By Ashley Blanco | firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 25,000 tickets have been sold for the fall Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers tour that will bring Mumford and Sons to Francis Field in St. Augustine.
For a city with a population of only about 13,000, it’s a big deal to land a concert tour like this.
With the tour coming through, venues have to be chosen and that is where Ryan Murphy and the city of St. Augustine staff helped out. Murphy is the general manager of the Cultural Events Divisions of St. Johns County and St. Augustine Amphitheatre & Ponte Vedra Concert Halls. Back in November, Mumford and Sons management reached out to Murphy and St. Augustine staff about whether St. Augustine would be interested in hosting the stopover tour event. Although many concerts are held at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, it just wasn’t an option with an expected crowd of over 25,000. The amphitheater only seats around 4,000 people and this event needed more space.
Mumford and Sons relied on Murphy and his staff to find venue possibilities. The options were limited, but included the St. Johns County Fairgrounds, Francis Field and a few others outside the downtown area. However, the band made it clear that they wanted to include the downtown city businesses and community.
“The amphitheater staff has worked on several festivals and large-scale events downtown at Francis Field and we are confident in it’s space accommodations,” said Murphy.
Why Francis Field on Castillo Drive? Not only does the field offer more space for the concert to be held, but Mumford and Sons’ Stopover Tour really is about the community, and they want it to take place at a non-traditional venue. They figured Francis Field was close enough to the Historic District and would make for a unique experience. St. Augustine’s preparation for the 450th Commemoration was another main reason the town landed the gig. Band members flew down and within two days learned the town inside and outside. They wanted a town that was diversified, tolerant, had sustainable practices and had a truly unique story behind it.
Shortly after their arrival back in England, there was a statement made that their producer relayed to St. Augustine City Manager John Regan that said, “If more cities were like St. Augustine, the world would be a better place. This will help shine a light on it.”