I caught the final United States stopover on the inter continental Gentlemen of the Road tour last Saturday in Monterey.
What's a stopover, you may be wondering?
"We come into town Friday, stop over for the night, start early on Saturday, play music all day with our friends at an amazing, unique location. One site with two stages alternating sets with some of our favorite acts from around the world. And then, once the main event is over, we curate a series of after parties and events throughout the town. We bring in local food and vendors to help us celebrate the town and the people," the description reads. Mumford & Sons headlined, and the lineup included a mix of popular bands (Gogol Bordello, Grouplove, Two Gallants) and up-and-comers (Haim, Apache Relay).
Cool, huh? I sure thought so.
In fact, it was so cool. Borderline too cool. They did things that, even while channeling my contemporary subculture, I didn't understand.
Here are some examples:
The tickets said the festivities started at noon, so naturally, a huge crowd showed up at noon and formed a line. Word spread through the crowd that nobody was getting into the grounds until 4 p.m. But we had options. Organizers had set up stalls around the fairgrounds with tables, barrels, a few decks of cards, and a couple of gypsies (is that PC?) selling merchandise. People herded into these stalls and did their best to look like they had planned on doing this all along.
There was also a massive carnival, complete with janky rides and crazy carnies. People seemed to prefer the stalls because I was one of maybe 50 people who actually checked out the rides. You could get an 'all you can ride pass' for $15, which led to me doing the Giant Drop over and over and sparked a "would you rather" conversation. "Would you rather ride the Giant Drop until you died, or listen to Creed until you died?"
When the gates opened, people moved from the stalls and stumbled in from the amusement park. I was pretty dazed from OD'ing on inertia, but I'm almost positive nobody bothered checking my ticket (so cool of them). A beer-bellied guy in a vest just nodded at me and twisted his mustache as we filed in...which was doubly strange because the tickets were not really tickets, they were leather bound passports. They looked so expensive that of the $69 fee, I'm not sure how much money could possibly be left over for the bands.
Despite the coolfusion, once we found ourselves inside the fairgrounds it became clear that this was definitely an event worth waiting for. Everybody was dressed to the nines in hipster 2.0 attire and the fashionable mob could bob and groove. Local fare was served, Sierra Nevada was poured, and an eclectic mix of funk, punk, folk, and rock music had thousands of people feeling good. It was awesome.
Check out photos from the festival and add comment on what you thought of the stopover below:
All photos by Adam Rutkowski.