Gentleman of the Road Festival
- By Rachel Sibley -
- Oct 26, 2012
It’s rare to find a band so completely dedicated to the enjoyment of their fans, who put in such an abundance of effort to keep their listeners and spectators having an awesome time. Mumford & Sons are one such band, pulling out all stops for the release of their second album ‘Babel’. Part of the release of the new album has been the 'Gentlemen of the Road' tour, which sees Mumford & Sons bringing an entire festival to small towns that don’t often receive live music from well known artists.
The unique tour landed in Dungog this week, the last stopover for the Gentlemen of the Road festival. The small town in NSW, Australia, is about three hours north of Sydney, home to approximately 2800 people. Over the weekend the town saw over 10000 people from around Australia arrive for the festival.
Headliners Mumford & Sons were joined by Sarah Blasko, Matt Corby, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Willy Mason, Husky and Yacht Club DJs.
Held at the Dungog Showground, attendees were invited to camp in a nearby camping ground for Friday and Saturday nights, as well as having entertainment provided on the Friday night, an exclusive screening of behind the scenes while Mumford & Sons have been on the road.
Saturday saw a scorching day, with the sun beating down early, meaning tents were like ovens and there was little shade to cower under. The pubs were full by 10 a.m. in efforts to escape the relentless sun, and by 1pm when the gates of the festival opened, all gentlemen of the road had a decent layer of sweat and dirt clinging to their clammy skin.
Husky began the music around 2:30pm with a smallish crowd as the blazing sun kept some away, and were a good first choice, and their music doesn’t hype up a crowd like the other acts. They were followed by Willy Mason, whose country style was perfect in the country town of the festival and Matt Corby brought an intense set to the stage, of course playing his hit song ‘Brother’ as part of it. Sarah Blasko was the fourth act and saw the sun set throughout her quite long act. She played a couple songs from her recently released album ‘I Awake’ but mostly focused on her older, more well known music. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros launched the night off to a roaring start and drew the largest crowd yet to the bottom of the stage, with their in-your-face performance style. Anticipation was high when Mumford & Sons were next to come on stage, and were met by roaring applause.
The set by the headlining band included almost all of their well known hits, including lead single of the new album, ‘I Will Wait’, which saw the crowd go crazy. ‘Little Lion Man’ included some awesome lighting effects which put the crowd in awe, and almost distracting them from the music, though it wasn’t long before that banjo had them all focused 100% on the music at hand. ‘Sigh no More’, title song from the last album, was a beauty, and in the song, as well as throughout the set, lead singer Marcus Mumford would mix up the melody a little bit as the crowd sang along, having a little fun with both himself and the audience.
As part of the encore, the title track of the new album, ‘Babel’ was the first time the band had played the song live, a special experience for the entire crowd. The final song of the Mumford & Sons set was not actually theirs, and saw the rest of the acts join them on stage. A perfect end, was the group-effort cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’, combining brilliant, old music, with the new talent of these current musical legends.
The effort to which this band and their team have gone to for the fans is quite remarkable. Not one detail was unthought-of, and the weekend went smoothly for all, as well as the hospitality of the town of Dungog being so wonderful. The general vibe of summertime happiness and joy was obvious and anticipation for the band permeated the air from the get-go.
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