Mile of Music: 4 days, 700 live music sets

Downtown Appleton got a preview of the four-day festival with the First Songs concert
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:17 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - 700 live music sets at 40 venues over 4 days.

The sound of live music is about to fill the air in downtown Appleton. Mile of Music kicks off Thursday, August 4, with a performance at 11 A.M., and continues all weekend.

The best part is, all of the music is free.

We attended an opening concert for Mile of Music: Mile 9 which offers a glimpse of what’s to come.

The music festival draws artists from all over the country, and it’s really grown since launching 9 years ago. This year it has its first international artist, coming from the United Kingdom.

“It’s adventure in the sense of, you’re going out to see artists you don’t know. We refer to them as artists who might not be household names but should be,” Mile of Music founder Dave Willems said.

At the Fox Cities PAC, some of the artists put on a concert called First Songs.

Some of the singers say this event is the highlight of the year.

“It’s not a bar gig. A lot of musicians around this kind of size they do a lot of that stuff, smaller clubs, that stuff, and you’re not necessarily always in the forefront, you’re more of a background. But for the chance to be sort of featured, it’s kind of nice to make that connection to people,” artist Ross Catterton said.

The event is at full capacity for the first time in two years. It will feature a mix of indoor and outdoor venues, and organizers expect a record crowd that could top 100,000 people over the course of the weekend.

Many who go enjoy the personal aspect of getting to know an artist considered up-and-coming.

“These people really put their hearts into it. They’re very approachable after their set. It starts to feel like family within the first afternoon,” Alan Larson, who’s from Larsen, said.

“I think a lot of the artists feel like they really get treated very well here, and they actually do. They say they’re not used to being treated like stars when indeed they are,” Dan Hackel, from Appleton, said.

Action 2 News at 4:30 anchor Chris Roth sat down with Kim Willems, the events, promotions and social media manager for Mile of Music. She talks about what’s changed for Mile 9, Mile of Music’s national reputation among music festivals, and the familiar artists and the up-and-comers you can expect to see (as well as which past artists found fame).

The Appleton music festival starts its 9th year Thursday, hosting 700 live music sets at 40 venues over 4 days

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