ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The City of St. Augustine is already preparing for the Gentlemen of the Road Tour's local stop, featuring Mumford & Sons, but the concert is not until September.
The 25,000 tickets for the concert in St. Augustine sold out in three days.
Meanwhile, interested concertgoers have already started to fill up area hotels and inns.
Cindy Humphrey owns The Cedar House Inn in St. Augustine.
"The guest rooms were all gone before the tickets were sold. I was sold out by Feb. 7th and the tickets started selling Feb. 8th," she explained.
Her guests are coming from a 100-square mile radius, but other innkeepers say people are booking from other states.
In fact "no vacancy" signs are expected at all of the hotels and inns in St. Johns County during the weekend of the concert.
"We're small but we have a lot of visitors," City Manager John Regan noted. "We have 6 million visitors so we're used to big crowds."
Regan said a task force is already in place to accommodate the 25,000 people who will descend upon a city of only 13,000+ residents.
Standing outside the north end of the city's parking garage, Regan said, "This is what's called a multi-modal facility. It's a hub for transportation."
He explained the facility will play a vital role during the concert weekend. Regan said band's management visited the city before selecting it as a venue, and they liked what the facility offers.
The city parking garage can hold less than 3,000 cars, but it has space for ten buses to load and unload.
While buses use the terminal, Regan said this portion of the multi-modal facility has not been utilized like it will be for the concert.
Buses, trolleys, and tour trains will shuttle concertgoers in from off-site parking areas.
The crowd for the Gentlemen of the Road Tour will indeed test St. Augustine.
While the city gets three to four times as many visitors on a Fourth of July holiday, Regan said this concert crowd will be different. He said the crowd on Independence Day is more spread out all around the city, "This is different because it's one single festival with 25,000 people in one location."
That location is Francis Field, next to the parking garage. Regan said event planners with the band are working with the city to create enough space on the field that will safely handle the crowd.
Some young trees will temporarily be moved. Some fencing will be removed as well. There will be no chairs. All guests at the concert will stand.
As for traffic, Regan said it will not be nearly as bad as a Fourth of July holiday.
"I think the city can handle it," Humphrey said. "This city was built for this. This city runs beautifully with the ebb and flow of the heavy influx of guests. It will be fine."
Humphrey is still getting calls about the concert weekend, but now they're from very excited guests who snagged concert tickets before they sold out Sunday night.
Mumford & Sons won a Grammy on Sunday for Best Album of the Year. Humphrey smiled, "You could not have scripted this any better!"
First Coast News