‘Mile 3’ fueled by community volunteers

Photo credit: Graham Washatka/Graham Images & Photography

Photo credit: Graham Washatka/Graham Images & Photography

Mile of Music returns to Appleton this weekend, Aug. 6-9. While the music festival is only in its third year, its first two summers have been very successful. This year, Mile 3 will look to build upon its previous success and draw large crowds for the third consecutive summer.

In order to support such a festival, extensive preparations have to be made. Mile of Music, while its main focus is on new musical talent, relies heavily on volunteers to set up and maintain its stages and sets. Ian Thomson, volunteer coordinator for Mile of Music, says preparation for the festival began long ago.

“Preparation for Mile of Music begins months in advance,” Thomson says. “We have a small, but dedicated core team that works closely together and at times into the wee hours of the morning in order to pull this all together. A tremendous amount of energy goes into this festival all the way through all four days.”

Photo credit: Graham Washatka/Graham Images & Photography

Photo credit: Graham Washatka/Graham Images & Photography

Dedication is something that is crucial in not only the preparation for, but also the maintenance of Mile of Music. According to Thomson, the city of Appleton and its people have been a vital piece to the festival’s success.

“We have over 300 volunteers from our community willing to help make the music happen. Without the community’s support and willingness to step up and volunteer, we could not produce this festival,” Thomson says.

Volunteer positions cover a variety of responsibilities. These include working with venue management and staff, assisting bands and artists in loading equipment before and after performances, and providing customer service in the selling of Mile of Music merchandise to festivalgoers. These, of course, are only a few examples of responsibilities that volunteers are tasked with. There are also pre-festival prep volunteers, information distributors that help promote the festival, and several other customer service focused positions that aim to improve the experience of not only music lovers, but the bands as well.

“Mile of Music would not be as successful as it is without substantial support of the community,” Thomson says. “We would not be able to grow if it were not for our sponsors, venue partners and volunteers as well as the support from the attendees. The hospitality that is shown from our community to the artists speaks volumes and has made Mile of Music and downtown Appleton one great place.”

Appleton’s Mile of Music festival is still a relatively new summer attraction, but it is growing quickly. Not only are its crowds expanding in size, so too is its musical lineup. As Mile of Music gains more and more attention, don’t be surprised when the Fox Valley becomes a summer destination for music lovers from across the country. With strong support from the Appleton community and its many volunteers, Mile of Music will only continue to grow.

For more information about the festival and volunteer opportunities, visit

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