As the wait for their second album continues, a new mini-festival tour has shown Mumford and Sons’ astuteness for garnering favourable public opinion.
Whatever one thinks of Mumford and Sons – and there is a 98% chance it is something positive – it has to be said they know how to maintain some suspense.
Speculation has been rife for more than a year about when the west London foursome are going to release their second album, the follow up to Brit Award-winning debut Sigh No More.
It has not just been their ability to drop new songs into their live sets with aplomb since last summer which has kept fans on tenterhooks.
The band has even come up with their own mini-festival, which they are warming up for in Kent, to weave the Mumford web tighter and tighter around wide-eyed faux-folk fiends.
Complete with delightfully-dandy title, the Gentleman of the Road Stopover, the shows will be a series of one-day outdoor events touring the world, with two taking place in the UK at Huddersfield and Galway.
Aimed at engaging towns whose streets are rarely trodden by modern Brit-rock icons, the shows are not just a lovely idea but also serve two more important purposes.
Firstly, it gives Mumford and Sons one last chance to tour their much-loved and desperately-hard-to-be-topped first record. The two mini-festivals are set amongst five other UK dates at venues they have not visited before, thus ensuring they can rake it in at a couple more sold-out shows while maintaining the pretence they are looking out for fans tucked away in distant corners of the country, like Folkestone.
And secondly, the band can stall for time on their second record. This album was initially mooted for release last summer so people were going to start asking questions unless they came up with some cool idea (and it has to be said, this idea is cool.)
OK, the expectation of a summer 2011 release might have been harsh considering they only started writing songs for the follow up in the early part of last year.
But the music-consuming public can be a fickle monster, especially if they think you are mucking about lapping up Grammy Award nominations rather than serving them the folk-fodder they deserve.
So the mini-festival tour idea should serve the band well, after lead singer Marcus Mumford, pictured here when the band last performed in Kent at the Hop Farm Festival in 2010, took a short break to tie the knot with British actress Carey Mulligan last month.
The band said: “The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover is based loosely upon our favourite festivals like Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass and Scotland’s Loopallu Festivals.
“We want to stop off in towns not usually heavily toured by bands, and celebrate the people, food and music that inhabit them. We’re keen to promote the town’s local businesses, and we’ll be using the local bars and venues for aftershow parties, whilst working closely with the local people to get everyone involved in making these shows spectacular.
“There will be a host of our friends playing too, and the vibe falls somewhere between ‘travelling Victorian circus’ and ‘Victorian travelling circus’. It should be a whole lot of fun.”
Regardless of the band’s intentions, Kent is set to play its part in one heck of a send off for Sign No More.
Mumford and Sons perform at Folkestone’s Leas Cliff Hall on Thursday, May 31. Tickets £23.50. Box office 0844 871 7627.
For more gigs going on this week, pick up your copy of What's On inside your local paid-for KM Group newspaper or search our website at www.kentonline.co.uk/whatson.