Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mumford & Sons Continue Tradition Of Travel-Based Tour Gimmicks

It has been a pretty big few months forMumford & Sons, the English folk rock revivalists. Their debut album Sigh No More just cross over the one million mark, and they were a part of one of the most talked-about performances during the Grammy Awards (they shared the stage with Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan, culminating in an all-hands-on-deck jam on Dylan's "Maggie's Farm"). This spring, they plan on grabbing a lot more headlines with a very special tour. They'll be headed out on the road for six dates with brothers in arms Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show for a tour that will find them traveling entirely by a vintage rail car. "Woody [Guthrie] rode with his fellow drifters around North America; we get to do it with a bunch of other musicians, although not strangers, from different corners of the world," band member Winston Marshall said in a statement. "A dream come true to be on tour with them."
While Guthrie was probably the last musician to seriously tour on a train, Mumford & Sons aren't the only band to go on tour using a travel-related gimmick. Here is a brief history of the practice.
Pearl Jam
When the veteran Seattle band hit the road in support of their self-titled 2006 album, Pearl Jam put their money where their mouths (and bleeding hearts) were by hopping on a bus that ran entirely on biodiesel. In order to offset the other pollution on that tour, the band also spent thousands of dollars on carbon offsets, which went toward the preservation of a rain forest in Madagascar.
Ginger Ninjas
In 2007, unknown band Ginger Ninjas hopped on their bicycles and covered about 5,000 miles during a tour that saw them play over 80 shows. Not only that, but the band also carried all of their equipment with them and used their bikes to power their sound system, making the entire run almost completely self-sustained.
What other tour gimmicks would you like to see? Let us know in the comments!

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