Mile 0 Fest releases impressive 2020 line-up

The third installment of Mile 0 Fest may be their most impressive to date.

Three years ago a brand new festival, Mile 0 Fest, popped up on the red dirt and Americana scene down in Key West, Florida. A logistical hurdle to secure acts and patrons at the southernmost point of America, the first lineup was too impressive to ignore. Since, the folks at Oh Wook! Productions and those working with their organization, including the city of Key West, have arguably created the best festival in the country and a 2020 initial lineup stacked with talent proves it once again.

BACK FOR YEAR THREE: Wade Bowen, Jack Ingram, Cody Canada and the Departed, Shinyribs, Mike and the Moonpies, Jamie Lin Wilson, Bruce Robison, Walt Wilkins, Jason Eady, Courtney Patton, Kaitlin Butts, Tina Wilkins, Carter Sampson, Red Dirt Rangers

RETURNING FROM YEAR ONE: Jason Boland, William Clark Green

RETURNING FROM LAST YEAR: Randy Rogers Band, American Aquarium, Reckless Kelly, Shane Smith and the Saints, Flatland Cavalry, The Band of Heathens, Kevin Fowler, Micky and the Motorcars, John Fullbright, Adam Hood

MAKING THEIR INITIAL APPEARANCE: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Robert Earl Keen, Whiskey Myers, Lucero, Hayes Carll, The Steel Woods, Cory Morrow, Will Hoge, Brent Cobb, Charley Crockett, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Senora May, John Baumann, Kelly Willis

If you’ve been, then you know – If not, book now – check our reviews from 2018, 2019, some tips for concert goers and thank us later.

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***

Mile 0 Fest: Food for Thought … Literally

The Mile 0 Fest focus is on music but the availability of great food around Key West isn’t to be ignored.

The recent release of the full lineup and schedule for Mile 0 Fest – available on the official app wherever you download to your devices – is a lot to digest. And as if you didn’t need any more decisions to make, there’s plenty of amazing food on the island worth making time to enjoy.

There’s probably plenty we’re missing out on but after a few trips to the keys and our experience last year during the festival, a list of favorites has been provided to guide you in the quest for sustenance during the week.

Abbondanza Italian Restaurant – 1208 Simonton St.
Dinner (4:30pm-10:30pm)
“Key West’s favorite Italian dining spot offering an extensive selection and friendly local atmosphere. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are accepted for large groups.

Angelina’s Pizzeria – 208 Duval St.
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night (11:00am-3:30am)
“Order your favorite pizza, pasta, salad, and more, in person or with the click of a button.”

Blue Heaven – 729 Thomas St.
Breakfast, Lunch (8:00am-4:00pm) Dinner (5:00pm-10:30pm)
“One taste of the blueberry pancakes, carrot and curry soup, miso-marinated eggplant salad, or scallops provencale and you’ll have no doubt ingredients and the gentle time it takes to prepare fine food are the priorities. The menu barely changes (not even the specials, except to offer seasonal stone crab claws), which means that caribbean shrimp deglazed with red stripe, jamaican jerk chicken or pan-sautéed yellowtail with citrus beurre blanc will be there for you next time, too – even if the reserve selections on the notable wine list may change. Heavenly indeed, and home of quite possibly the best key lime pie the island offers, with its mountains of baked meringue topping.” (review courtesy of http://www.guyoh.com)

BO’s Fishwagon – 801 Caroline St.
Lunch, Dinner (11:00am-9:30pm)
“You don’t need to dust the sand off your feet to eat right in this town. For the perfect fish sandwich, head to B.O.’s Fish Wagon, a hopping little open-air shack that turns out fresh food with zero fuss.”

Fritas Cuban Burgers – 425 Southard St.
Lunch, Dinner (11:00am-11:00pm)
“The Frita is a heavenly burger with origins in 1930’s Cuba where they were considered a native street food. Frita’s exclusive recipes were developed slowly and lovingly with visits to Cuba and assistance from Cuban friends. They are a mouthwatering blend of beef and pork burger seasoned with Spanish spices and topped with a special sauce and crispy fried julienne potatoes, all sandwiched on a Cuban bun. Salty, savory, sweet and crunchy.”

Grand Cafe – 314 Duval St.
Lunch, Dinner (11:30am-11:30pm)
“A warm and inviting family-owned restaurant located on Duval Street, in Key West. Grand Cafe owner Maria Wevers and her staff are dedicated to serving a quality meal prepared with the freshest produce, meat and seafood. You are invited to spend a lazy afternoon having lunch in our garden, or enjoy a starlit meal on our wraparound porch. Featuring fresh seafood specials, and an award-winning wine list.”

Louie’s Backyard – 700 Waddell Ave.
Lunch (11:30am-3:00pm) Dinner (6:00pm-10:00pm) Bar (11:30pm-1:00am)
“Oh, if only for a backyard as beautiful as the spectacular oceanfront setting offered by this Caribbean-American restaurant, Key West’s Most Popular destination, where you can dine on incredible cuisine served by a professional staff on either the fabulous multilevel deck or in the elegant dining room; it’s many folks’ idea of heaven” – Zagat

Michaels Restaurant – 532 Margaret St.
Dinner (5:30pm-Until)
“Michaels emphasis on quality and service, coupled with casual island elegance, has established this Key West restaurant as a long-time favorite of visitors with discriminating dining palates and locals alike. Rest assured, from the first chilled martini to the last scrumptious bite of the warm chocolate volcano, Michaels will delight and satisfy.”

