Mile 0: 5 for 5

Throughout the first four years of its existence, Mile 0 Fest has provided many memorable moments. The type of moments that you look around and realize they could only happen in Key West.  There are some moments that the statute of limitations still hasn’t run out on and we can’t print.  But, of those that are fit to print, these five below are five of the best things we have witnessed in Key West at Mile 0 Fest.

5. Jack and Charlie on a moped.

In year one, all of Key West was more like the wild West as we Texans explored untamed landscapes of debauchery and good times.  Nothing quite encapsulated that pirate musical spirit quite like watching Charlie Robison ride behind Jack Ingram on a moped just as they had finished an Amphitheater headlining set.  It won’t be the last time Charlie Robison graces this list. Thankfully, Jamie Lin Wilson was able to grab a photo of this moment.

4. Topo Chico Cowboys/Moonpies and JLW overtake the island

Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy have long been favorites of ours.  Basically since the start of their careers and this website’s existence. They’ve played a thousand shows together.  Maybe more.  In the homeland, they are special.  But, their genius reached peak levels during their first appearance at Mile 0 Fest in 2020. They sold out of their merch and it could be seen everywhere.  They were the buzz of the island.  It culminated in Drew lifting Mike Moonpie up a la Dirty Dancing at last year’s duet´s after party Amp show hosted by Jamie Lin Wilson. These esteemed appearances have vaulted the quartet of Jamie Lin, Moonpies and Josh/Drew into Mt. Rushmore -Mile 0. If a performance is on the schedule and includes any of these acts, it´s a must see.  As Pat Green sings, the girls in Texas may be just a little bit better; in Key West the four aforementioned artists are just a little bit better.

3. KRH Tribute

One of Kylie Rae Harris’ last large public performances was Mile 0 Fest 2019.  When the 2020 event rolled around, her spirit was most definitely felt all up and down Duval.  Her fellow musicians, friends and fans gathered for a tribute performance of her songs at the Key West Theater.  It was an emotional, intense moment of love, forgiveness and grief.  Truly special.  Just like her. As Wade Bowen mentioned during the tribute, ¨she wrote what she knew and she will be remembered as we´d all like to be…as a tremendous songwriter.¨

2. RRB in a hurricane

Holding a festival in the plane of hurricanes is not for the faint of heart.  Randy Rogers Band are the ultimate pros.  Those two facts would collide in 2020.  Throughout the day of their performance the weather was on everyone’s mind. Randy, Brady Black and Geoffrey Hill stood afront the stage and were pelted with 50+ mile per hour winds and torrential rains for 2.5 songs.  Instruments were destroyed, but legends were made. 

1. Charlie Robison final performance and tribute.

In its inaugural year, Mile 0 Fest proved to be a playground for Charlie Robison.  Little did he and we all know it would be his last big hurrah.  He headlined a fantastic night at the Amp alongside his Unleashed brethren, brother Bruce Robison and friend Jack Ingram.  They played the hits, they sang each other´s songs, covered some songs and just generally had a grand time.  A few months later, Robison would encounter some vocal issues that would cause him to hang it up for good.  So, it was with great reverence that we gathered to pay tribute to Charlie in person at the Key West Theater.  His friends sang his songs, told stories and celebrated the man, the catalog and the history.  In one of those dumb luck circumstances, I ended up taking in the whole show standing right alongside Charlie.  Truly, one of the most magical musical moments in a lifetime of dumb luck guiding me toward them.

What will year 5 have in store? I can´t wait to find out!

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief