Mile of Music 3 was Incredible. Get your Festival t-shirts at Just Act Natural

Dear Mile of Music Fan,

What an incredible four days of great, live original music! THANK YOU for helping make the music happen!  We also want to thank all our sponsors, Music-Makers, performing artists, volunteers, the community and everyone else who came together to make Mile 3 a weekend to remember.

11831706_10153511615248164_5137493366140592309_nWe realize that four straight days of nearly 800 live performances doesn’t allow much time to purchase your Mile of Music festival t-shirts. No worries! Limited quantities, styles and sizes of festival t-shirts are still available for sale for $10/shirt at Just Act Natural in downtown Appleton (129 E. College Ave., 920-574-2932. Store hours: Mon.- Fri:10 am-6 pm, Saturday: 9 am-4 pm, closed Sundays).

Mile 3 took our community event to a new level, showing that we’ll have new challenges and opportunities. Who would have thought we’d be where we are after just over two years and three events? It’s a testament to our community and the special people here. We’re going to need everyone’s continued support and ideas to allow Mile of Music to get better, not just bigger. Together, we know we can do it. Thanks to everyone for being on this journey with us, and for making it so special.

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If you haven’t done so already, mark your calendars for Mile 4: August 4-7, 2016! We’d love to have you be part of the fun again next year! Speaking of fun, we’ll be sending more information about next year’s festival in the weeks and months ahead.


The Mile of Music Team  

Mile of Music FAQs

Will there still be a Farm Market Saturday?

YES!  We will still be having the popular Downtown Appleton Farm Market Saturday, Aug. 8, 8am-12:30pm on College Avenue from Appleton St. east to Drew St.11160669_625805594187720_5105824208822507490_n

Who will be the MoM artist at Lunchtime Live today?

Cory Chisel will be performing today at our Lunchtime Live concert in Houdini Plaza 11:30am-1pm!  See you there!

How can I maximize my personal MOM experience? 

Download the Mile 3 App!  Available for free from the iOS App Store and Google Play.

Where is the MOM headquarters and what do I do there?

Printed Mile of Music Schedules, commemorative T-shirts and more are available at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, 400 W. College Ave.  It’s open 10am-10pm today-Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday.

Besides the music what other activities should I look for?

  • Art Alley next to the History Museum at the Castle’s at 330 E. College Ave. celebrates the grand opening at 11am Friday, Aug. 7 with activities all weekend!
  • Creative Downtown’s Parklet next to Copper Rock Coffee Co at 210 W. College Ave. provides a relaxing stop and activities including a “Play Me Piano” and bean bag toss!
  • Feather & Bone Art Gallery in the old Harmony Space 233 W. College Ave. featuring a tribute to Harry Houdini!
  • Valley Transit’s MOM bus provides you with a ride around Downtown Appleton and live music for free!

Valley Transit and Mile of Music offering Mini Concerts on the Bus

Valley Transit has partnered with Mile of Music, the handcrafted artisan music festival coming to Appleton August 6- 9, to offer mini “pop-up” style concerts on the bus.


The Mile of Music band wagon, a specially-wrapped Valley Transit bus, will operate Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. and feature 40+ free mini concerts. The 20-minute route begins at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and travels along College Avenue from Lawrence Chapel to State Street and connects with regular Valley Transit bus routes at the Transit Center. The main boarding location for musicians and passengers will be at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s valet parking area but festival goers can hop on the band wagon along the route by waving to the driver to let them know they want to catch a ride. The bus will stop wherever it is safe to do so.


Valley Transit also participated in the Mile of Music festival since it began in 2013. “We’re thrilled to be a traveling venue again this year,” stated Valley Transit General Manager, Deborah Wetter. “The past two year’s events were a great success and we hear that bands were requesting to get back on the bus this year.” Ms. Wetter added that Valley Transit’s participation in festivals like Mile of Music are another opportunity to expose people to the benefits of public transportation. Musicians seem to like the bus as well. In the past few years, Valley Transit buses have been featured in several promotional pieces for local bands including posters for Cool Waters Band and Insight on Business magazine’s July 2014 cover story on Mile of Music.

Legislature Declares Mile of Music Weekend in State August 6-9

Through the efforts of Wisconsin State Representative Amanda Stuck and Senator Roger Roth, it’s official. The state’s Legislature has declared August 6-9, 2015 as the Mile of Music Weekend in Wisconsin and declares all residents of the state as honorary Appletonians for the weekend.

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“I am glad to see that the full Assembly has joined me in recognizing the tremendous hard work and dedication of Appleton’s own Cory Chisel and Dave Willems from Willems Marketing & Events who are the co-founders and organizers of the Mile of Music,” Rep. Stuck says.

