It wouldn't be much of a stretch to nickname it "North by Northeast": In August, British folk rockers Mumford & Sons will embark on a rare tour to this side of the Atlantic, and their only stopover on the East Coast will be located on the very brim of it, right here in Portland, on the Eastern Promenade overlooking Casco Bay.
With only six performances in all, in unique locations, the "Gentlemen of the Road" tour makes a point of being a unique music festival — one that encourages their audience to enjoy the hosting community as much as they enjoy the music. From the tour's website:
"Each Stopover is a day-long event, celebrating the music, food and people of the places we're visiting. We'll be bringing a full lineup of some of our favorite bands from around the world, and curating events that combine a music festival and local gathering into one epic party. We plan to start early, and go late, taking the party from the stage to the town."
Portland, in particular, seems to have been chosen for the downtown businesses, breweries, and restaurants that could provide concert-goers with hospitality and entertainment after the big concert ends. In an interview with the local paper, band member Winston Marshall said that “We wanted places we had never been before, and places where we could sort of take over a town and get all sorts of local places involved. It’s not just about seeing the few bands at the festival, it’s about learning about the town and hopefully everybody going into the bars and pubs afterwards.”
And even if folk-rock isn't your thing, the Gentlemen of the Road tour is bringing an impressive and diverse group of performers with them. Indie rock bands like the Maccabees, St. Vincent, and L.A. up-and-comers HAIM, among several others, will also be giving their first-ever performances in Portland on the same day. Hopefully they'll like what they see and come back.
Or you could just skip the music altogether, and enjoy the rush of happy humanity surging through the Old Port afterwards.
Tickets go on sale this morning, and are available from the Gentlemen of the Road website.