I’m not usually one to go about casting superlatives like “phenomenal” at concerts, but this week’s Mumford and Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road Tour Stopover in Downtown Bristol was nothing short of. And I’m not just talking about the 90 minutes the lads held forth onstage (which was, in and of itself — in a word, phenomenal).
The band’s whole approach was, to me, transformative — as much about the City of Bristol as it was about themselves. From venue selection to the band’s accessibility and immersion, theirs was a timely and welcome model of inclusivity.
For starters, they narrowed their sights on National Trust Main Street Communities, of which Bristol is one, and returned one percent of the nearly 15,000 ticket sales to the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.
Limiting the scope of their summer tour to just four U. S. towns afforded them the chance to hang around, support the locals, and leave a measurable and lasting economic, as well as emotional, impact on the City of Bristol. Lead singer, Marcus Mumford, even surprised us all with an unexpected cameo during the Dawes set.
The deferential Englishmen played their hearts out to the appreciative crowd, before welcoming fellow performers, Dawes, Simone Felice, Jeff the Brotherhood, Apache Relay, Justin Townes Earle, and Haim, onstage for an utterly outstanding and unforgettable rendition of Wagon Wheel.
They then urged festival goers over to the Cumberland Stage for the very best band (their words), The Very Best, before venturing downtown themselves to host after parties in downtown pubs.
Who does that?
Well played, Mumford and Sons, well played.
Video and photo credits: Virginia is for Lovers and Pick Bristol
Karen Quina-Doyle | Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
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