Guthrie prepares for British Invasion
The British are coming... to Guthrie! The band Mumford & Sons has chosen Oklahoma as one of only three stops on their U.S. Gentleman of the Road Tour.
"The atmosphere in Guthrie is incredible right now! Our downtown is just buzzing. We've got painted streets. We've got crowds of people just flocking around," says Cody Mosley, Guthrie's Economic Development and Marketing Director.
Guthrie- a city of just over 10,000, has been preparing for the British Invasion for months. When the Mumford & Sons Gentleman of the Road Tour stops in Oklahoma, the city is expecting crowds as big as 40,000 people.
"One of the major parts of preparation for the city were beautification efforts," says Sereniah Breland, City Manager of Guthrie. This week, the city has been doing everything from trimming trees, to finding enough Porta Potties for 40,000 people, to hosting a downtown window display contest.
"That's just kind of to show who's most excited for Mumford & Sons," says Mosley.
"They're setting up vendors. They're setting up electricity," says Breland.
"Other things like parking and traffic concerns," says Mosley.
"What's amazing (is) Jam Productions, the company that puts on this event, has helped us fund some of those efforts," says Breland, saying the city had to put very little in, but is expecting to get a whole lot out.
"We've talked to other communities that have hosted this event and their merchants have said- Hey, this is the price point that really sold well. We hope that there's a lot of retail shopping being done. We hope that our merchants are making a lot of sales," says Mosley.
City Officials are expecting $10-million to be spent in Guthrie over the weekend, with the city taking in three-percent of the sales tax, which is the equivalent of an extra month of sales tax for the city this year.
"I think this is going to first, be a safe event, before it's a great event," says Mosley.
"We've contacted outside agencies to come in and assist," says Chief Damon Devereaux, with Guthrie Police. The Police Department has not only got the safety aspect down, they've spent months getting the look down, too. "When we were told Mumford & Sons might be coming, I opened my mouth and I said- If they come here, I'll grow a handlebar mustache. Tickets went on sale.. and as you can see... the rest is on my face," says Chief Devereaux, pointing to his perfectly manicured handlebar mustache.
The city says it has spent months ensuring this will be a fun, safe and memorable event. "We think Guthrie is really ready to rise up and show what makes us such a great city," says Mosley.
Hotels sold out just hours after the announcement about the concert was made in February. So, the campgrounds for the event will host 8,000 campers. The grounds will open at Noon, Thursday for campers to stake claim. It's first-come-first-serve.