Mumford & Sons will headline Reading & Leeds festival this summer. From early beginnings playing in barns to reaching the point of headlining the biggest festivals in the world, the band have achieved a colossal amount in the last five or so years. Relive their rapid climb on the live music circuit…
Way back in 2009, a couple of years after forming, Mumford and Sons played a special set surrounded by bunting and straw in a barn in Hertfordshire to celebrate the release of debut album ‘Sigh No More’. They aired songs from their debut record and recruited friends, including singer-songwriters King Charles and Laura Marling, to perform several covers.
The now defunct pub The Flowerpot, in Camden, became a hot-house for the burgeoning folk scene. Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons was instrumental in promoting new acts on his label Communion and shows that featured his band led the folk revival around the turn of the decade.
By 2011, the band were ready to headline major festivals and topped the bill at Coachella and Bonnaroo. Their popularity began to grow on the strength of their debut album which continued to pick up more and more awards.
They took on a high-profile support slot for Arcade Fire at Hyde Park 2011 while writing songs for their new album, ‘Babel’, that would be released in 2012.
The Railroad Revival Tour saw the band join Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show. They toured the states by vintage railroad car as Grateful Dead, The Band, and Janis Joplin had done before them.
The road-trip vibe continued with the Gentlemen of the Road Tour. The band were joined on the bill by a host of other acts specially chosen by Mumford and Sons, including Michael Kiwanuka, Nathaniel Rateliff, Slow Club, Willy Mason, The Moulettes and The Correspondents, who closed the evening.
In 2010, the band played Reading & Leeds on the NME/Radio 1 stage. A premonition of things to come…
2013 saw the band’s biggest critical and commercial acknowledgement when ‘Babel’ won the Grammy award for Album Of The Year. It cemented their status as one of the biggest bands in the world and let to even more high-profile live shows.
Perhaps their biggest show to date: headlining Glastonbury 2013. The Vaccines, Vampire Weekend, First Aid Kit and The Staves also appeared on stage to play a cover of Joe Cocker’s arrangement of The Beatles’ ‘With A Little Help From My Friends.
Soon after they played the Olympic Park Show. Keyboard player Ben Lovett said to the crowd: “Were any of you lot at Glastonbury last weekend? It was a very pleasant experience… [but] you guys are shit loads better than that gig ever was.” The band’s banjo player Winston Marshall added: “Probably because you haven’t done as many drugs as the people there.”