Mumford and Sons have been announced as this year’s recipients of the prestigious John Steinbeck Award. The band will be presented, with the award, at a special event honouring them, in September.
Stanford Live and the Cox Centre for Steinbeck Studies, at SJSU announced that Mumford and Sons – consisting of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane – are this year’s recipients of the John Steinbeck Award. The band will be hounoured, at a special event, at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall, on Wednesday the 18th of September 2019, at 7:30pm. The award ceremony will feature a conversation with the band as well as an acoustic performance. Tickets for the ceremony went on sale yesterday (Friday August 09).
Honoured to share that we will be the first band to receive The John Steinbeck Award. Join us for a very special evening of music and conversation on September 18th at @StanfordLive Bing Concert Hall. Tickets on sale August 9th. https://t.co/X9oGDcKWZg pic.twitter.com/LNazIdOj7r
— Mumford & Sons (@MumfordAndSons) July 31, 2019
The prestigious John Steinbeck Award was founded, in 1996, and every year it is awarded to an artists, writer, thinker, or activist – who embodies the “empathetic spirit and values” of John Steinbeck, author of ‘The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men’.
The decision to award Mumford and Sons the John Steinbeck Award was based, in part, on the band’s commitment to social engagement through the Gentlemen of the Road fund, which was founded in 2006 and supports local and global charities fighting for social justice.
The band also paid tribute to Steinbeck, back in 2012 with a performance, “in the heart of Steinbeck country”, titled ‘Mumford and Sons in Monterey: A Salute to John Steinbeck’. The band are now set to honour Steinbeck again, in a performance that marks the centennial of his enrolment at Stanford University and the 80th anniversary of the publication of his novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.
“Mumford and Sons can also be linked to John Steinbeck through their music, especially songs such as ‘Timshel,’ ‘Dust Bowl Dance,’ and ‘Rose of Sharon,’ and through their advocacy of Steinbeck’s writings,” said Ted Cady, chair of the Steinbeck Award committee.
Mumford and Sons will be following in the footsteps of previous recipients of the John Steinbeck Award, which includes fellow musicians Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, john Mellencamp, and Jackson Browne. Meanwhile, other recipients of the award include actor Sean Penn, playwright Arthur Miller, and author of ‘The Kite Runner’ Khaled Hosseini.
The announcement comes after Mumford and Sons, earlier this summer, released a brand new single ‘Women’. In a press release, the band’s guitarist Winston Marshall, said of the track: “‘Woman’ was written over a long period of time, but really came together under the hands of Paul Epworth. In the studio we would find Paul going into “crazy-genius-mode” every now and then when inspiration would carry him late into the night. When ‘Woman’ went through that process it became what it is now.”
The band followed the release of their new single, ‘Women’, with a slew of tour dates across the UK and Ireland, in June 2019. This summer also saw the band perform at number of festivals, including a headline set, which they curated, at All Points East.
Reviewing the festival, NME wrote: “Although there are sombre moments – an a capella ‘Forever’, a heart-wrenching ‘Wild Heart’ – there’s a celebratory air to the evening, a mood best summed up when Marcus asks, “Shall we stop fucking around then?”, before the band launches into ‘I Will Wait’, which sounds more explosive than any banjo-based pop song really has any right to.”