Mile 0 Fest 2020: Raising the Bar

Following are 10 of the best things witnessed during Mile 0 Fest 2020

Mile 0 Fest 2020 wrapped up last week after four-plus days in Key West, Florida and this year’s version was bigger and better than ever. Beginning with a stacked lineup of headliners – Jason Isbell, Whiskey Myers, Robert Earl Keen and Randy Rogers Band – even a monsoon couldn’t slow down the momentum built for this third annual festival. The Oh Wook! Productions crew has spared no expense as this event is quickly turning into a homecoming for attendees and an epic vacation for everyone who settles onto the island for good times, awesome music and an experience unmatched anywhere else. Beginning with the disclaimer that it would take an army to witness it all, in no particular order, here are the 10 best things experienced at a third consecutive Mile 0 Fest.

Mike and the Moonpies

Bursting onto the scene in 2018 fresh off the release of ‘Steak Night at the Prairie Rose‘, Mike and the Moonpies continued their momentum this year spreading ‘Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold’ (a surprise release from last August). From the kickoff party at Durty Harry’s following the Duval Street Party, until their epic set at the Truman Waterfront Amphitheater, the Moonpies fan base continues to grow.

Bassist Omar Oyoque was everywhere, completing three successful stage dives, crowd surfing and thoroughly enjoying his time during the week. Initially leaving the stage briefly during Honky Tonk Tuesday, Oyoque also splashed down in the pool at Dante’s during the Mile 0 Fest and Outlaw Country Cruise combined event midweek. Finally, a later set for Mike and the Moonpies this year at the amphitheater was well received by the capacity crowd on hand.

Honky Tonk Tuesday

Durty Harry’s began to fill up hours in advance of Jamie Lin Wilson taking the stage for what may have been the best show all week. After an energetic set from Wilson, it was Mike and the Moonpies time to shine. Both bands turned in quality performances but the jam session that ensued, including guest appearances from Courtney Patton, Jason Eady and Wade Bowen provided the perfect kick off to festival while giving patrons a glimpse of what to expect over the next four days.

In the end, Mike Harmeier gave a repeat performance of his shirtless, jean jacket wearing, bar hopping experience from night one a year ago. For those who were on hand to witness the sheer fun everyone was having on stage, in the crowd or simply watching Bowen tend bar, it was a moment they won’t soon forget.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell was a surprising but welcome addition to the Mile 0 Fest lineup, making his debut appearance Wednesday night on the amphitheater stage. Immediately, he and the 400 Unit band captivated attendees rounding out arguably one of the best ever lineups for a single night at the event. Oklahoma’s Tequila Songbirds were followed by Flatland Cavalry, Shane Smith and the Saints and American Aquarium before Isbell brought the house down.

One of the unique things about festivals is the ability to gather so many talented individuals who spend their time crisscrossing the country to entertain fans into one space in a singular moment. When Isbell took the stage, everyone was a fan – other artists on the bill spilled into the crowd, in addition to packing out a side stage area for viewing. An epic close to the festival’s first full day.

Uncle Bekah’s Inappropriate Trucker Hats

No matter where you were in Key West, one didn’t have to look far to find an inappropriate trucker hat created by Uncle Bekah. Exploding in popularity since the first year, her creations have gone viral in the Texas/Red Dirt scene.

Hats are available in a range of colors and although there’s already an option for seemingly every occasion, one can be created in seconds if you think of something new. In fact, many of the performing artists and their bands got in on the fun this year, sporting different sayings while on stage or simply roaming the streets.

The Tulsa Revue

Lingering from Friday night, rain greeted attendees on Saturday but it couldn’t slow down the fun. In fact, at the Southernmost Beach Stage where John Fullbright was slated to perform, it actually created a unique and even more memorable experience. Moving inside the beach cafe, Fullbright was joined by fellow Okies Jacob Tovar, Paul Benjaman, Paul Wilkes (bass) and Paddy Ryan (drums), forming a rendition of the Tulsa Revue.

The final performance for this particular space, Fullbright and his crew not only received chants for an encore after initially shutting things down (which they obliged), but also received two well deserved standing ovations from the full house on hand.

New Additions

Always looking for ways to improve, the Mile 0 Fest production team added in some new additions this year that continue raising the bar. Not only were there a few impressive first-timers on the bill – Isbell, Keen, Hayes Carll, Will Hoge, Senora May, Lucas Jagneaux, Brent Cobb, Cliff Cody, Jack Waters and the Unemployed, John Baumann and Jonny Burke to name a few, but venue additions and other new details were all top-notch.

