Another winter and year has rolled into Texas. Steamboat’s MusicFest is in the rearview mirror. Which means that it is Mile 0 time. Time to traverse US1 down to the Florida Keys. It’s hard to believe that this magnificent festival is in year 5. Back in 2018, we were part of a select few modern day vagabond musical pirates that found ourselves wandering up and down Duval St with Mile 0 armbands on like we were part of some super secret, ultra club. The town didn’t know what we had in store for it and vice versa.
The music and camaraderie that was established in that inaugural year has only grown. It now includes an active online community on Facebook and artists that are as synonymous with the festival as anything else in their careers (Mike and the Moonpies, Jamie Lin Wilson, Topo Chico Cowboys). Things like this don’t occur by happenstance. This community and five year success is a testament to the team hard at work behind the scenes led by Kyle Carter and team. It’s a year-round grind for them to give everyone a week in paradise. Through Covid and booking challenges, they just march onward.
Year 5 brings a few new artists into the mix, chiefly Wednesday and Thursday headliners Parker McCollum and Ryan Bingham. The big sets aren’t the only place to catch new artists this week. If you’ve never heard Zac Wilkerson, please make sure you find your way to one of his sets. Get ready for church. One of the most buzzed about new acts that is the fresh to the scene is The Red Clay Strays from Alabama. They are in the vein of Whiskey Myers and Shaker Hymns. This is southern rock. And a nice spin on it. Very much looking forward to taking in some blistering live music from them down in paradise. Keeping the amps up to 11, and making his debut in Key West is Jonathan Tyler with his Northern Lights. Texas rock n’ roll will be blasting straight into your ears.
Mile 0 has many returning favorites too. Including the aforementioned Moonpies, Wilson and TCC, you will find Morgan Wade, Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen, Cody Canada, Stoney LaRue, Shane Smith and the Saints, American Aquarium, Courtney Patton, Kaitlin Butts, Adam Hood and Reckless Kelly among others doing what they do best. You will find artists solo, collaborating, in full band set-ups, in mash-ups, in tributes and just hanging out. Two of the shows that jump off the app schedule are the 90’s country tribute night hosted by Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy with an all-star backing band. And the Courtney Patton Variety show. I’ve long said CP could have been on SNL and this year at Mile 0 she’s going to show us how true that is.
Above all, Mile 0 is the type of music festival that builds in relaxation. Sit in the white sand, be serenaded by your favorite tunes, live like Buffett and just chill. Catch all the shows, some shows or just a few. The adventure you choose is your own. Key West is a place to celebrate, reinvent, hide away, discover and explore. The soundtrack will be peerless. Your experience will be one you will never forget. And it begins in just a few days.