Cruising into its fourth year this summer, the first 51 artists slated to appear at Mile 4 Aug. 4-7 were announced today at the OuterEdge Stage in Appleton. The lineup includes 31 new and 20 returning acts.
Newcomers slated to perform are Appleton’s own Tenement, LOLO who has ties to the area and cosmic rock band Dreamers from Brooklyn, N.Y., along with The Go Rounds from Michigan, Quiet Hollers from Louisville, Ky. and Lilly Winwood of Nashville, Tenn.
“Lilly is a good friend and amazing singer. And, her dad is Steve Winwood so she comes from good stock,” says Cory Chisel, Mile of Music co-founder/music curator, who shared the stage with co-founder Dave Willems during Friday’s announcement.
This year emphasizes a philosophy of continuing to better the festival, Willems, CEO and principal of Willems Marketing and Events, shares.
“Better means better experience for the fans,” he says. “Really fine tuning what music we’re putting in what venues.”
Attention to sound and matching artists with the right venues to enhance the overall experience has been key, Willems notes.
The music-first festival runs a one-mile stretch along College Avenue and extends into the riverfront, and venues like OuterEdge. Festival planners estimate Mile 4 will attract at least 50,000, last year’s attendance, over the course of the four days.
Mile of Music is expected to include more than 200 acts and bring 600 musicians to town. Artists will be announced in the weeks leading up to the festival with the full lineup anticipated by mid-June.
Currently, performers from Australia, France, Martinique and the U.S. — and 25 states — will do about 800 live sets in more than 70 venues throughout the duration of the festival, including outdoor plazas and parks, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, museums, art alleyways and other unexpected settings in the heart of downtown.
“It’s really important to us that this is a walkable festival,” Willems says, adding he wants people to enjoy the venues, but be able to do it responsibly in addition to supporting local businesses.
New, emerging and undiscovered talent will again be the hallmark of Mile of Music as the artists bring their original music to the stage.
Appleton’s homegrown talent, Chisel, also returns among the acts. The Grammy-nominated songwriter took to the stage to share a taste of his own music Friday.
“What excites me the most is my hometown crowd and performing in front of them,” he shares, adding that there’s no place like it and when he travels, he thinks of being in front of a local audience again. He’s also still humbled by the fact that the festival has been successful.
Electro Indie Pop group, Good Night Gold Dust, also performed at today’s announcement. They will appear during The Mini Mile tomorrow at Tanner’s Grill & Bar in Kimberly and Mile 4. Local Thomas Bishop of the RedHawks will fill in as the group’s drummer at The Mini Mile event.
The group has been together for 1 1/2 years and recently released a five-song EP.
Laura Schultz, a singer in the group and rhythm guitarist, is excited to be back in the area and performing this year. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh graduate hails from the Wausau area and sees the festival as a great spot for Good Night Gold Dust to slide in. They have played shows adjacent to South by Southwest and the Midwest Music Festival.
“I think it’s just going to be really invigorating to be around more music and other artists,” Schultz says.
Tundraland Home Improvements returns as the presenting partner of the 2016 festival. The Kaukauna-based company has committed to raise funds through the festival for a music scholarship.
Mile 4 also will see more than 50 hands-on education events for all ages from those that require no experience to more specialized workshops, says Leila Pertl, music education coordinator for Mile of Music.
Lawrence University, home to a world-renowned music conservatory, will again coordinate a team of 15 music mentors roaming the festival footprint and performing both scheduled and pop-up music interactives that engage attendees.
“I want to encourage young adults and adults to come out too, these events are not just for little kids,” says Pertl. “Especially in today’s world, music is not just about entertainment and joy, it’s about health and wellness.”
This year’s festival will offer opportunities for all abilities and work to break the stigma associated with mental illness.
The Building for Kids Childrens Museum will return as well with a full day of hands-on music Saturday. The Trout Museum of Art also will participate in Mile of Music and more workshops have been added at Heid Music. Attendees can anticipate the return of Valley Transit’s Mile of Music Bus and creative venues, like The Art Alley at The History Museum at the Castle and the art gallery produced by John Adams from The Draw, too. Screenings and discussions of music-related documentaries are being planned.
For those who prefer to stay up to date with this year’s festival, the new Mile of Music website, mileofmusic.com, designed by Stellar Blue Technologies and an app created by Skyline Technologies are now available.
From intimate performances to engaging groups, Willems promises another memorable year.
“We’re continuing to provide music fans with remarkable performances,” he says.