“It is my hope that this recognition and honor will help to make Mile of Music 3 another record breaking event with even more performances and even higher attendance to the many events that weekend.”

Dave Willems, president of Willems Marketing & Events and co-founder of Mile of Music, says “This recognition from our state legislators is affirmation that the Mile of Music festival has far reaching impact on our region and state.

“The Mile of Music has done such a great job of bringing people from across the State and across the Midwest to Appleton to experience many great artists and the many venues that our city has to offer. In addition to this massive economic impact to our community, the profits from the festival will continue the tradition of giving back to the community with money going to support music education in the Appleton Public Schools and funds to help support a creative economy in downtown Appleton.

“I hope that everyone will take this opportunity to come up to Appleton this August to see some great live music, eat at great restaurants and enjoy the vivid nightlife of Downtown Appleton.  I look forward to seeing my legislative colleagues and citizens from across the state as we break the attendance record at Mile of Music again this year.”

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The regional draw of the festival multiplies the economic impact on the local area, a factor noted by Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown, Inc.

“The creative economy in Downtown Appleton continues to grow and Mile of Music plays a large part in that,” Stephany says. “With 200 original artists and  more than 800 live performances in 60-plus venues including two brand new outdoor small performance venues, it really adds up to 1 Great Mile of Music.

“In addition to the economic boost those 50 venues receive with increased sales of 10-100% over that period, the other restaurants, festival-friendly retailers and local hotels also benefit.   Spending in 2014 was estimated at $2million dollars and we expect that to continue to grow as the festival grows.”

Stephany added that the trickle-down economic impact is also worth noting, with employees happy with the additional hours and tips generated over the weekend.

Mile of Music is a weekend-long festival on a mile-long stretch of College Avenue in downtown Appleton that’s all about original, hand-crafted artistry. Now in its third year, Mile of Music will be serving up singer-songwriters, combos and multi-piece bands showcasing Americana music at its very best — from roots and indie rock to country, soul, r&b, jazz and folk – from August 6-9. Nearly all performances are free. Plus, there will be many free, hands-on Music Education events throughout the festival for visitors of all ages.

For all things Mile of Music, go online to

The Drawing Rally, A Live Art Event and Fundraiser during Mile of Music

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As a part of ARTiculture’s inaugural season, the Drawing Rally, a live art event and fundraiser, is sure to be an artistic, energetic, music-filled event. ARTiculture: Community Supported Arts is an exciting new model of art support and distribution that is based on the Community Supported Agriculture program, promoting buying direct and local. Read more about ARTiculture here.

The Rally will be taking place as a part of The Alley Project at approximately 326 E. College Avenue- the alley next the History Museum at the Castle. The Alley Project is a collaborative effort to bring a disused alley to life during 2015’s Mile of Music. The Rally will take place on Saturday, August 8th with drawing starting at 4:30pm.

Here’s how it works- there are four 30-minute live rounds of six artists and community members. During the thirty minutes, artists can create as many pieces they wish the materials of their choice. As each work is finished, they are displayed and put up for sale for $20. The proceeds will benefit Creative Appleton Downtown Inc. and ARTiculutre. Admission is free and refreshments will be available for purchase.


ARTiculture: Community Supported Arts is modeled on the Community Supported Agriculture program, which promotes buying direct and buying local. ARTiculture gives community members the opportunity to own original works of art by local artists through seasonal “shares” of art. In addition receiving artwork with each ARTiculture share, shareholders are invited to exclusive art experiences and will receive an extra perk at the Drawing Rally. Although the Rally is open to everyone, shareholders will have the benefit of being able to choose the work of art of their choice that afternoon.

Thank you to Strathmore Artist Papers, Blue Moon Emporium, Young Space, The Alley Project, and ARTiculture CSA for making this possible.

The Alley Project Creating New Arts Experience during Mile of Music

The Alley Project Takes Shape for Mile of Music

By Kate Mothes

“I think it is in collaboration that the nature of art is revealed.” Steve Lacy, jazz musician

One of the exciting things about a festival like Mile of Music is that now, two years in and already promising to rock its third, success builds on previous successes, and ideas build on ideas. More to the point, a music festival, these days, is often not just about the music. Especially at the “handcrafted artisan” Mile of Music, food and beverage vendors play a large role, as well as the local businesses that double as festival venues for the weekend. Art has also begun to play a more prominent role as a way to tie sound and performance into something visual and tactile. This year, a brand new outdoor arts space temporarily “pops up” during Mile of Music that brings together various artists for an entirely new arts experience in downtown.


