Troy, Ohio, is slotted in a region of the United States where a the antique sound of Mumford & Sons seems not at all antique. A city of about 25,000 outside of Dayton, it still has a small town feel. There are the pop fans, sure, but one walk into Troy’s downtown square and one feels transported into another time, when raucous sing-alongs on acoustic instruments feel like the flavor of the now.
So when Mumford & Sons announced Troy as one of the four North American stops on its 2013 Gentlemen Of The Road tour (others being Simcoe, Ontario; Guthrie, Okla. and St. Augustine, Fla.), it first came as a surprise that, of all places in the U.S., the band would choose the county seat of Miami County that’s nestled along the Great Miami River and next to the travel juggernaut that is I-75. But if one thought about it, a trip to Troy made perfect sense.
This year, the London folk band expanded its Gentlemen Of The Road stopovers from just one day of music to two, resting in western Ohio over Aug. 30-31 for a jamboree of sizable proportions. Folk music may not be thought of as a genre able to reach for the nose-bleeds in many occasions, but that’s exactly what Marcus Mumford and his band were able to do for the residents of the Miami Valley and beyond.
Beginning with a set by Montreal folksters Half Moon Run late Friday, all acts from then on played a standard festival stage set in the end zone of Troy’s high school football stadium. Concertgoers largely stood on the field itself, though the grass was covered by a plastic tarp that may or may not have actually keep the material below from getting trampled; the next home football game for the Trojans should answer that.
Considering the $100 ticket price, the music’s obviously important, but the Gentlemen Of The Road tour isn’t a good time just for its musical delights: it’s the spirit of the festival itself that’s most enticing.
A plethora of folks from the area or elsewhere set up tents in various allotted campgrounds — seven in all. Two camps in particular were nestled along the levee, creating picturesque photo opportunities against the backdrop of Troy, while another basically took over the high school baseball field and turned it into a place for roaming, roving folk music lovers, some armed with acoustic guitars.