The eagerly anticipated visit of Mumford & Sons to Lewes this summer was supposed to have been a closely-guarded secret.
News that the world-renowned band had lined-up two dates in July was not due to have been officially released until this month.
But front man Marcus Mumford let the cat out of the bag in a radio interview in February – and suddenly the forthcoming event was headline news.
The background to this unique opportunity for the town was revealed by the Mayor at last week’s meeting of Lewes Town Council.
Cllr Michael Chartier told members the band’s management initially approached Lewes District Council in November, which introduced them to himself and Town Clerk Steve Brigden in the context of any assistance they might offer.
Initially, he said, a “launch concert” had been mooted at Harveys Brewery Yard – for a small audience of people in the music industry.
This was commercially sensitive as internationally famous acts were still to be put under contract, so absolute confidentiality was demanded and agreed.
A decision on this event fluctuated several times until it was shelved, but in February it was agreed Mumford & Sons “would announce next month” their summer concert in Lewes on July 19 and 20.
Then Marcus broke the news on Zane Lowe’s show on BBC Radio 1, describing Lewes as a “wonderful town” where he found the people to be “really up for it”.
A license application for the Gentlemen of the Road Tour Stopover at the Convent Field was finally received by Lewes District Council on Thursday last week.
The deadline for public comments is March 27.
Cllr Chartier urged the Town Council to offer support to the weekend featuring the multi-award winners on both sides of the Atlantic.
The indie-rock quartet’s manager, Adam Tudhope, said that last year he and the band met with Jenny Rowlands, Chief Executive of the district council, her regeneration team and the Police when they were deciding where to take the sole UK date of the tour.
He said: “We were so impressed by the speed that the Lewes team could make things happen as well as being incredibly helpful and supportive we decided the only UK Stopover would be in Lewes this year.”