It was their second consecutive attempt to carve out an indelible moment in Bonnaroo history, and “it band” of the moment Mumford & Sons did not disappoint. The British folk-rockers turned in an inspired, impassioned performance under the Bonnaroo sun that left everybody talking.
By mid-afternoon, the crowd to see them had swelled beyond the horizon. “There are so many more of you than there were last year” keyboardist Ben Lovett observed. Among those taking it all in were the random rogue’s gallery of Ron Jeremy, Zach Braff, and American Idol cast-off David Archuletta.
Mumford were introduced by Mike Harris of Nashville indie rockers Apache Relay. The burly guitarist came out shirtless and got the crowd pumped up.
Beyond the extended body count, for Mumford fans, there was a sense of forward motion as well. “As soon as we’re done here, we’re going to go make another album,” promised Lovett. The band previewed several fresh songs from their upcoming record, which sat comfortably alongside old favorites like “Sigh No More” and “Roll Away Your Stone.” The new material was inspired in part by their time in Tennessee, taking in the warmth of the Nashville music scene.
For the finale, it was guitar pull time — members of Old Crow Medicine Show, who Mumford joined onstage for their finale hours earlier, Harris, and Jerry Douglas, dobro player for Alison Krauss and Union Station, came aboard to sing “Amazing Grace.” For Mumford & Sons, those lyrics about being “found” must have felt extra meaningful.
Watch a stream of the show below.