Exclusive Gentlemen of the Road tour hits Guthrie, Okla.


By: Carina Snow

News Editor

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The crowd goes wild as Mumford and Sons take the stage with their plethora of instruments. Photo by Megan Boatright

Guthrie, Okla. – The “Gentlemen of the Road” tour rocked the city of Guthrie Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7 with an exclusive weekend stopover concert; the event, which resembled a modern-day Woodstock, boasted a colossal crowd of nearly 40,000.

The city of Guthrie, with a population of roughly 10,000, transformed into a mecca for fans of the incredible line-up of musicians. The headliner was what some might call the modern-day British invasion from London— Grammy-winning, folk-rock band Mumford and Sons. The band’s second studio release, “Babel,” won the award for 2013 Album of the Year.

The exclusive “Gentlemen of the Road Tour” stopover concerts took place in only 5 cities around the world: Troy, Ohio; St. Augustine, Fla., and Guthrie, Okla. in the U.S; Simcoe, Ontario, Canada, and Lewes, United Kingdom abroad.  Event tickets resembled passports, adding witty emphasis to the tour’s global aspect.

Many concertgoers, who came from around the country to experience the energetic atmosphere and enjoy the folksy rock tunes, camped at Guthrie‘s Cottonwood Flats. Cattle fields were transformed into parking lots, stretching almost as far as the eye could see in order to accommodate the mass of vehicles.

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Zach Hunter, RSC photography major camps among thousands in GOTR’s “tent city”. Photos by Carina Snow.

Among the throngs of fans was Zach Hunter, RSC photography major, who purchased his tickets in February, and “ever since I’ve been counting down,” he said. “It’s like a Woodstock of 2013. Since there’s only five locations it’s a pretty big deal.”

“It’s like a city of tents,” Hunter said. “Last night, there were some people that had an acoustic guitar, and were playing. So the campsite is very upbeat.” He said he decided to camp because a friend who attended the GOTR stopover in Ohio told him “it makes the experience.”

Hunter said the event’s atmosphere was “laid back and relaxed” for the most part, and after sunset there was some relief from the relentless heat of the day.  “I told one of my friends, ‘you have to go, you can’t miss it. You do what you have to do; sweat and rough it,’” he said. “It‘s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Among his favorite musicians of the GOTR tour were Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes, Alabama Shakes, and Haim.

Haim was a favorite “going in” for Megan Boatright, RSC mass communications- journalism major who attended the festival. “I have never seen a [Haim] show where my jaw didn’t drop. They’re just completely skilled at their instruments, and it’s awesome to see that from a girl band,” she said. “They were wicked.” Boatright plays rhythm guitar and is the lead vocalist for her own band, Sue and George, which plays folk-alternative music.

“It was a surreal experience,” Boatright said of seeing world famous Mumford and Sons perform. “We were on the rail for it, we were up close and personal. It was unreal. They met every expectation and exceeded it,” she said.

“For [GOTR] to choose Guthrie Oklahoma and bring the festival with them was like being a part of history in the making,” Boatright said. “We were really lucky to have a town in Oklahoma chosen for this experience.”

Boatright said overall the event was great. “The stage was neat, it was easy to see everything. It was really reminiscent of what a festival should look like,” she said, “a bunch of hippies in a field.”

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes captivates the crowd with her powerful voice.

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes captivates the crowd with her powerful voice.

Also in the weekend line-up were Willy Mason, Justin Townes Earle, Phosphorescent, and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros on Friday; Haim, Bear’s Den, Those Darlins, Half Moon Run, The Vaccines, Alabama Shakes, and Yacht Club DJs performed along with Mumford and Sons on Saturday.

The city of Guthrie went to great lengths to welcome the Gentlemen of the Road. A major intersection in town, Oklahoma Avenue and Second Street, was painted to resemble a giant United Kingdom Flag, and dozens of downtown stores displayed signs that read “Mums the Word,” or “Welcome Gentlemen of the Road.”

Dr. John Wood, RSC professor and vice mayor of Guthrie, said local city employees planned the event for nearly a year. The city staff  “did a wonderful job. Our development officer, Cody Moseley, and city manager, Sereniah Breland, really made for a smooth-running event,” he said.

“I thought the event went really well. We had more than 35,000 people at the main event and thousands downtown. We expect it to generate about $300,000 in tax revenue and $10 million in economic activity [for Guthrie],” Wood said.

“Staff did a great job, but we also had folks in the fire and police from all levels of government and from across the state who really came out to keep us safe,” Wood said. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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