Communion isn’t just a club night, or just a label, or just about folk music—it’s a community. The brainchild of Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, former Cherbourg bassist Kevin Jones, and producer Ian Grimble, Communion has become a hub for emerging artists. It grew out of London’s Notting Hill Arts Club and has expanded across the globe, bringing handfuls of talented musicians (and dedicated fans) into the fold.
This week marks the beginning of Communion’s US tour, the group’s first major push on this side of the pond. Although they’d already established an on-again, off-again club night in Brooklyn, the San Francisco club launch earlier this month has brought renewed interest in their American presence. In addition to christening the West Coast flagship, the trio of tastemakers are sending Matthew and the Atlas, the David Mayfield Parade, and Lauren Shera to intimate venues around the country. If last night’s San Francisco stop was any indication, the tour will produce plenty of Communion converts: the show encapsulated everything there is to love about the movement and its ethos. Communion’s collaborative spirit was alive and well, from David Mayfield’s sing-along set to the concluding covers by all participating artists. Ben Lovett even walked out of the audience to join the group for Lauren Shera’s angelic version of “I’ll Fly Away”.
That’s the thing about Communion: no matter your relation to the stage, you’re part of the magic. They blur the lines between artist and audience, creating an ever-expanding web of devoted followers. Efforts to draw in new fans include a live webcast and this weekend’s Communion in the Redwoods event. The three-day extravaganza in Big Sur features some of the best up-and-coming folk musicians, from Communion label artist Nathaniel Rateliff to recent Paul Simon openers the Secret Sisters. As of Thursday night, the event was made entirely free—making the trek to Big Sur even more necessary for the group’s numerous fans.
Catch the Communion tour at one of the remaining dates, and be prepared to join the church.
10/22 – The Cellar Door – Visalia, CA
10/25 – The Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA
10/26 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
10/28 – Soiled Dove – Denver, CO
10/30 – 7th Street Entry – Minneapolis, MN
10/31 – SPACE – Evanston, IL
11/01 – Rozz Tox – Rock Island, IL
11/03 – Blueberry Hill – St. Louis, MO
11/04 – 3rd & Lindsley – Nashville, TN
11/05 – Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta, GA
11/06 – Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC
11/08 – Jammin’ Java – Vienna, VA
11/09 – World Cafe Live (Upstairs) – Philadelphia, PA
11/10 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
11/11 – Higher Ground Showcase Lounge – S. Burlington, VT
11/12 – Cafe 939 – Boston, MA