PORTLAND, Maine — One Eastern Promenade home may get a visit from the British folk rock band Mumford & Sons when the group comes to the neighborhood for its highly anticipated Aug. 4 concert.
Bob Kennedy, director of the band’s exclusive Gentlemen of the Road Festival tour, told attendees at a Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Association forum Tuesday night the group is asking homeowners in the area of their coming show to decorate their homes. Band members will judge the best-decorated place and pay the home a visit, Kennedy confirmed.
He said the band simply likes festive atmospheres for its concerts and decided to hold the informal contest during a site visit in advance of their concert.
The Tuesday night forum held at the East End Community School represented the second neighborhood meeting in as many months on Munjoy Hill as area residents get ready for an influx for thousands of concertgoers — as well as potentially thousands more who hope to crash the show without tickets.
Among those addressing neighborhood residents Tuesday were Lauren Wayne, general manager of concert promoter The State Theatre; Cmdr. Gary Rogers of the Portland Police Department; Portland Solid Waste Manager Troy Moon; and Diane Davison, president of the Friends of the Eastern Promenade.
Wayne told attendees Tuesday that homes decorated with a throwback feel — maybe all the way back to the Old West — would be in keeping with the theme of the band’s tour, but neither she nor Kennedy made promises about what look would win a homeowner an exclusive visit.
At the time of the meeting, only about 300 tickets remained for the concert festival stop. A limited batch of 3,000 additional tickets was made available less than two weeks ago after the initial allotment sold out within an hour of going on sale the morning of June 1.
The British folk rock band Mumford & Sons, whose 2010 album “Sigh No More” reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, chose Portland as one of only four U.S. sites for its exclusive Gentlemen of the Road Tour.
The concert, which comes less than two months before the band’s highly anticipated follow-up record hits stores, is expected to attract 15,000 fans to the Eastern Promenade on Aug. 4.
On the day of the show, Munjoy Hill is slated to be closed to all but residential traffic, and gates will open for the concert at noon. The music, which will feature several opening acts before the star headliners, is scheduled to continue until about 9 p.m.
A portion of the proceeds — 50 cents out of each ticket, adding up to $7,500 if the show sells out as expected — from the Mumford & Sons festival stop will benefit the Friends of the Eastern Promenade, an organization working to rebuild and maintain the East End park area and its associated trails.
According to Friends of the Eastern Prom, an eight-foot-high security fence around much of the perimeter will slow the concert crowd from spilling into nearby neighborhoods, while a beer garden at the show will be monitored by city staff.
To help ease the traffic effects of the show, city officials and concert promoters are setting up a bike valet at the East End boat ramp, the local Narrow Gauge Railway will make runs to the Eastern Prom from 1 to 7 p.m., Greater Portland Metro Buses will make multiple trips to the hill, and maps of all nearby parking lots will be mailed by concert promoters to ticket buyers.
In anticipation of several hundred — to as many as a couple of thousand — additional people coming to the site without tickets, organizers told Munjoy Hill residents Tuesday night that portable toilets will be set up outside the gated festival area, as will security guards and police officers.
Moon told attendees Tuesday the city and a team of volunteers will also put out recycling and trash receptacles at multiple high traffic points in the area.
Setup for the festival will begin on the Thursday morning before the Saturday concert, with two Cutter Street parking lots closing down at 7 a.m. and stage assembly beginning at 8 a.m. on Aug. 2. On Friday, Aug. 3, after Mumford & Sons is scheduled to hold a special in-store performance at the Scarborough Bull Moose music store, the band’s sound check on the Eastern Prom will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.