Two, in particular, included a ‘Golden Ticket‘ awarded to fans which offered unique meet and greet opportunities with certain artists. Distributed by festival workers to individuals for a variety of different reasons – good gestures, passionate singing, quality dancing, funny clothing, etc. it was just one more way Mile 0 Fest goes above and beyond for their attendees.

The other was a joint effort between organizers of the festival and Cruisin’ Tikis Key West. Providing fans with two-hour tours on the water surrounding Key West and Sunset Pier, specifically, fans were able to enjoy certain sets from a floating bar creating both a unique atmosphere and seemingly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Topo Chico Cowboys

A few weeks ahead of the festival, Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy released two songs – ‘Dollar on the Wall‘ and ‘Here’s to Friends‘ – that have strong ties to Key West and the latter very well could have served as the anthem for this year’s event.

Naming themselves the Topo Chico Cowboys, their set was great and spotting new merch (that hasn’t been available long) all around Key West was great to see. Playing on a boat, in a bar and everywhere between, seeing these two share their love of music with engaging fans was fun to watch.

American Aquarium

Returning after their initial festival appearance last year, American Aquarium brought the same energy to two different full band shows during Mile 0 Fest, earning new fans and entertaining old ones along the way. Both lead singers B.J. Barham and Jason Isbell mentioned one another during back-to-back sets at the amphitheater, sharing briefly about their time together as the latter produced ‘Burn. Flicker. Die.‘ helping to catapult the continued rise of American Aquarium.

In addition to a powerful set on night one, the boys returned for a Thursday matinee performance on a beach at the Southernmost Beach Resort and it was equally as entertaining. The setting alone provides for a quality experience and getting to enjoy a full band show – another new addition (full bands at this venue) – while on the beach was great.

Reckless Kelly

In similar fashion, Reckless Kelly made their debut one year ago and was equally as impressive. Former Turnpike Troubadours lead-guitar Ryan Engleman joined the Braun Brothers (Willy and Cody), Joe Miller and Jay Nazz this year following David Abeyta announcing his retirement just after this event last February.

The band made their first 2020 festival appearance with a late night show on Thursday evening at Smokin’ Tuna. Greeted by a large crowd, lead singer Willy Braun broke into ‘The Pina Colada Song‘ until served on stage in an epic move fitting of the environment. Debuting a few new songs off their upcoming double-album release, both sets were high-energy and well received.

80’s Ladies

Jamie Lin Wilson and Courtney Patton went all in to make Friday night’s 80’s Ladies event one to remember. From wearing wigs reminiscent of popular hairstyles during the era, tossing out shoulder pads from their throwback attire and orchestrating a stacked lineup of performers, this was truly one of best shows all week and something that is only attainable in such a festival environment.

Backed by a stout, although makeshift, band featuring Cody Angel, Scott Davis and Willy Braun – numerous different artists took the stage to perform hits from women of country music during this decade. In a time where both fans and artists are hyper-aware of gender discrepancies associated within the music world and beyond – seeing everyone come together for an entertaining evening was truly a magical experience.

Overall, Mile 0 Fest 2020 raised the bar on an already amazing festival full of high quality music from extremely talented musicians, friendly people, and opportunities to create lifelong memories in paradise.

A few other shows and artists that made an impression during the week:

Jason Boland 20th Anniversary of Pearl Snaps, Cory Morrow, Kylie Rae Harris Tribute Hosted by Walt and Tina Wilkins, RC Edwards, Amber Watson, Jonny Burke, Chance Anderson Oklahoma Rock n’ Roll, Senora May, Charley Crockett, Shane Smith and the Saints, Lucas Jagneaux, Tanner Miller, Cody Canada w/ members of Waves, Whiskey Myers, William Clark Green, Cliff Cody and Kelley Mickwee

***CLICK HERE to renew or register for your opportunity to attend in 2021***

Mile 0 Fest 2020: Instagram Takeover Artist Previews

Mile 0 Fest 2020 kicks off one week from today…

Mile 0 Fest returns for its third installment January 28 – February 1 in Key West, Florida. One of the best festivals available to fans of red dirt and Americana music, Mile 0 Fest has rocketed its way into the top echelon of events with stellar lineups, unique experiences, an amazing setting and relentless work effort of those behind the scenes. The 2020 edition boasts arguably the best lineup of any festival – ever – and with 88 artists performing over 140 shows in four-plus days there’s no indication things will be slowing down anytime soon.

