Seven things you need to know before you go…
photo: Brad Coolidge
After postponing briefly from its original January/February dates, next Tuesday (04/27/2021) begins the fourth-annual Mile 0 Fest as a few thousand people descend upon Key West for one of the best vacations imaginable. For both first-timers and veterans alike, these seven items will enhance your experience as you prepare for four-plus days in paradise with the best in Red Dirt and Americana music.
1. Don’t Worry If Your Plan Goes Awry
Not everyone enters with a detailed plan but for some there are definitely certain shows which are deemed “can’t miss” depending on personal preferences. The good news is that the island is packed with so much talent that no matter who is performing it’s sure to provide a memorable experience. Even for those artists or bands you’ve seen countless times, Key West offers such a unique backdrop for the event that it furnishes a seemingly new adventure. Although historically rare, due to expected reduced capacity numbers at certain venues, some shows may fill up quickly but don’t worry should you be unable to attend. With so many different opportunities and quality performers on the lineup there’s something else out there which will be just as enjoyable. In fact, some of the best times can be had when there’s no set plan or schedule to follow.
2. Go See Someone New
Attending Mile 0 Fest not only offers individuals the opportunity to witness their favorite acts in a paradise setting but also the capability to find new favorites. Each of those more familiar acts performing later in the evenings was once a brand new addition somewhere on a lineup. Shows take place most everyday from 11:00am to midnight, offering plenty of time to explore so schedule in someone you’ve either heard about but haven’t seen live or a name you may not even recognize – chances are it’ll be well worth the trip.
3. Get Out On or In the Water
Word has quickly gotten out that both the festival and Key West have plenty to offer, making combining musical experiences with water expeditions a natural entertainment scenario. There’s no question a great time can easily be had landlocked on the island but getting out on the water offers some completely different and unique experiences. Mile 0 Fest offers their own opportunities with the Charity Fishing Derby, Tipsy Tiki rentals, and Cruise Series shows but anyone can also book their own trips with Fury Water Adventures. All patrons automatically receive a discounted rate on snorkeling, parasailing, eco tours, jet ski rentals, and so much more. If a pool is more your style then you’re also in luck as Dante’s, The Marker, and The Lighthouse Pool all offer a chance to enjoy a show while taking a dip or cool off in the ocean at Southernmost Beach Resort.
4. Make A Charitable Contribution
There’s an abundance of music and good times to be had all across the island but don’t miss out on an opportunity to make a difference while you’re in attendance. Mile 0 Fest is committed to giving back and there are multiple opportunities for contributions to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, Michelle Halpern Foundation, and Florida Keys SPCA throughout the festival with a sponsored Fishing Derby, Beard/Mustache Competition, and signed guitar auctions each night at the amphitheater. In addition, a member of Oklahoma country rock band Chance and the Takers, Michael Frost, is biking from Miami to Key West while helping to raise awareness for the Red Dirt Relief Fund (with a $10,000 goal) ahead of Chance Anderson’s performances at the festival.
5. The Mile 0 Fest App Is Your Friend
Consider the Mile 0 Fest app as your own personal key to the kingdom. Not only does it contain an up-to-date schedule but the push notifications are essentially priceless. Even if you prefer to view your selected shows in another medium, the app provides instant updates, potential schedule changes, and other alerts which can be extremely important. Regardless of how you choose to plan, make downloading the app a priority to enhance your experience throughout the entire festival.
The festival focus centers on music but don’t let the ample opportunities for dining pass you by during the week. Many of the daytime venues offer substantial food selections, including The Smokin’ Tuna (which is rumored to have undergone some renovations in the past year), Garbo’s Grill, and Hank’s – all of which shouldn’t be ignored. In addition to the plethora of dining opportunities on the island, multiple vendors working the amphitheater also offer a wide variety of seafood and island selections for festival goers to enjoy.
7. Enjoy the Experience
The coronavirus pandemic effectively shuttered live music over the past year and although its impact lingers, opportunities for support are creeping up more readily every day. Mile 0 Fest took a risk in delaying their product only four months when many others were postponing for a full calendar year, but the timing appears to have paid off significantly. For many this will be their first live music experience in over a year and as everyone dives back into the mix one thing remains certain. Regardless of personal beliefs, the fact that live music continues to crawl back into existence is an opportunity which should be relished by everyone – especially those fortunate enough to attend this festival. Remember, for many of the artists, this too will be their initial shows post-pandemic so let’s show them the love and not let any moment pass without an appreciation for the opportunity to enjoy and support live, original music with a few thousand of your closest friends.
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, performing, and responsible for putting on the event – who make it extremely special. A boutique affair with yet 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 bartenders, and enjoy one of the best times you’ll have all year – guaranteed.