PORTLAND – By 7 a.m. Saturday, Nance Monaghan’s son, Lex Goduti and his friends were on Monaghan’s roof at the corner of the Eastern Promenade and Congress Street erecting a ship in hope of catching the eye of Mumford & Sons.

At stake was personal time with the Grammy-nominated British folk rockers and possibly a concert in Monaghan’s living room.

The early wake-up call was apparently worth it, as the Monaghan household won the impromptu decorating concert. It rated a brief drop-in by the band but, alas, the rumors of a private concert were apparently incorrect.

Mumford & Sons hopped in golf carts late Saturday afternoon as other bands entertained thousands of fans packed onto the Eastern Prom. Joined by Portland Mayor Michael Brennan — who gave band members a key to the city — they took a look at the decorated houses and judged the ship design the best.

The house was augmented by a huge “We (heart) Mumford” banner, lest the English group miss the message.

Band members briefly stopped by the house to congratulate the winners and then headed back to the concert, city officials said.

Attempts to reach the Monaghans for comment Saturday were unsuccessful.

City officials said that, as far as they knew, the honor of being chosen — and brief stop by the band — were the only prizes in the contest.

Monaghan and her family were among a half-dozen or so residents along the Eastern Promenade who took up the band’s challenge to decorate their homes as part of the day-long “Gentlemen of the Road Stopover” festival on the Prom.

“I thought I might as well put a ship on my house,” said Monaghan, a hard-core fan of the group who thought it was a joke when she heard last spring that the band was playing in Portland.

With a sweeping view of the concert stage from her rooftop deck, Monaghan had perhaps the best view of the day. And like many other residents of Munjoy Hill, she decided to throw a party to celebrate the festival, which essentially took over the neighborhood and shut down city streets surrounding the park. Monaghan also asked her guests to donate $10 to the nearby St. Lawrence Church rebuilding project.

A festive atmosphere reigned in the usually quiet side streets in and around the Eastern Prom. Many of the residents took advantage of their proximity to the concert, opening their yards to family and friends at barbecues to listen to the music while ticket-holders had to pay $69 to get in.

On and around the Prom, some people were relaxing before going into the show, while others who didn’t bother buying tickets had planted themselves for the evening.

Ken Jones said he got the OK from a homeowner on the Eastern Prom to set up lawn chairs and a folding table — with cheese, crackers and grapes — from which they could enjoy the show.

“We got a discount,” said his friend, Rosa Cheney of South Portland.

Ben Gould, 27, found the perfect perch on a jungle gym near the concert. He said he had to work a shift at Five Guys at 6 p.m., but planned to watch for a while first.

“I can pretty much see everything from here,” he said.

Gould, who lives in Portland, took walking trails to get to the show. Others had a longer commute.

Keith Nagy, 27, said it took him and his friends six hours to get to Portland from their homes in Montreal. They admired the venue as they walked down the hill toward the prom for the first time.

Shahin Muttalib said it was his first visit to Maine.

“The air is really nice,” he said.

But not everyone thought the concert was such a great idea.

Loretta Griffin, who lives on Congress Street two blocks from the Eastern Promenade, wasn’t at all happy that the “Gentlemen of the Road” music festival was taking place in her neighborhood.

“I had plans to go out tonight and now I can’t go” because of the road closures, Griffin said. “It’s nice for a lot of people, but the inconvenience for me is awful.”

Griffin said she also feared the exodus after the concert would be similar to the end of the July 4th fireworks shows on the Eastern Promenade. Those shows, she said, have left her yard littered with trash, and the noise in the streets continues until early morning.

Most people seemed to relish the concert and opportunities it provided.

Katie Gibson’s backyard at her 32 Wilson St. apartment was filled with 30 or so friends. She said a fellow tenant was using the concert to host a bachelorette party for her niece from Aroostook County.

Gibson said everyone at her party had a ticket to the festival, but they spent the early part of the afternoon in the shade.

“We thought we would drink our own beer, eat our own food and use our own bathroom before heading down,” said Gibson.

Dan Galli, whose family owns a home at 12 Moody St. overlooking the Prom, watched the river of concert-goers flow by his open garage, which was fitted out with a couch, a 1969 Pepsi cooler and a gas grill.

“We are going to have plenty of friends,” said Galli.

“And the price is right,” added Eric Mosley, who also lives at 12 Moody St.

John Rogers and Lisa Lemieux of Falmouth, who just bought a house on Congress Street but have not yet moved in, walked their 11-year-old pug through the throngs of people.

“We bought at the right time,” said Lemieux. “We are going to love it up here.”

Nancy Nevergole, a ceramic artist, and Russ Sargent, a poet, set out tall ceramic poem vessels and vases at their apartment at 166 Eastern Promenade, hoping to beat out their neighbors in the house-decorating challenge.

“Only thing: We have a really tiny living room,” said Nevergole. “So maybe they can play on the porch.”

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

 


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