Dear Mile of Music Community,
It is with great disappointment and sadness that we share the news of the cancellation of this summer’s Mile of Music festival (Mile 8) planned for July 30 – Aug. 2 throughout Appleton’s Downtown.
The simple fact is that the health and safety of all involved is paramount. After consultation with public health officials about the expected reopening timetable for large gatherings and the timeline concerns for the continued spread and potential resurgence of COVID-19 in our area – not to mention the sheer uncertainty of the overall situation – the prudent and safe decision is to cancel. Though it is clearly the right decision, it is very much a painful one.
For our local artists and the many touring artists who had planned to make their way here, for the venue owners and staffs who rely upon this weekend for much-needed revenue – especially in the times we find ourselves – and for the fans who have made Mile of Music Weekend a milestone of their year, we are heartsick. The same holds true for the sound engineers and production partners who have been the backbone of more than 5,000 live music sets over seven years, as well as our sponsors, collaborating partners, music educators and volunteers who have contributed so much to, as we like to say, help make the music happen.
We know – because so many have told us – that Mile of Music has become so much more than a festival that takes place for four days of the calendar each year; it’s become a vibe and a spirit and a pulse for our community that carries year-round. And that makes delivering this unfortunate news even harder.
Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters wrote just this week in The Atlantic, “There is nothing like the energy and atmosphere of live music” – and we could not agree more. His words underscored for us, in making our decision, that one thing we can’t work around are the facts: The Mile is known for bustling venues at peak capacity, enthusiastic attendance by large numbers of “seasoned” music fans, and as a walking festival that packs sidewalks with music fans for the better part of four days – all of which doesn’t mix well with the social/gathering restrictions and health concerns that will continue through the summer.
The Mile Team waited for as long as we could into this unprecedented pandemic with hopes that a glimmer of light would emerge, perhaps offering up potential to stage even a scaled-back version of the full Mile experience. We have spent the past six weeks considering more than a dozen scenarios and alternatives, including the trendy notion of a virtual/online fest in its place. Ultimately, the options all fell short when compared with The Mile’s one-of-a-kind live music experience.
Though Mile 8 will not be rescheduled for 2020, we intend (and hope) to bring the Festival back in 2021, barring any further complications from the pandemic. We ask that everyone band together and channel their good vibes toward that goal for August 5 – 8, 2021.
Thank you for your understanding of our decision, and please remember to be there for each other in the days and weeks ahead as we all look forward to the time when we can safely experience the positive power of live original music and, together, shine as only Appleton and the Fox Cities can.
-The Mile Team
P.S. – Since that first chord was struck at noon on The Spatio on Aug. 8, 2013, and the music wave of The Mile began for our community, one of the coolest things we’ve witnessed is how our emerging music scene has stepped up and been there for each other in lots of different ways. With that supportive spirit
in mind, it is critical that we share some honest, sobering news about the future of The Mile as an event – and the status of the Team that puts its heart and soul into producing it each year. Because The Mile has always been a free, accessible-to-all festival that puts its resources back into improving the experience each year, we have not been able to build up any significant reserves to withstand such an unprecedented and mandatory shutdown. Large gatherings were the first to be stopped and they’ll be among the last activities to return. It would be an understatement to say the suddenness of the pandemic shutdown has cast everything about our previously thriving music scene into doubt. The Mile is no different, and we need your help. Because our ability to produce the next Mile is in jeopardy, we’ll be launching a crowd-funding effort later this month and we hope you’ll be able to support it at whatever level is possible. We share this now because it’s important for you to know that, just as many of you have told us how you are going to need The Mile more than ever when this dark cloud clears, the plain truth is that we’re going to need you just as much. Please watch for more information on our crowd-funding campaign – Going The Extra Mile For The Mile – where we’ll be looking for those from our great community who have enjoyed the Festival to help prop us up…to help us survive to the other side so we can ensure Appleton resumes its place as a special music destination