A national spotlight has been shining on Munjoy Hill ever since Mumford & Sons announced it’s choice of the Eastern Promenade for a kick-off to the September release of its new album – “Babel.” Tickets sales are at about 15,000 with many Mumford fans coming in from all over the country. State Theatre is hosting this first ever festival on the Hill.
For several days now, companies from all over the east coast have swarmed the Eastern Promenade erecting two stages and a small village of white tents the likes of which the Hill has not seen before. The stages are to accommodate the seven bands that will be playing starting tomorrow afternoon; there are two small tents that form the beer garden; serving Shipyard Beer, Gritty’s beer and locally brewed Mead. Other larger white tents are for the use of the bands involved.
Even with all the attention, some small businesses on the Hill are not sure what to expect. Lee Farrington, of the 28 seat restaurant, Figa, said yesterday: “We decided to close and go to the show. Either it would be dead or we’d be mobbed. Neither option is appealing.” Otto Pizza manager said it expects to be very busy on Saturday. It will be fully staffed for Saturday. Aaron McLaughlin, a clerk at the Big Apple, Washington Avenue and Congress Street said earlier today: “We expect to be very busy starting tonight. I’m already seeing people I don’t recognize. It’s going to be a really great experience.”
Two weeks ago, residents between Ft. Allen Park and Turner Street on the Eastern Promenade, were sent a letter from State Theatre inviting them to participate in a home decorating competition. The winner of the competition will be treated to a private performance in their living room. Late this afternoon Allison and Lincoln Paine and their family, at 150 Eastern Promenade, were in the final stages of mounting their home decoration entry in the competition. With the help of their daughter who flew in from San Francisco, they designed and painted colorful signal flags that spelled out: PORTLAND LOVES MUMFORD & SONS.