August 4, 2012

Hill breaks out for Mumford & Sons

Musicians and Maine’s biggest city unite in mutual appreciation as British folk rockers headline an all-day concert Saturday, drawing thousands to Portland’s Eastern Promenade.

From staff reports

PORTLAND — The Gentlemen of the Road came calling Saturday, and Portland proved itself a worthy and able host.

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Mumford & Sons performs during the Gentlemen of the Road music festival at the Eastern Prom in Portland on Saturday.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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This aerial view captures the size of the crowd during the part of the concert when Mumford & Sons took the main stage Saturday night.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

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Do you dream of experiencing it all again? Portland was just the first of four stopover events in the U.S. leg of the Gentlemen of the Road tour. The musical collective headlined by Mumford & Sons travels to these locales next: 

AUG. 11 -- Bristol, Va.

AUG. 18 -- Dixon, Ill.

AUG. 25 -- Monterey, Calif.

The city’s Eastern Promenade became a sprawling landing site for more than 15,000 music fans, who turned out on a perfect summer day for the “Gentlemen of the Road Stopover,” a traveling festival headlined by the popular British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons. Seven other bands also performed, including Boston’s Dropkick Murphys.

Fans spread themselves out on the steep, grassy hillside, with two side-by-side stages near the bottom. Dozens of boats moored in the harbor, offering an idyllic background. Houses along the promenade hung British and American flags and other banners, including one that proclaimed Maine’s love of all things Mumford. Residents hosted parties on rooftop decks.

“This is absolutely beautiful,” said Brenna Pollak, 23, of Cumberland. “We need more outdoor concerts in Maine, and this is a perfect site. You have to go to Boston or New Hampshire for outdoor concerts. I hope they keep this up.”

Fans began lining up in the early morning hours for a prime spot at the sold-out general admission concert on the lawn. Music began at 2 p.m. and lasted until after 9 p.m. Mumford & Sons, the day’s final act, went on at 7:45 p.m. The long-awaited Mumford moment began quietly, with Marcus Mumford welcoming the crowd with a hushed greeting: “Good evening.”

Two video screens projected images of the show to fans in the farthest reaches of the park, but it’s hard to imagine fans atop the hill felt very close to the band.

The party continued into the night and early morning Sunday, with after-show events at clubs throughout downtown Portland, including a full set by the Dropkick Murphys at the State Theatre.

Other musicians from the festival, including members of Mumford & Sons, also attended various after-concert parties.

Portland police said no problems were reported, either during the event or as the crowd streamed off Munjoy Hill and into the city after the show.

Traffic on Congress Street was heavy after the show ended at about 9 p.m. and sidewalks were packed with people looking for clubs or a place to eat.

Police estimated the total crowd in and outside the venue at more than 20,000.

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, who presented Mumford & Sons the key to the city, gave the festival high grades Saturday.

“This is exactly the type of event we have to have in Portland,” Brennan said. “It showcases everything we like about Portland, the Eastern Prom, the waterfront; and people are obviously having a good time.”

The festival attracted fans from across the Northeast and the Canadian Maritimes. Rachael Moore, 21, drove up Saturday morning from her home in North Reading, Mass., with friends Lindsy and Carly Goldberg. The Goldberg sisters attended the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island last week, and said the festival site on the Eastern Prom reminded them of Newport.

“Mumford & Sons is one of my favorite bands,” Moore said. “The fact that they are doing this festival with all these other bands is really cool. I thought it would be worth it to drive up.”

Saturday was the young women’s first trip to Portland. They were pleased to find people friendly and helpful.

“We didn’t know where the Eastern Prom was. We had our phones out, and people came up to us asking, ‘Can I help?’ People were offering to help without us having to ask. That’s pretty cool,” Carly Goldberg said.

They brought $160, and planned to spend it all before leaving – except for turnpike tolls on the way home.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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The Dropkick Murphys perform on stage B during the Gentlemen of the Road tour at the Eastern Prom in Portland on Saturday, August 4, 2012.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer: Madeleine Paine and Jake Hancock, dressed in flags, stand in front of Paine's 150 Eastern Promanade Ave home decorated for a Mumford & Sons concert on Saturday August 4, 2012. The prize for the best decorated home, reportedly is a personal appearance by the Mumford and Sons band in the winner's livingroom.

Carl D. Walsh / Staff Photographer

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Friends helped turn the home of Nance Monaghan into a boat in hopes of winning a house-decorating contest on Munjoy Hill for the "Gentleman of the Road" music festival. The winner of the contest supposedly gets Mumford and Sons in their living room following the concert.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

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Apache Relay, one of the featured bands, takes the stage at the "Gentlemen of the Road Stopover" concert on the Eastern Promenade in Portland on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

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Concert-goers Christine Diad and Jessica Chebl of Nova Scotia wait to get into Mumford & Son concert on Portland's Eastern Promenade on Saturday, August 4, 2012.

Carl Walsh / Staff Photographer

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Festival-goers wait in line to get into the "Gentlemen of the Road Stopover" festival on Portland's Eastern Promenade on Saturday, August 4, 2012.

Carl Walsh / Staff Photographer

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Winston Marshall and Marcus Mumford from Mumford & Sons hang out backstage on the Eastern Promenade at the "Gentlemen of the Road Stopover" music festival in Portland.

Staff Writer / Aimsel Ponti

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Eliot Poirier makes some Gyros for customers from his food cart on the corner of Vesper Street and Moody Street on Munjoy Hill in Portland near the "Gentleman of the Road Stopover" concert on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.

Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

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St. Vincent performs at the "Gentleman of the Road" music festival on Portland's Eastern Promenade on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.

Aimsel Ponti / Staff Writer

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