Mumford and Sons have just announced a second Gentlemen of the Road tour, and one of the three U.S. Stopovers is in Guthrie, Oklahoma, a small town 3 hours and 45 minutes north of Dallas.
Here's how these things work: Towns apply to be selected for the show, and it's really more like a festival. Several bands play each Stopover -- eight, in the case of Guthrie. Some of the more well-known names, besides M&S, are Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and The Alabama Shakes. The full list is below.
The Guthrie Stopover is on September 6 and 7, 2013. Tickets are $109 and go on sale 11 a.m. CST on February 8. Camping passes are available for $40. Details can be found on the Gentlemen of the Road web site.
I actually went to this thing last year in Dixon, Illinois, and it was incredible. Forget, for a moment, your opinion of the headlining band itself and take stock of how unlikely this thing is. The tour isn't supported by a huge booking company like Livenation. There are no fees of any kind on tickets. At last year's installment, there wasn't a single sponsor logo anywhere. Not on the stage, not on the adorably handcrafted "passport" tickets, not on the banners and paintings around town. We talked to Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, accordion and drums) this afternoon and he explained the band's motivation for these shows. "We don't want to go out and just live backstage in an arena and make a ton of cash," he says. "And look back and wonder what that was really all for. The Stopovers are more of an expression of our values and the kind of music we like. We're lucky to be in this position -- doing more than just playing the songs that we write."
Lovett ended his Stopover in Illinois last year shirtless and dancing with wild abandon to The Very Best. I know that because I was pressed against the barrier doing much the same. There was also street fair in the town's actual downtown and the local businesses made an absolute killing.
Mumford & Sons also wound up doing a more conventional summer tour last year, and Lovett assures us that they'll be doing the same again this year. "Without a doubt we'll be doing another U.S. tour," he says. "America has been unbelievably good to us."
The most drastic difference between this year's Gentlemen of the Road tour and last year's is that each Stopover lasts two nights. "We're going to try and make it a whole weekend. We think will mean that people can just escape a little bit more and enjoy the town a little bit more," says Lovett. "Get into Guthrie and everything Guthrie is about."
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So no, your only chance to see some mandolin shredding is likely not by making the drive to Guthrie, Oklahoma. But it is definitely your best chance to see it.
Mumford & Sons Gentlemen of the Road Stopover: Guthrie Lineup Sept 6th - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Willy Mason Sept 7th - Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, The Vaccines, Bear's Den, Half Moon Run, Those Darlins
The rest of the Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers are as follows: July 19 and 20: Lewes, UK August 23 and 24: Simcoe, Ontario August 30 and 31: Troy, Ohio September 6 and 7: Guthrie, Oklahoma September 13 and 14: St. Augustine, Florida