park.

As many as 16,000 people are expected to fill the Eastern Promenade to hear the music of Grammy-nominated British folk rockers Mumford & Sons and seven other nationally known bands from 2 to 9 p.m. The entire East End, from Washington Avenue north to the waterfront, will be shut down to vehicle traffic during the sold-out show.

The concert is just one of four "Gentlemen of the Road Stopover" festivals that Mumford & Sons has planned for this summer (in addition to a regular tour). This has drawn national attention to Portland -- not only is the event expected to bring in fans from all over the country, band members have praised the city's art scene and historic, creative vibe in explaining why they picked it as a venue.

"It's got the ocean, a lively music scene, and it's an old town. We're very interested in history," said Mumford multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Winston Marshall, 24, in a phone interview. "It's exactly the vibe and character we were looking for in picking these sites."

Marshall will get to see more of Portland than just the Eastern Promenade -- after the show, he's scheduled to be at one of the five after-parties, at The Big Easy in Portland's Old Port.

Mumford & Sons has become wildly popular over the past few years on the strength of just one full-length album and hyper-charged word of mouth. The band hasn't toured the U.S. all that much, so there's a pent-up demand to see it and to hear new music from its upcoming album, "Babel," due out in September.

"It's amazing what they've done on the strength of one album. Their new album is the most highly anticipated record in a long time," said Patrick Doyle, a Falmouth native and journalist who has covered Mumford & Sons as an assistant editor for Rolling Stone magazine.

"There aren't many huge rock bands right now playing their own instruments and doing new music -- maybe Black Keys, Jack White -- so Mumford & Sons right now are as big as you get."

IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER

After Saturday's concert, people are expected to stream down Munjoy Hill to downtown and the Old Port for more reveling. There will be five "official" after-parties featuring "special guests" from among the performers of the Eastern Prom show, including at least two Mumford members.

If successful, the ambitious Gentlemen of the Road festival could open the door for other super-hot bands to come to Portland, or for more similar events on the Eastern Prom, a beautiful harbor-side spot that up to now has been home mostly to small concerts by local performers and the city's Fourth of July fireworks.

For this event, the concert area of the park will be surrounded by 8-foot-high fencing, and there will be only one entrance gate.

"It's certainly a unique and special event, but as far as having more, we'll have to wait and see how things go with the neighborhood and the community," said Nicole Clegg, spokesperson for the city of Portland. "The event has gotten the city national attention, which is always nice."

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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The Dropkick Murphys will play Mumford’s “Stopover” festival in Portland. The punk-pop band from Boston is one of a number of acts that will perform, including St. Vincent, Dawes and The Maccabees.

Piper Ferguson photo

  


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Today's Poll: Mumford & Sons

Do you plan to go to the Mumford & Sons concert in Portland on Saturday?

Yes

No

View Results

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