Some observations re: the LC Pavilion’s “festival setting” for Mumford & Sons

People LOVE Mumford & Sons. A lot. The band played the Wexner Center’s Black Box on the Mershon stage a couple years ago, then sold out the roughly 5,000 tickets for the outdoor version of the LC Pavilion. So Scott Steinecker, head of LC’s parent company PromoWest, decided to turn the Aug. 14 show into a “festival setting,” which meant renting a stage and turning the LC’s parking lot into a venue that could hold roughly 10,000 people. And the Brits packed that lot, too, selling out double the LC’s regular capacity.

This was the scene: A fence around the perimeter, beer stations everywhere, Late Nite Slice, a burrito bus, plus a large screen next to the main stage and another in the middle of the lot about halfway back. Here’s a view during Dawes’s opening set from roughly halfway back on the left side:

A few thoughts:
1. In the future, if an LC festival show sells out and there’s a Clippers game the same night, get Clippers tickets. In fact, even if it doesn’t sell out, it may be smarter to opt for the cheaper Clippers tickets (as long as you can stay there late) because the people on the stadium’s balcony had the best seats and sight lines in the house. [Update: More info on that balcony in the comments.]

2. The parking lot is sloped like a bowl, so people in front and people way back (by the rear exterior LC wall) had a good view of the stage, but a big chunk of the audience in the middle had no way of seeing the stage unless you found a grassy median to stand on. Similar to those above-the-bar TV screens at the Basement (by far PromoWest’s worst venue), more people were staring at screens than the stage…

3. …but, the black-and-white videography on those screens was great — probably the best live video work I’ve seen. I don’t know if it was PromoWest’s people or Mumford’s people, but paired with a good audio capture, a recorded version of what played on those screens would make a great concert DVD with little editing.

4. Mumford & Sons have become an easy band to hate on, like folk-rock’s Nickelback. And I admit I wasn’t expecting much. But these guys were impressive onstage: charismatic blokes who commanded the stage with equal parts humility and gusto. Good harmonies, good musicianship. Lots of sweaty, fervent stomping. Somebody was going to take strummy folk-rock and U2-ify it eventually. It had to happen. Might as well be Marcus Mumford.

5. Envelope is the most unlikely Mumford warm-up act I can think of, but he and Detox did Columbus proud next door at the A&R Bar, even trying out a couple new songs.

6. Dawes got the short end of the stick. No video screens to supplement the poor sight lines, still daylight, a quiet house mix. And it was clear that 97% of the crowd was there to see Mumford.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennybeek11 Jennifer Buechner

    Show was awesome it was amazing seeing them live, however, spending a good amount of money to see to see them last night while a very large crowd was able to watch and listen for free with a view better than most of us on the sidewalk by Huntington park? Not cool AT ALL. Maybe they should look into a way of getting a privacy fence next time.

  • Flint from Cincinnati

    Are you all smoking something???? You must all be 6 foot plus tall. This was an absolutely horrible venue (except that Mumford and Sons SOUNDED awesome). You couldn’t see from any angle and if I wanted to see a video screen I would buy the a DVD and watch it from home. Never Ever will I come to Columbus for a PomoWest event. They completely wasted my time, money and ruined an entire evening!!!!

  • hannah

    I personally loved the concert. I love the atmosphere. The people who were at the ball park did have a better seat at the moment, but the game ended and they kicked them out, so they barely saw anything. I thought it was way worth the money I spent on the tickets.

  • J

    Mumford was great, but the new expanded venue (glorified parking lot) was horrible. We were stuck in the middle of the crowd, no way to maneuver anywhere. It took 45 mins to an hour to weave through the sea of people for drinks and bathroom breaks. No one could see because we were all on the same level. People were getting pushed and pulled, fights were breaking out and people were having to leave because they got hurt. I had out of state friends come to the concert to experience the venue and they were highly disappointed. And we’re sorry we paid $200 to stand in a parking lot for 5 hours. Again, Mumford was amazing, but LC needs to rethink making these decisions after tickets have already been purchased. I won’t attend another concert with that set up.

  • cary

    It did not take an hour to go to the bathroom or get drinks…

  • J

    No, I took an hour to shit. I ate Arby’s earlier and it was not good mood food.

  • J

    Cary – you obviously didn’t have the same experience I had and it did take an hour to get out of the crowd, do what you needed to do and get back.

    J – sorry about your mishap.

  • dogfart

    heres an observation

    mumford and sons suck