The Alley Project combines the efforts of a number of local organizations including The History Museum at the Castle, Young Space Emerging Artists, PULSE Young Professionals Network, the Wriston Galleries at Lawrence University, and Mile of Music. The goal is to enliven a rundown alley on College Avenue between the History Museum and a former bank building currently owned by Lawrence University. And there’s nothing a bunch of arts and culture organizations like better than a blank slate! Aligning with the History Museum’s upcoming exhibiting Shifting Gears, which will explore the history of cycling in Appleton, the alley has a bicycle theme paired with the idea of “Wisconsin as place.”

The alley is truly a collaborative effort. Every participant brings their special skills and knowledge to the table, putting together pieces of a puzzle that could not be possible without the input and expertise of everyone involved. Mile of Music supports the project by including The Alley Project as an official venue with a lineup of artists on Friday and Saturday. Young Space and the Wriston Galleries assist in coordinating participating artists and installing the various art pieces. Local muralist Chad Brady will complete a permanent mural to cover the History Museum’s wall and brighten the space considerably, and will last long after the Mile of Music weekend. But of course it doesn’t stop there. Numerous Appleton residents and local businesses have stepped up to help out through an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign as well as donations of paint for the mural, bike parts for the installations, food and beverage vendors, artists and musicians, ARTiculture Community Supported Arts (who will be staging a live Drawing Rally on Friday), and much more.


So not only is it a collaborative effort, The Alley Project is truly a community effort. We are so excited to launch this new and exciting event and arts space this year that will have a lasting impact on downtown Appleton.

More information on the alley can be found at AND


Crazy Sweet’s Mile of Music Golden Ticket Giveaway

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams”. These words uttered by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, could have been written for the upcoming Mile of Music Golden Ticket Giveaway put on by Crazy Sweet, the candy store on College Avenue in Appleton.


Co-owners Dale Ver Voort, and his wife Mary Kelley, have put together a promotion that Willy Wonka himself would be proud of. Coloma based chocolatiers R & R Chocolates hand poured five hundred custom candy bars with the Mile of Music logo imprinted into it. The bars were wrapped in foil and put into a custom package along with hundreds of prizes donated by downtown Appleton businesses.

The “golden ticket” prize is two Music-Maker Festival Badges. Each badge offers the lucky winner one admission pass for the First Songs Kickoff Concert on August 5th, Front-of-the-Line status at some venues, meet-and-greets with Festival performers and much, much more.

“Mile of Music is an event unlike any other, we were looking for a way to be part of the excitement of that weekend” Dale said, “the fact that so many downtown retailers are joining us is part of what makes Appleton one great place”.

Other prizes available in each candy bar include t-shirts, discounts on spa packages, lunch and drink specials, lots of retail gift cards and, of course, candy.

In keeping with the spirit of Willy Wonka, a portion of the sale from each candy bar will be donated to The Mile of Music Education Fund, within the Appleton Education Foundation. This program funds more music opportunities within the Appleton public schools.


“Being able to give something back to the community, especially something that helps fund music education, is important to us. Who knows, some of these kids may be playing at the Mile of Music event one day”.

You can purchase the candy bars starting Saturday, June 20th at Crazy Sweet.

Mile of Music Has Impacted Downtown Appleton

Returning for the third year in 2015 from August 6-9, Mile of Music has impacted its home of Downtown Appleton, Wisconsin, well beyond the four days artists converge on the community.

The handcrafted festival has branched out to include “Extra Mile” performances with favorite performers returning for shows in Appleton throughout the year, and has also added an annual New Year’s Encore Eve performance hosted Downtown. In addition to the summer festival and its hundreds of live music events, the Mile of Music Radio app was also developed for year-round listening.

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As Dave Willems, Mile of Music co-founder and marketing executive, explained, the initial idea for bringing music to Appleton just keeps evolving as can the concept of introducing an artisan event to virtually any vibrant downtown or central business district.

“Not every downtown in the U.S. may be laid out perfectly to host a festival similar to Mile of Music, but the beauty of an event like this is that it can be custom-designed and sized to match a community’s strengths as well as its needs,” Willems said.

Willems shared that Mile of Music continues to have a significant economic impact on Appleton now that its foundation is in place.

An estimated $2 million was pumped back into the community in 2014 alone, with nearly 40,000 attendees from near and far coming to Appleton for the festival.

Mile of Music recently hosted its annual Media Announcement and shared that Mile 3 will include a mix of approximately 175 new and returning artists this summer and welcome The Milk Carton Kids to the stage. With planning for 2015 well underway, the focus this summer will be on making the festival better, not bigger.

“After Mile of Music’s first year, we doubled the number of artists and tripled the number of performances,” Willems said. “Our next goal isn’t focused on numbers. It’s to continue making this an engaging experience for the artists and attendees. Ultimately, we’re looking to foster connections and promote our creative economy.”

