Mumford and Sons to Receive John Steinbeck Award at Bing Concert Hall
Stanford Live and the Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies at SJSU are excited to announce a special event honoring Mumford and Sons, the 2019 recipient of the John Steinbeck Award. The award ceremony features a conversation with the band members as well as an acoustic performance at Bing Concert Hall on Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 pm. Public onsale begins Friday, August 9.
SJSU's Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies presents the John Steinbeck Award annually, celebrating writers, thinkers, artists, and activists who embody the empathetic spirit and values of John Steinbeck. Mumford and Sons demonstrates this commitment to social engagement through Gentlemen of the Road, the fund they founded in 2006 that supports global and local charities fighting for social justice.
"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.
In 2012, the band performed in the heart of Steinbeck Country at "Mumford and Sons in Monterey: A Salute to John Steinbeck." Now, the band will again honor Steinbeck in a performance that marks the centennial of his enrollment at Stanford University and the 80th anniversary of the publication of his novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Though Steinbeck deepened his understanding of fiction craft at Stanford, this is the first time the Steinbeck Award has been presented at the university. And Bing Concert Hall is the perfect space for the ceremony-past awardees include notable musicians Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, and Joan Baez, who performed at Stanford's Frost Amphitheater in 1969.
"We are thrilled to be hosting this year's Steinbeck Award at the Bing," said Stanford Live Executive Director Chris Lorway. "Given the author's historic connection to Stanford and the nature of Mumford and Sons' music, we think the hall will be an ideal place to celebrate this moment. We look forward to inviting audience members into our 'living room' for this very special evening."
Proceeds from the event will benefit The Steinbeck Service Fellowship created by Nick Taylor of the Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies and Stanford English professor Gavin Jones. The fellowship will allow students to participate in service projects across the region that infuses Steinbeck's work and there continue his legacy for compassionate community engagement.
"This fellowship will put the values of the John Steinbeck Award into action through projects that alleviate the social problems experienced by California's agricultural workers and their families," said Jones. "We're excited to create a fellowship that recognizes Steinbeck's legacy by combining public service and creative writing, and that encourages engaged collaboration between students from the two great universities of Steinbeck Country."
Photo credit: Gavin Batty