Mile 0 Fest 2019: Ten best from a week in paradise

Following are the 10 best things we witnessed during Mile 0 Fest 2019

Mile 0 Fest 2019 took place last week in beautiful Key West, Florida as a sold out crowd descended upon the small island. There to share in a love of music, drinks and life on island time – festival organizers created another epic event. Despite setting the bar extremely high last year during their inaugural try, Mile 0 Fest II was an even bigger and better party. With over 100 different concerts (not including special premium shows for Gold and Platinum ticket holders) taking place over four-plus days, there was plenty to take in and enjoy. In no particular order, here are the 10 best things we experienced at our second annual Mile 0 Fest.

The People

Last year our biggest takeaway was how well ran the festival was, especially for an event in its first ever year. Getting all of the bands, their equipment, and everything from stage to stage, much less onto the island has to be a logistical nightmare but somewhere, someone behind the scenes is pulling it off flawlessly. The crowd was great all week and for many in attendance, Mile 0 Fest is turning into a family reunion of sorts as the Truman Amphitheater had to be near capacity every night – a noticeable difference from last year.

The daily video recaps and media promotion was much more noticeable as workers were at every show providing content to festival goers, in addition to the new app which kept track of set times, who was playing when, and even provided a map to all of the satellite venues and other important, festival related, spots in Key West.

Bartenders, wait staff and those who packed out the non-amphitheater shows were also great. There were times where capacity crowds filled venues but it appeared everyone was there to enjoy the music and in what could be a stressful situation, patrons were on their best behavior. The people – from those at Oh Wook! Productions, band members, security, volunteers, attendees and everyone who had anything to do with Mile 0 Fest 2019 made for an awesome experience.

Mike and the Moonpies

If one band made an impression in Year 1 it was Mike and the Moonpies. Building off their first-year festival success, the Moonpies completely took over last week. From playing after the kick-off street party with Jamie Lin Wilson, an early amphitheater set, to maybe the best show of the entire week at Cowboy Bills, a private charity cruise and other band members sitting in with friends throughout the festival – they were everywhere.

A much larger contingency supported the band at all of their shows from a year ago and rightfully so. The band, with JLW on night one set a precedent for the week and neither’s momentum waned throughout the entire festival. The late night party at Cowboy Bills was so good, the owner took over the microphone following the show offering his own praise to the Moonpies and those in attendance. Booking bands since 2006, he said what he had just witnessed was the best ever set on that stage before extending appreciation to all of those at the show and the festival. A new offsite venue added in 2019, if Mike and the Moonpies return in 2020 it’s a safe bet they play here again.

Charlie Robison Tribute

A late surprise addition to the festival lineup, ‘Life of the Party’ – a tribute to Charlie Robison was added as an 11:00am show on Friday morning. Hours before opening, festival goers made their way to stand in line to guarantee their admission. The crowd over ran the Key West Theater and for those in attendance the intimate setting provided a once in a lifetime opportunity.

In different groups – Bri Bagwell, Micky Braun, The Cole Trains, Jared Deck, Keith Gattis, Adam Hood, Jack Ingram, Kelley Mickwee, Bruce Robison, Randy Rogers, Shane Smith and Jamie Lin Wilson each took turns sharing stories before covering one of the many Robison hits.

A toast to Robison (who was in attendance and an original member of the Mile 0 Fest 2019 lineup before retiring in September 2018 due to surgical complications leaving him with the inability to sing) and a stirring rendition of ‘My Hometown’ led by Jack Ingram backed by everyone in the room, provided an unforgettable experience.

Reckless Kelly

Arriving to the island on Friday, Willy and Cody Braun joined brothers Micky and Gary from Micky and the Motorcars for a family affair at Irish Kevin’s on Duval Street. A rare opportunity to see all four in one place, the next day both bands took to the Truman Amphitheater stage with Reckless Kelly stealing the show.

In perhaps the best set at The Amp, Reckless Kelly kicked off their time with ‘Seven Nights in Eire’ and carried the momentum through their roughly hour long set. An upbeat performance, Reckless Kelly is a staple in this music scene and fans packed in for their early evening performance.

Turnpike Troubadours Support

Days before the festival began, Cody Canada took to social media asking fans to wear their Turnpike Troubadours gear to Truman Amphitheater on Thursday night. The Oklahoma based group was originally scheduled to headline the evening but canceled many tour dates, including the festival, at last minute. Canada, along with a number of other artists in attendance, shared their support throughout the week.

Fans responded as many participated by sporting their Turnpike t-shirts, hats and other merchandise and the artists showed their support too. Corb Lund made reference to them being absent but not forgotten, Todd Snider asked fans to give that kid another chance, and another, and another, and another…, Jamie Lin Wilson covered ‘Diamonds and Gasoline’. Canada offered the following comments while on stage.

“It’s a common misconception that as musicians, we’re bulletproof, and we’re not. Life catches up to us from time to time. And you as fans should let us chill the f— out for a minute, and let us catch our breath. Sometimes we need to catch our breath. Sometimes on the roller coaster of success, we have to step off and be a train for a minute. We need to work on our self for a minute. I know you guys are sweet and caring and nice. Every now and then, we need to step off and take care of ourselves. And then we’ll come back, as long as you’re here. We’re musicians. We’re a little brittle. We’re not gladiators … I know that everyone’s wearing their Turnpike shirts tonight and we appreciate that. So this is for the Turnpike boys. Long live the Turnpike Troubadours.”

