Thursday, September 5th, 2013
By William Kincaid
Mumford & Sons thrills fans in Troy stop
TROY - As Old Crow Medicine Show unleashed its supercharged bluegrass on a massive stage constructed near the scoreboard end of Troy Memorial Stadium early Saturday evening, masses of fans made their way to the field.
Bluegrass music commanding the attention of thousands of people on a field where Mercer County football teams have battled in past playoffs? Oh, how the winds of musical tastes ebb and flow.
The stadium - a weekend home for Mumford & Sons' Gentlemen of the Road Stopover music festival - was crowded by 7 p.m., with both sides of the facility's rain-blotted bleachers packed with people not wanting to stand on the turf-protected ground level and throngs of festival-goers migrating from the multi-colored tents lining the Miami River and the bridge between the closed-off downtown and the football field.
By the time Mumford & Sons took the stage, over 25,000 people collectively emitted a deafening roar to welcome the wildly-popular English folk group possessing the uncanny ability to captivate colossal crowds and reach the same emotional heights of U2 while employing Appalachian instruments - acoustic guitar, banjo, stand-up bass and fiddle.
Mumford & Sons's popularity which spans several demographics doesn't make sense to me; their rootsy style of music has been played, in one form or another, by hillbillies, country crooners, rockabilly acts and Celtic rockers and punks for decades.
Maybe people - chiefly young kids and twenty-something hipsters, but also those grown cynical or weary of derivative dance music and other doggerel sounds that pass for contemporary music - are receptive to what they perceive as honest, authentic music, a voice that gives hope and inspires a generation living in an uncertain time.
Whatever the reason, the old-timey sounds, played with rock 'n' roll intensity, attracted people from almost every state and other countries to Troy, more than doubling the town's population for the weekend.
Even if you weren't familiar with the other bands sharing the bill, such as Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Justin Townes Earle, The Vaccines, etc., the weekend was about more than music - it was a communal celebration of all the things that make life worth living: fellowship, good drink and food, art, and for the promoters who put the show on and the people and businesses owners who prepared the town for the three-day party, the fruits of their labor.
Couples and groups of friends intermingled with townies to enjoy the hometown charms and tastes of a municipality selected as one of five destinations in the world where Mumford & Sons chose to stop as part of its traveling, carnival-like Gentlemen of the Road festival.
Along with the influx of visitors came millions of dollars, a great boon to the local economy of hotels, restaurants, gas stations, small businesses and more.
For three days, Troy closed off its downtown area and hosted its own bands as part of the once-in-a-lifetime weekend that will surely be written in the town's history books.
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