Gentlemen of the Road Tour

Major Music Event Stops on Main Street


We are excited to announce that two Main Street communities are part of Mumford & Sons’ summertime Gentlemen of the Road Stopover tour! This internationally acclaimed band from the U.K. will be stopping in Bristol (a downtown sharing a border with Tennessee and Virginia) on August 11th, and in Dixon, Illinois, on August 18th. The two other destinations are Portland, Maine, on August 4th, and Monterey, California, on August 25th.

Each Stopover is built around a one-day, outdoor concert festival that will heavily involve the local communities. Mumford & Sons will headline the event and will be joined by other bands throughout the day and night. The Stopovers are expected to draw more than 10,000 people to each town.

The band issued this statement: “The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover is based loosely upon our favorite festivals like Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass and Scotland's Loopallu festivals. We want to stop off in towns where bands don't usually tour, and celebrate the people, food, and music that make them special. We’re keen to promote the town’s local businesses, and we’ll be using the local bars and venues for after-show parties, whilst working closely with the local people to get everyone involved in making these shows spectacular.”

Representatives from the band contacted the National Trust Main Street Center earlier this year looking for suggestions for small towns for the tour. They were searching for a great downtown with the infrastructure in place to accommodate large numbers of visitors, as well as a compelling history and story. Working with Main Street coordinators, we put together a short list, from which Bristol and Dixon rose to the top.

SOTW-5-29-12_BristolBadgeBristol, Tennessee/Virginia

Once new technology made it possible to record music outside of big cities, Victor Talking Machine Company Producer Ralph Peer began recording music in 1927 in Bristol because of its proximity to so many iconic musicians whose roots were firmly planted in rural mountain music. The Bristol Sessions recorded in a hat warehouse led to the christening of Bristol as the birthplace of country music. 

“Something of this magnitude for any Main Street program is amazing. We are so stoked to have this group come to our little community,” says Christina Blevins, executive director of Believe in Bristol. “The whole reason why they are coming here is because we came together as a community to embrace our musical heritage. Every night we have live music.”

And, thanks to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, an economic impact study will be able to quantify what this event will bring Bristol and how events like this will enhance the quality of life in a community.

SOTW-5-29-12_DixonBadgeDixon, Illinois

Dixon is the smallest stop on the tour. Just two hours away from Chicago, it began as a trading post along the Rock River and has a colorful and long outlaw history thanks to its surrounding forest lands that served as excellent hideouts.

“Part of the reason why they loved our downtown is because of the architecture and the way we are nestled on the river. We just got listed in the National Register for Historic Places in March, and now this is happening, so it has been an amazing year for us,” says Josh Albrecht, director of Dixon Main Street. “The word ‘epic’ has been thrown around a lot, and that is no understatement. We’ve had 5,000 people here for an event, and to have three times that in a town of 16,000… this just doesn’t happen. We are so blessed.”

This is an amazing opportunity for both of these Main Street programs and is exciting for the entire Main Street community to be on the radar of the music industry and so many new people. The tour producers generously are giving 1 percent of ticket sales to the local Main Street programs to help with their revitalization efforts and have worked out agreements to bring additional revenue from the shows and after parties. If you want to be part of this excitement, join us! Tickets go on sale June 1, exclusively at