Pepe’s – 806 Caroline St.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (7:30am-9:30pm)
“You can feel the history on the walls at Pepe’s.” A great location for breakfast, mimosas or any other meal, day or night.

Schooner Wharf Bar – 202 William St.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (7:30am-11:00pm, 12:00pm Sunday)
“A last little piece of old Key West that just keeps getting better with time. An island institution since 1984, this funky open-air bar – located on the site of the old Singleton Shrimp factory – beckons tourists and locals alike with Its unique blend of special events, delicious cuisine and great live music.”

Smokin’ Tuna Saloon – 4 Charles St.
Lunch, Dinner (11:30am-11:00pm) Bar (11:00am-2:00am)
“Key West’s premier music venue. Great local seafood & world-class musicians on our courtyard stage.”

Southernmost Beach Cafe – 1405 Duval St.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (7:00am-9:30pm)
“Enjoy your morning coffee on the beach and catch a spectacular sunrise. Enjoy a delicious burger while you’re lounging in the sun. Have a romantic candlelight dinner overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. And indulge in a nightcap before you say goodnight. Unlike any other restaurant in Key West, this is oceanfront dining at its best. Come experience breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, from 7:00am until 9:30pm daily.”

Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater Food Vendors – 21 E. Quay Rd.
Dinner (3:00pm-11:00pm)
From local seafood fare to BBQ, the lineup of festival vendors was impressive and reasonably priced last year. If you’re interested in soaking up a majority of the performances each evening, then grab a bite between sets here.

Turtle Kraals – 231 Margaret St.
Lunch, Dinner (11:00am-10:00pm)
“Whether you’re vacationing in Key West or a familiar local face, Turtle Kraals restaurant and bar is the prime spot for experiencing the island’s freshest seafood and laid-back, festive atmosphere.”

Mile 0 Fest: What to Know Before You Go (Updated)

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.

LINEUP:

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.

Mile 0 Fest: What to Know Before You Go

For both those that attended the inaugural Mile 0 Fest and everyone else who missed out but is looking at 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 next year is going to be even better.

Passes and packages (Platinum-SOLD OUT, Gold, Pirate and Beach Bum) for 2019 are on sale beginning next Monday, July 16 and whether 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 experience.

DATES: January 29 – February 2, 2019

Last year the festival was a four day event that has been extended to include part of Tuesday (1/29) this year. 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.

LINEUP:

Already receiving rave reviews, another stacked lineup across the board is only going to grow as the event draws closer. Expect multiple other artists to be added, including FOUR MORE THIS WEEK before tickets go on sale! 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 possibilities include Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, but will 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 road 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 will 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 packages and passes are already SOLD OUT due to the ability of those who attended last year to commit early but the remaining available options provide the best in terms of accommodations. 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? 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 closer to festival time. 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?

If you are thinking at all about attending, decide before passes go on sale because they will go quickly and single-day passes are not yet (and may not be) an option this year. The only way to guarantee your spot is to purchase it once they become available on Monday (7/16).

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.

Mile 0 Fest: An untold story from the crowd

A few untold stories of an inaugural Mile 0 Fest from Key West…

The inaugural Mile 0 Fest from Key West, Florida was an astounding success. Everyone we talked to had nothing but wonderful things to say about the individuals from Oh Wook! Productions, including artists, fans and volunteers. With such a talented lineup everyone knew going in the music would be amazing, but what about the logistics of pulling off a four day festival on an island, far from a core group of red dirt music fans?

Flawless execution on all accounts.

Okay, so maybe there were a few general complaints involving the lack of shuttle transportation to and from hotels closer to the airport into Old Town, Key West or the amphitheater but there were plenty of other options. Taxis, Uber and Lyft are all prevalent on the island in addition to scooters, golf carts and once you arrive on Duval Street – walk.

Walking from the main stage back to the post show venues wasn’t too difficult and there were plenty of people heading that way if you needed a ride. This aspect was by far one of the most enjoyable parts of a four day, red dirt music festival in paradise. Meeting people from all over the United States who share a love and appreciation of music and what these artists do to entertain us fans.

There have been plenty of reviews about the concerts and off-site performances which often featured more than one artists collaborating on stage and even a few of their kids shining in the spotlight.

Our friends over at Gallywinter really nailed the overall festival review but it was near impossible to see all of the great acts with four stages of pre-shows and three following the main event every night. That said, don’t change.

The untold stories were found in the crowd, those golf cart and shared Uber rides were a blessing and people were more than willing to accommodate. There were little to no lines at the restroom or concessions and every conversation when faced with a wait, was friendly.

Everyone was on “Island Time” and seemed perfectly content with taking a step back and making sure everyone present was enjoying themselves. We met quite a few people from North Carolina, but were far out numbered by Texas and Oklahoma. No matter where you came from, Kansas or Kentucky, Carolina or California, for four days everyone was a red dirt fan in Key West.

The crowds seemed to also appreciate the venue and simplicity from a wonderful set up. There was little to no trash left following the shows as workers constantly were policing the grounds and picking up, even while the acts were on stage. Four days with portable toilets could have also been a bad situation but for the most part each was kept clean throughout the night and must have been serviced daily.

Chairs could be set up, left to go stand with others who wanted to dance or be close to the stage and then returned to unmoved. The people of Mile 0 really were a joy to be around, in addition to seeing many of the same faces daily, as most were there for the entire festival.

Rides were shared, drinks were bought, and everyone had a good time thanks to the countless hours of preparation by Oh Wook! Productions and their team.

See you next year!