This year, RedDirtNC is excited to partner with four of those performers throughout the event in order to give fans, both in attendance and elsewhere, a truly unique perspective. Make sure you’re following all of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, InstagramRedDirtNC) but especially Instagram next Wednesday – Saturday (January 29 – February 1) for what promises to be some entertaining and fun content!


Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
WED (1/29) Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, 8:10pm-9:10pm
THUR (1/30) 1800 Tequila Southernmost Beach Resort Stage, 3:10pm-4:10pm

-NC’s own BJ Barham takes control to kick off coverage and provide some behind the scenes footage and commentary during the first full day of Mile 0 Fest 2020.


Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
TUE (1/28) The Bacardi Durty Harry’s Stage, 10:30pm-1:00am
THUR (1/30) Dante’s, 11:00am-3:10pm
THUR (1/30) Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, 7:00pm-7:50pm

-An inaugural member of the lineup from year one, the Moonpies are one of the hottest bands in the country and will be leading the charge on day two.


Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
WED (1/29) The Bacardi Durty Harry’s Stage, 12:00pm-1:00pm
THUR (1/30) 1800 Tequila Southernmost Beach Resort Stage, 12:30pm-1:30pm

-A Mile 0 Fest rookie, Jagneaux worked his way onto the lineup by virtue of winning the Texas Music Picker’s Songwriter contest and you’ll want to catch one of his sets to see why.


Mile 0 Fest Scheduled Performances:
FRI (1/31) The Deep Eddy Smokin’ Tuna Stage, 12:50am-1:50am
SAT (2/1) 1800 Tequila Southernmost Beach Resort Stage, 12:30pm-1:30pm

-An Oklahoma native, Anderson impressed during each of the first two events and is back armed with new music you don’t want to miss.

Mile 0 Fest 2020: Seven Things to Know Before You Go

Seven things you need to know before you go…

Two weeks from today, a few thousand people will descend upon Key West for one of the best vacations imaginable. For first-timers and veterans alike, these seven tips will enhance your Mile 0 Fest experience as you prepare for four-plus days of the best in Red Dirt and Americana music.

1. “It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint.”
This is saying many will hear prior to arriving on the island and during the first few days of festival – in particular at Tuesday night’s Duval Street Party. As cliche as it may sound, it is sage advice. Yes, you’re on vacation but this isn’t simply a one-night affair. Shows begin daily at 11:00am and last until 2:00am – that’s 14 solid hours of music for four consecutive days – plan accordingly.

2. Wear Comfortable Shoes
It’s likely a majority of people heading to the southernmost point of the continental United States are coming from cooler climates. With late January temperatures averaging between 71 and 77 degrees, flip flops are appropriate but if you’re not fully prepared to walk a considerable amount in them then consider something a little more practical.


3. Use the Mile 0 Fest App
You’ll want to make use of this important festival perk routinely ahead of time, while on the island and following each show. From being able to plan your own personal schedule to receiving push notifications about updates or changes, there is so much useful information available at your fingertips. Maps, frequently asked questions, a new photo challenge and more already appear on the main menu, in addition to a new ability for offering reviews and feedback directly to the festival from every performance.

4. It’s 5:00 Somewhere
The Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater shows begin at 5:00pm ET but that doesn’t mean it’s where you should start. Each day there are events beginning at 11:00am ET and it’s here where you can meet new friends, find new artists, and make some of the best memories during the week. Go support these individuals and the variety of different venues associated with Mile 0 Fest across the island.

5. Consider the Environment
Key West is roughly four miles long and just one mile wide at the end of the Florida Keys. As a place dependent on natural resources and tourism, ensuring the sustainability of both becomes the responsibility of everyone who resides on the island. For this reason, expect paper straws and limited single-use plastics. Reusable water bottles are recommended and many venues also offer a discount on beer when using a provided cup of the same nature.

6. Charitable Causes
There’s an abundance of music and good times all across the island but don’t miss out on the opportunity to make a difference while you’re in attendance. Mile 0 Fest is committed to giving back and there are multiple opportunities to contribute to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, Michelle Halpern Foundation and Bahama Village Music Program through the festival sponsored Fishing Derby and signed guitar auctions.

7. Take It All In
From maritime museums to botanical gardens and Ernest Hemingway to Harry S. Truman, there is plenty to see on the island. Best suited for a few extra days before or after the festival, there are plenty of tourist opportunities to ensure you get the full experience of Key West. Mallory Square is known for street performances and sunset celebrations but the amphitheater also offers wonderful late day views from its grassy knoll along the back of the venue if you don’t want to miss any music.

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 extremely 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.