Good vibes go a long way when bands hit the road together. For Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a great experience touring with folk-rock superstars Mumford & Sons in 2011 paved the way for the Los Angeles-based psychedelic folk band to become Gentlemen of the Road.
“It initially sparked off from the Railroad Revival Tour,” said Christopher “Crash” Richard, vocalist and percussionist with the Magnetic Zeros, which will headline the Friday lineup of Gentlemen of the Road, a two-day festival at the Cottonwood Flats festival grounds in Guthrie. “It carried over into a great relationship between us and Mumford.”
Richard said GOTR is a festival that aspires to be exceptional, to bring a spotlight to small towns and make a lasting impact. An estimated 35,000 people will attend the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Guthrie to see Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Alabama Shakes, Haim, The Vaccines, Those Darlins, Willy Mason and others, and the money brought into the community could have a transformative effect. When Mumford & Sons staged a GOTR Stopover in the Tennessee-Virginia border city of Bristol in 2012, more than $5.1 million in tax revenue was generated locally. Early projections for the economic impact of last weekend's GOTR Stopover in Troy, Ohio, exceeded $12 million.
The relationship between Mumford & Sons, which headlines the festival and will close out the event on Saturday night, and the cities hosting stopovers is mutually beneficial. Festivalgoers are encouraged to spend their money locally, and in turn, area businesses partner with the band and event organizers to sell homegrown products during the stopover. Guthrie is one of only five GOTR Stopovers in 2013, the others include Lewes, U.K.; Simcoe, Ontario, Canada; Troy, Ohio; and St. Augustine, Fla.
Richard said that Mumford & Sons treat the entire experience like a family gathering — bands, towns, businesses and fans included.