For both those that attended the inaugural Mile 0 Fest and everyone else who missed out but is not making the same mistake again…
If you missed the inaugural Mile 0 Fest held in Key West, Florida last year but know anyone who attended, then you’ve likely seen the pictures and heard stories about what transpired – a well ran and flawlessly executed festival on a number of different levels. An epic musical lineup in paradise, paired with opportunities no other festival can duplicate and this year is going to be even better.
Passes for 2019 are nearly sold out completely but if you remain on the fence about attending this year or are already booked, we offer the following advice based on attendance from last year and changes that have already been announced or are being offered for this year’s attendees.
DATES: January 29 – February 2, 2019
Last year the festival was a four day event that has been extended to include part of Tuesday evening (1/29) this year. A street party is planned with The Red Dirt Rangers, Dalton Domino and Shinyribs for an additional half-day of action, so attendees need to make certain their travel plans include arriving early enough to help kick-off the festivities in Key West.
Already receiving rave reviews, festival organizers have put together another stacked lineup across the board. Last year the event covered six stages with 50-plus artists and 71 shows – this year Mile 0 Fest will host 10-plus stages, 60-70 artists and over 100 shows!
TRANSPORTATION: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (even boats!)
Key West is best reached by air but flights in and out of the small island are limited and often expensive. Other airport possibilities include Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, but will then require either renting a vehicle or taking the bus on a near four-hour trip through the keys down US Hwy. 1. The good news is there is plenty to see and do along the way but the narrow landscape often allows for only two-way traffic and can be backed up at times. The Key West Express can make reaching the festival even more fun from Ft. Myers if you prefer to view the keys from out on the water.
Once in Key West, all Mile 0 Fest package holders have access to a trolley with select stops near Duval Street (main street in KW), the Amphitheater and other related stages and accommodations. Some parking is available for golf carts and cars at the Amphitheater stage but one of the best ways to get around Key West is on foot. If you prefer, there are plenty of golf cart and scooter rental places available, in addition to bicycles, which can be extremely beneficial as parking is limited everywhere – remember, it’s a small island.
UBER and Taxis also service Key West, plus public transportation which can be beneficial if staying closer to the airport.
WHERE TO STAY: Mile 0 Fest Has You Covered
Platinum and Gold packages and passes are already SOLD OUT but a select few other four-day passes remain available. Your individual booking representative can help to ensure you receive the best possible room(s) in addition to adding extra days onto either end of your trip (recommended).
If not utilizing the packages available, anywhere on or near Duval St. can provide a location in close proximity to both the Amphitheater Stage and many of the other venues associated with Mile 0 Fest. Also, don’t forget non-traditional bookings which can be provided via VRBO or Airbnb – some of these even allow for individuals or groups to stay on boats which owners rent throughout the year.
WHAT TO PACK: Relax, it’s Key West
Sunscreen, comfortable shoes and a portable phone charger – what more do you need? Charging stations will be on site at the Amphitheater but a backup plan makes certain you won’t lose the ability to document all of the awesome shows and artists performing at other venues. There are opportunities for swimming at any of the few Key West beaches (Smathers Beach, Fort Taylor State Park, or Southernmost Beach Resort) but unless you’re planning to soak up the sun or take an excursion requiring swimwear – it’s basically optional. A light jacket or long sleeve shirt is recommended because once the sun goes down it can get a little chilly on the island. The charger will be put to good use after all the photos and videos of both Key West, in general, and the musical performances held both day and night.
If you forget anything, there are plenty of stores on the island – big name, local and in between, to meet any need.
WHERE TO EAT: Decisions, decisions, decisions…
This is too broad a topic with so many delicious places to choose from which will be given its due diligence in another post soon. However, there will be food trucks and vendors on-site at the Amphitheater Stage (all were delicious and well priced last year) plus many of the other venues provide food which is also great!
MOST IMPORTANT: Still not convinced?
Everyone is on vacation – artists and patrons alike – which provides for a unique atmosphere at every show you attend. You may have an opportunity to purchase a drink for your favorite musician or even spend the day with them snorkeling and parasailing while completing one of the many optional FURY provided excursions.
Mile 0 Fest also provides multiple opportunities for individuals to assist with various charities throughout the event. A Fishing Derby, Artist Painting and Guitar Auctions are all options where patrons can take part and help contribute to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, Michelle Halpern Foundation and Bahama Village Music Program, which a few of the artists themselves assist while visiting the island.
Music takes place from 10:00am until near 2:00am daily, meaning those extra days you tack onto your trip will be useful if you’re not an early riser who can explore the island before shows begin as there is plenty to see and do. From Ernest Hemingway, Shel Silverstein, Maritime Museums, Truman Little White House, Southernmost Point to Jimmy Buffett – Key West offers so much to keep you entertained and Mile 0 Fest added a four-plus day event to spotlight Red Dirt and Americana music on top of it – a match literally made in paradise.
It’s a vacation, trip, festival, etc. unlike any other but it’s also important to remember that it’s the people of Key West and those in attendance, working and responsible for putting on the event, who make it special. A boutique festival with another incredibly talented lineup ensures all of the music heard throughout the week will be spectacular, so have fun, meet new people, take care of your bar tenders and enjoy one of the best times you’ll have all year – guaranteed.