Mile 4: A recap of Mile of Music 2016


Photo by Olivia Molter

Indie rock band Wild Adriatic performs at Houdini Plaza as a Saturday night headlining act.

Maddy Schilling, Culture Editor

There are a few days each year when the city of Appleton becomes a new home for hundreds of musicians, a bustling conduit for creatives and vendors alike. For the past four years, the Mile of Music has brought in thousands of visitors seeking to attend an “artisan-crafted festival” and cherish some local music under the summer sun. This year, however, new changes brought to the Mile 4 spotlight also allowed spectators to enjoy a whole different side to the indie music scene, allowing the fest to grow.

The Mile of Music is the brainchild of former ANHS student Corey Chisel and was first introduced in 2013, with guests ranging from Norah Jones to The Candles to Justin Townes Earle; it has since garnered a reputation as a place where Americana, indie rock and folk artists shine. This was certainly the case for Mile 4, where singer-songwriters like Cory Chisel, Adriel Denae and Trapper Schoepp performed lyrically beautiful, classically indie sets accompanied by acoustic guitars; groups like Peridot, fronted by Hillary Reynolds, and Von Strantz followed suit. Meanwhile, headlining acts like Dreamers and Wild Adriatic put the rock in Mile of Music’s indie rock vibe with high energy performances.

Despite the typical abundance of these types of acts, Mile of Music 2016 still managed to take risks. More specifically, the festival diverted from its original Americana/rock brand with its first ever hip hop showcase, with notable guests including the classic rap-influenced Automatic, Milwaukee-based Ric Wilson and psychedelically-fused Queen Tut.

There were certainly a few more first-timers at the Mile as well. For Chuck Auerbach, father of Black Keys lead vocalist and guitarist Dan Auerbach, Mile 4 was the first opportunity to perform a full live set of original tunes. For North alum Jack Russell, who graduated last year, his first Mile of Music was–while not his first ever gig–the perfect way to express his musical abilities. Russell says of his experience at the Mile, “It was quite a thrilling experience to be a part of this ongoing artistic project (Appleton’s indie scene) and to play at Mile 4 this summer. Not only did I meet plenty of charming artists and create some firm networks, but Mile of Music gave me a chance to establish a secure fan base; it’ll make it easier for when I switch musical direction, because I definitely will–multiple times–in the future.”

With another successful Mile under Appleton’s belt, fans of the festival should look forward to another week of music, food and fun to come in August 2017.