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In Guthrie, a generous showing

BY GEORGE LANG Modified: September 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm •  Published: September 6, 2013

Gates opened at 4 p.m. Friday at Cottonwood Flats as wristband holders staked out their territory in front of the stage.

Clay Pirtle, 38, drove from Sulphur Springs, Texas, to meet Dustin Welch and Layna Welch, of Edmond and Arcadia. Pirtle had met the Welches at a Magnetic Zeros show in Tulsa, and drove four and a half hours for Gentlemen of the Road, getting there in time to find a spot about 12 feet from the stage.

“My wife couldn't get off work, so I came by myself and met them,” Pirtle said.

For Amy Clarkson, the trip to Cottonwood Flats was short, but the Guthrie resident said that sudden influx of music fans has not been a problem at all for her hometown.

“The traffic is crazy, but it's not too bad,” said Clarkson, 32. “It's not what people were expecting. We came in from the west and we had no problem.”

Fitzgerald said he started working on bringing Gentlemen of the Road to Guthrie a year ago, but he said that the event, which culminates in a headlining performance by Mumford & Sons on Saturday night, is moving smoothly for such a large operation.

“Everything's really organized — a lot of tickets sold, and everything's working well so far,” he said.

But after the stage comes down, Gaines said, the lasting impact will come from that check that the Regional Food Bank received from Mumford & Sons.

“We're just so grateful to them, because there's been a huge increase in need,” Gaines said.