Following, BJ Barham from American Aquarium had this to say.

“People call themselves fans, taking s—. If anybody in your family has been affected by addiction, you know exactly what I’m f—— talking about. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Turnpike family. They’re one of my favorite bands in the entire world. If you call yourself a fan, and call yourself a member of somebody’s family and you do not support them at their lowest times, you are a piece of s—. That’s the easiest way I can say it. We’ve always got their back. I know most of you folks bought tickets tonight to hear some Turnpike Troubadours songs. So I’m going to get my friends John Fullbright and Jamie Lin Wilson up here, and do you a Turnpike Troubadours song.”

Continuing with ‘Every Girl’, another memorable moment was made.

Shane Smith and the Saints

A late addition to the festival lineup, Shane Smith and the Saints replaced Charley Crockett, after a medical emergency forced him from appearing. Making the most of their time spent on the island, this group of five blew audiences away with their unmatched harmony and energetic performances.

Both kicking off Thursday afternoon at The Amp and late night at Durty Harry’s on Friday, this band drew a crowd. Even non-festival goers were lined up outside the latter to try and catch a glimpse of who was on stage and responsible for the party they could witness and music they could hear.

No doubt, Shane Smith and the Saints made an impression and acquired many new fans during the week.

Bassists

Most people know those who front their favorite bands but it was the bass players who made an impact this week. Right alongside their band mates, multiple bass players appeared to be having the time of their lives.

Craig Burletic (Tyler Childers), Casey Johns (Garrett Bryan Band), Joe Miller (Reckless Kelly), Omar Oyoque (Mike and the Moonpies), Jonathan Saenz (Flatland Cavalry) and Chase Satterwhite (Shane Smith and the Saints) all had top of the line performances and entertained while holding down the bottom for their respective bands.

Obviously standing out while on stage, each was just as noticeable enjoying some down time throughout the island.

RC and the Ambers

A few members of the Turnpike Troubadours were in attendance at the festival, including bassist RC Edwards who combined with Amber Watson, Jordan Cox, and Reece Peterson make up the group RC and the Ambers.

Coming on the final night of festival, RC set the record straight after a single song in front of another capacity crowd at Cowboy Bills.

“I also play in a band called the Turnpike Troubadours and the reports of our death have been highly exaggerated.”

After opening with an emotional rendition of, ‘Favorite Bands’, the group played a few songs made famous by the Turnpike Troubadours along with an awesome cover of ‘Look At Miss Ohio’ and their staple, ‘Fry Bread’. A new song you should definitely be on the lookout for, ‘Compass’ was also performed live for the first time in front of an audience.

Mike Hosty

Oklahoma is home to many of the artists who perform at Mile 0 Fest and their representation in the crowd is rivaled only by those from Texas. Those individuals have been enjoying Mike Hosty for years but his addition to this year’s lineup let the secret escape the Sooner State. If you haven’t seen him, make plans now – always entertaining and unbelievably talented, Hosty kicked off Wednesday afternoon with side-splitting commentary, the first ever kazoo at Mile 0 Fest and comedic interpretations of country music.

From ‘Fraidy Hole’ to ‘Oklahoma Breakdown’ – which Hosty joked most people don’t believe he actually wrote after seeing one of his sets – the one man band famous in Norman made the absolute most of his festival debut.

Collaborations

Where to begin? The shear amount of musical talent huddled within about a 3-mile radius is unbelievable and the 100-plus shows allow for ample opportunity to collaborate. From the individuals in American Aquarium backing Jamie Lin Wilson on night one with Mike and the Moonpies and Adam Odor to Paul Thorn joining Wade Bowen and Sean McConnell taking the stage with Randy Rogers during the final night of festival, it was an epic time.

John Fullbright sat in with The Red Dirt Rangers, along with Cody Canada who stated his whole life he had hoped to be in their band – making it a reality in Key West. The Band of Heathens backed Kylie Rae Harris who released a special edition EP ahead of her full album (out in late March), only available to those in attendance during one of her performances on the island.

Jason Eady, Mike Harmeier, Kaitlin Butts and many others joined Jamie Lin Wilson for what is becoming an annual JLW Jamboree. Stoney Larue and Cody Canada shared the stage at The Amp along with Keith Gattis joining Reckless Kelly and Micky Braun’s daughter, Hattie, making her stage debut with daddy and three proud uncles.

Jack Ingram paired with Todd Snider at one point and ‘The Okie Hootenanny’ featured many different artists.

Overall, Mile 0 Fest 2019 was another amazing festival full of high quality music from extremely talented musicians, friendly people and memories that will last a lifetime.

A few other shows that left an impression over the week: Corb Lund at the Duval Street Stage, Chance Anderson at Viva SaloonTodd Snider at Key West Theater, Garrett Bryan at Smokin’ Tuna, Jason Eady and Courtney Patton at Southernmost Beach Resort, Cleto Cordero and Kaitlin Butts at Southernmost House, John Fullbright at Truman AmphitheaterSean McConnell at Smokin’ Tuna, BC and the Big Rig at Cowboy Bills.

Congratulations to our GRAND PRIZE Instagram Scavenger Hunt Winner – Veronica Salgado Joyner! DM us for details and thank you to everyone who participated, it was an amazing event and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

***CLICK HERE to renew or register for your opportunity to attend in 2020***

1 thought on “Mile 0 Fest 2019: Ten best from a week in paradise

  1. Pingback: Mile 0 Fest releases impressive 2020 line-up | Red Dirt NC

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