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8 Reasons you should check out Mile of Music in Appleton

From August 4-7, year four of Mile of Music will take place in Appleton, WI and we want you to get in on the musical goodies this festival spews out to the public. To get an inside scoop on the happenings around the festival, we interviewed Mile of Music’s Director of Operations, Nathan Litt.

  1. There’s a David Bowie and Prince tribute

On opening day there is a “Songwriter’s Salute” where bands pay tribute to musical geniuses both present and past. This year they are honoring Prince and David Bowie – WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?!

“It’s the only performance that’s sanctioned, on the schedule, that involves covers,” explains Nathan Litt. “ a way to recognize and pay homage that

nearly every artist who’s out there making music, part of their craft has been inspired and influenced by other singer-songwriters and band.”

According to Litt, this year’s “Songwriter’s Salute” is not only the festival’s third annual, but also is his personal favorite aspect of the festival.

“Each song is performed by a different artist or band coming through the festival. So you get a completely different take on what the Rolling Stones sound like or Tom Petty or this year, Bowie or Prince.”

  1. Only original music is allowed

Yes, no cover bands. Mile of Music is an avenue for emerging artists looking to promote their craft. All the music is original and guaranteed to satisfy your ears.

Litt explains that Mile of Music strives exceptionally hard to avoid the commercialization and branding that so many other festivals have succumbed to. Instead, the festival should focus purely on the music itself.

“We wanted to make it accessible; not only to provide a venue, a stage and new audiences for the performers, but also on the flip-side I think you can relate more to original music as a festival attendee sitting watching a show because you’ve never heard it before and you can really, truly-if you listen to it-relate.”

  1. The hip-hop showcase

On Saturday the festival is hosting its first ever hip hop showcase featuring several artists from Milwaukee including Lex Allen, New Age Narcissism, Queen Tut, Zed Kenzo and more.

“In the last year when we seriously started to consider the hip-hop showcase, we heard so many artists and friends of the festival recommending all this great talent and it was a no-brainer,” explains Litt, adding that “

going to come to listen to that and maybe be exposed to other styles or new artists and other bands so that we can expand our audience base too which I think is important for the future of the festival.”

The Hip-Shop Showcase will be held on August 6th at Stansbury Theatre at Lawrence University from 5pm to 11pm. That’s 6 straight hours of hip-hop!

  1. IT’S FREE

Don’t have many dolla bills to throw around? We understand, and so does Mile of Music which is why the festival is free and open to the public! So strap on your favorite pair of festival sandals (socks optional) and get ready to get down.

  1. There’s something for everyone

With more than 850 live music sets, 240+ different artists and over 70 music venues, you will probably have a hard time finding music that you don’t like.

“We have pretty much something for everybody; folk, rock, alternative rock, country, bluegrass, Americana roots, jazz, blues and beyond that,” explains Litt. “So many different styles of music that they’re truly hard to define.

  1. The community involvement is insane

Mile of Music is unique in the sense that local businesses are the center of the music festival. Coffee shops, bars, restaurants, parks, etc. serve as the music venues. When you attend Mile of Music, you are submerged in the Appleton community.

Litt says that not only does the festival provide the community with four days of incredible entertainment, but also, “one of the more tangible, quantifiable-in terms of effects-is that we have an over 2.5 million+ direct economic impact in the local economy over those four days.”

“What we’re trying to do at the festival, is to create a movement that supports year-round live, original music for artists locally, regionally, but even nationally so that these artists who have a great time and do well and perform and meet new fans and audiences during Mile of Music, come back to Appleton at other times of the year and that just helps to be a sustainable, more creative economy.”

  1. The money goes towards a good cause

The profits from the festival go towards the Mile of Music Education Fund, which helps fund more music opportunities in Appleton public schools. HELP MUSIC LIVE ON!

“We have two non-profit organizations that are connected with the festival so we raise funds and awareness about music education and we have fund that goes to support music education in the area public schools and we also have a fund that supports the development of the creative economy in the downtown,” says Litt.

Those two fund are:

The Mile of Music Education Fund, a part of the Appleton Education Foundation (, which provides funding for music programs and opportunities in the Appleton Public Schools.

Creative Downtown Appleton, Inc. ( which provides initial funding for artistic and creative projects for Downtown Appleton, thus allowing a more strong, vibrant and creative community.

  1. Support the Milwaukee bands

Soul Low, Bo and Airo, GGOOLLDD, Space Raft, Eagle Trace and a bunch of other Milwaukee artists will be playing at Mile of Music and we’re sure they would love your support. Check out the full lineup by following the link below.

To see a highly detailed schedule of all the Milwaukee bands playing at Mile of Music, our friends over at Milwaukee Record ( have graced the community with such a schedule, seen here (

Written by Edward Otto and Karlie Winchester