Cory Chisel, Nashville-based Mile of Music co-founder and musical curator, explained, “Right from the start, there was this rapport between the fans and the artists. It was something I thought would take some time to develop, but it was almost instant that first year.”

This emphasis on making connections went into the planning behind this year’s Music Maker Subscription Package – a new feature for 2015. Along with designating pass-holders as festival supporters, the package includes exclusive access to more intimate gatherings like artist pop-up performances and meet-and-greet sessions.

An event designed for the community, Mile of Music will also continue to support two local funds through festival profits – the Mile of Music Education Fund and the Creative Downtown Fund.

The Mile of Music is an artisan, original music festival that kicked off in August 2013. In its first two years combined, the festival has brought 250 bands and solo artists to Downtown Appleton to perform more than 800 live music sets. It is a collaborative event that was co-founded by Appleton marketing executive Dave Willems and Nashville-based national recording artist Cory Chisel, with support from nearly 100 community organizations and sponsors as well as more than 200 volunteers. For more information, visit

Top 10 Things To Do Downtown Between Now and New Year’s Eve

10.  Visit the Farm Market inside City Center any Saturday, 9am-12:30pm.  You may be surprised at the amount of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods and treats in addition to the great gift items.

9.  Take a little one to shop at the One Stop Elf Shop next to the Building For Kids Children’s Museum on Saturdays, 10am-2pm.  Offering gifts priced between $1 and $10, the help of an elf and design your own gift bags.

8. Try one of the seasonal beers at any of the variety of Nightlife locations.

7. Warm up with a hot seasonal drink at one of the six coffee shops.

cmasangels-night6.  Be sure to look up at the Angels over the intersections.  At night, you really get the “Avenue of the Angels” perspective.

5. Relax and let someone else wait on you as you enjoy a holiday dinner at one of the many casual or fine dining establishments.

4. Buy yourself a little something pretty for the holidays while you are picking out great stocking stuffers!

3. Attend one of the live music concerts, with everything from children’s choirs to national touring performers.  Hint: the Mile of Music New Year’s Encore Eve Concert tickets are on sale now (visit


2. Enjoy the beautiful window displays daily and the Live Window displays on Dec. 20 from noon-3pm.

1.  Experience the brand new Holiday Fun Fest and Thrivent Financial Avenue of Ice on Dec. 20.  With ice carving demonstrations, live reindeer, horse drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa, music and refreshments in Houdini Plaza from 10:30am-2:30pm and fifteen  ice sculptures along the Avenue all day, it is sure to please!

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Mile of Music New Year’s Encore Eve

Don’t Miss … Mile of Music’s New Year’s Encore Eve on Wednesday, December 31 into 2015!!


6 original artists return to Downtown Appleton for a night of handcrafted, calendar-flipping fun! An affordable night of amazing artistry and great music. Join us for the music alone, music and a room, or music, dinner and a room for the full package! The music begins at 7:35 p.m. and takes us through to 1 a.m.

Featuring 6 indie rock and folk rock bands who were fan favorites at Mile 2: Desert Noises (Provo, UT), Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes (Nashville), Boom Forest (Nashville), Ruben (Stillwater, MN), Bruiser Queen (St. Louis, MO) and hometown rockers Kyle Megna & The Monsoons. These 6 favorites will be back to rock us into the New Year! There will be special prize giveaways throughout the night, special treats, a champagne toast and loads of fun!

Tickets are now on sale through the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel. Purchase in-person at the hotel front desk, call the hotel (920-733-8000), or Click Here.


Music Only – $25.00 per person (Music starts at 7:35 p.m.)

Music and Room Packages start at $180.00

Music, Dinner and Room packages start at $235 (Dinner served from 6 – 7:30 p.m.)


Music-Only Price increases to $35.00 on December 31 at 3 p.m.

Desert Noises came to Mile of Music fresh off a showcase at Lollapalooza and as perhaps the band with the most buzz. They didn’t disappoint and it’s awesome to have them back. Both Nashville returnees — Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes and Boom Forest, led by John Paul Roney — were among the most talked about bands of Mile 2, bringing their Indie rock and folk rock, respectively, to several stages at the Festival. The blues rockin’ Ruben made perhaps the most new fans at MoM, delivering tasty tune after tasty tune at multiple showcases. Bruiser Queen played multiple sets and, quite simply, kicked butt. The Monsoons will carry the flag for the Fox Valley music scene at New Year’s Eve on what will be the final day of a very successful year for the rock quintet.

The night will be full of surprises — and prizes — as Mile of Music producers ramp up the fun for the second Encore Eve. “The fans from last year loved the event and asked us to turn the fun up another notch, which we’re happy to do,” said producer Dave Willems. Prizes will be awarded throughout the night and multi-media features will be a part of the party.