Even by their own lofty standards, the past few weeks have been pretty special for Mumford & Sons.
First they headlined the closing night of Glastonbury. Just two albums in, detractors said the London-based four-piece didn’t have the depth of material to pull off the feat.
While they might not have the number of hits in their catalogue that The Rolling Stones or even Arctic Monkeys could pull out, rabbit-like from the proverbial hat, Mumfords more than made up for it in energy and enthusiasm.
The finale, a run through Joe Cocker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends, which saw them invite pals The Vaccines, Vampire Weekend, The Staves and First Aid Kit on stage to close the show with them, was particularly fitting. “Getting everyone up was perfect,” says Ben Lovett, keyboard player in the band. “Everything we’ve ever done has been collaborative, and that at Glastonbury just made complete sense.
“The thing we’re doing with the Stopovers is just a continuation of that,” he adds. “It goes beyond even music, we’re collaborating with people, businesses and schools in a way we never thought possible.” The Stopovers to which he refers are Mumford & Sons’ take on a festival. But rather than just pick a huge venue, choose some bands and start selling tickets, a bit more thought goes into it.
“It has to be in a small place,” explains Lovett. “It’s like the circus rolling into town. Again, it’s about collaboration, so we’ll talk to the people there, making sure there are toilets for everyone, that the shops are stocked, that there’s enough for everyone to drink, all sorts.
“It’s a reactive process to us going there. And ideally, the more remote the better. The one we did in Dungog in Australia, well, that’s a town with a population of 3,000, and we took 25,000 people there.”