Mumford & Sons are sitting at the top of the folk rock world. Yesterday was the day of their special hometown festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park featuring Vampire Weekend, Ben Howard, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Haim, and Bear's Den.
The event has created some controversy. NME reports that during their set, Mumford keyboard player Ben Lovett said, "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." Banjo player Winston Marshall chimed in, "Probably because you haven't done as many drugs as the people there."
Glastonbury is the biggest music festival in Britain, which Mumford & Sons closed out as a headlining artist on the largest stage this year. Meanwhile, the gig at Olympic Park was the first festival that Mumford have hosted on their own. Lovett was clearly happy with the event at Olympic Park, saying "I think this has been one of my favourite days of my whole life, hands down, no questions asked... Partially down to the bands that played today... and thanks to you 60,000 beautiful London people. We're so grateful to all of you."
Not everyone had as fantastic an experience as Lovett. David Sinclair reviewed the festival for The Times and gave it 2 stars out of 5, saying:
Although this multi-act show was staged under the “Gentlemen of the Road” banner which Mumford & Sons have used to promote their “stopover” events in small towns around the world, there was nothing gentlemanly about this venue. For all the airs and graces of its name, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a scruffy, desolate, ill-provided dirt track about as far from civilisation as it is possible to be in London. Opened last week to accommodate the overspill of acts wanting to play Hyde Park, it marks an unwelcome return to the dark ages of outdoor venues.
As is often the case with hometown shows, it's more about the connection between the artists and their fans than it is about the quality of the venue or other outside factors. Toward the end of the show, Marcus Mumford let everyone know, "We decided that you are without a doubt the best crowd we've ever played in front of ever. We love you very, very much."
The performance was closed out with Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" with members of Vampire Weekend, Haim and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros joining Mumford & Sons.
The real question is whether this will affect Mumford's standing in the established rock community. Headlining Glastonbury is an honor and a privilege that also comes with a nice payday. Will concert promoters be more wary of working with Mumford after the band members took time out of their biggest show to put down the mega festival they played only 1 week ago?