DAN RODRIGUEZ – MILE 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 9: “I’m from Minneapolis, but every time I’m in Appleton, I feel like I’m playing in front of my hometown crowd. It’s pretty exciting to be able to come here and perform for a room of 1,000 that’s filled to capacity. You can tell the fans are passionate about music when you see them taking in each song and really listening. What I appreciate most about The Mile is having fans who enjoy your work as an artist, but also care about you as a person. When playing in Appleton, I’ve received everything from gifts for my son to invitations to go hunting (a pastime I love). The last time I performed there, one fan even baked me a loaf of banana bread and sent it along for the drive home. That kind of thing is pretty rare when you’re on the road touring.”

ADRIAN+MEREDITH – MILE 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 9: “Every year, it feels like we are part of the community as soon as we arrive on College Avenue. Being in Appleton is like a breath of fresh air. There is such a good energy there and the fans are so enthusiastic, supportive and ready to listen. Our Mile experiences have been filled with so many magical moments and interactions with awesome people. We love being able to meet the fans face to face and talk to them between shows. It always amazes us how long the lines are for merchandise after we play. When we came to Mile 2, we were talking about shifting our focus to performing as a duo and the receptive response from the fans really solidified that decision for us. We feel like we owe so much to The Mile. Performing in Appleton gave us a great deal of confidence … an attitude of “we can do this” as a duo. Shortly after, our Midwest fanbase absolutely exploded.”

SZLACHETKA – MILE 3, 4, 5, 6 & 9: “At Mile of Music, I can play a solo, acoustic set in a bar – someplace that might traditionally be known as a loud or noisy space – and have people’s full attention right away because they want to be there to appreciate the music. That’s not something I see everywhere. This festival is different. There’s a real focus on connecting listeners with quality talent and music. And it’s not just the host venues lending their support – you can see that it’s the whole community coming together to make this festival happen. I’ve played all over, but Appleton really resonates with me. Mile of Music has been huge in helping me build a fanbase in the Midwest. The fans are just amazing. They are incredibly nice and genuine … people who appreciate the fact that their community is making these new and cool experiences available to them through music.”

CHRISTOPHER GOLD – MILE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9: “To me, Mile of Music represents a great opportunity to play for a lot of different people. It’s such a diverse audience, but at the same time, one that shares in being open-minded, particularly attentive and very respectful of what the artists are sharing. I’ve been playing venues large and small in Downtown Appleton since the first Mile, and even performed unplugged after some shows for audiences who wanted to hear a few more songs. This festival has put me in front of many people who may not have otherwise discovered my music and it’s also allowed me the chance to meet some incredible fans.”

PATRICK ROBERTS of VESERIA – MILE 3 & 4: “In the music business, there are many times you ask yourself, ‘Is all of this worth it?’ Our band puts in a lot of time and travels to a lot of cities, but when we come to Appleton, the answer is always an enthusiastic ‘YES!’ This is a place that totally rejuvenates us. The people here – from fans to organizers to fellow artists – don’t just tell us they appreciate our music, they show us. Appleton has become like a second home for our band. When you hear “music town,” people might think that places like Chicago and Nashville are where to be since these cities have the big venues and music labels. But Appleton is quickly coming up on that list as this is where the true music fans are. It’s one of the best places in the country to be right now if you’re looking for new and exciting music. There’s a culture in Appleton that is built around a love for music and you definitely feel that when you play for the crowd.”


SCOTT PEEPLES: “I’ve been attending since Mile 1, and every year, I make it to as many shows as humanly possible. What I enjoy most is seeing artists perform their own music with a sense of pride and unbridled enthusiasm. A great thing about this festival is everyone comes for the same reason – a common love for music. When you go to a show, it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into a crowd of strangers. It’s more like a crowd of new friends. Through Mile of Music, I’ve had the chance to make friends of many different ages. There’s an intergenerational benefit for our community. This is an experience kids and adults – people of any age – can have together. It really shows you the unifying aspect of music. With so many great artists featured every year, it’s getting harder to see everyone on my list, but that’s a good problem to have. I’ve come away with a few hundred favorite artists so far. I wouldn’t have had a chance to discover all of this amazing talent without Mile of Music.”

CYNDI GRAHAM: “I really fell in love with the festival when I attended for the first time during Mile 3. It was the vibe, the music and the collaboration – the whole thing just felt right. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like there’s a kindness floating around at The Mile … a positive energy that spreads from the artists, volunteers, fans and organizing team. Everything is so thoughtfully planned out and the artists are treated so well. I enjoyed being part of The Mile so much that I started volunteering at Mile 4. This gave me a behind-the-scenes look at how it all comes together and a new respect for the enormous amount of time, love and energy that gets poured into making the festival and other Mile events happen. The Mile has become so important to our community and we are very lucky to have it. There is such an incredible effort made to ensure that it’s the best experience for everyone.”

MICHELLE CIHLA: “I was so happy to hear that a music festival was coming to Appleton and got involved right away the first year. I loved the event and realized how much potential it had for our community. After seeing how well it was organized and the kind of success it had, I doubled my donation for Mile 2 and was excited to watch the momentum grow. The music at The Mile is creating a sense of community with a purpose and bringing us together as human beings. And it’s accessible to everyone. Where else can you enjoy so many shows that are free or low-cost on weeknights and weekends throughout the year? These Mile events give me something to look forward to. They’re also providing a great platform for up-and-coming musicians. I am proud to see the way our community supports these artists and gives them a chance to bring their voices to a larger stage. Fans have been so positive and welcoming.”


LEILA RAMAGOPAL PERTL: “Music education brings people back to a human truth: that music-making is a birthright. We know this as kids, but soon forget it and stop believing that we were all born to be musically creative beings. I don’t know of any other festival in the country that focuses on music education the way we do in Appleton with such dynamic and thought-provoking experiences. The environment at Mile of Music is so welcoming, and it encourages our community to feel comfortable being explorers, and even beginners, in their musical journey. Many attendees come with a plan to see performing artists, but end up leaving as active music contributors themselves, because as they actively sing, play or dance, their mindset about the role music plays in their lives changes. For those that thought they weren’t capable of making music, these Music Education events are providing an opportunity for them to think otherwise. It’s wonderful to watch the relationships between the attendees and performing artists grow with the common element being active music making. Many come to watch, but, through the unfolding of their own music making, leave with a deeper understanding of why a songwriter or band member does what they do. My hope is that what we’ve started through Mile of Music leads to life-long music making for our Mile of Music fans and our community.”

JACLYN KOTTMAN: “The home-grown and handcrafted component of Mile of Music makes it unique, but another thing that really sets this festival apart is the fact that the music-making isn’t just limited to the performing artists. This is a participatory, education-filled event where the fans and attendees also become active creators. They don’t just sit back and watch, but instead, are encouraged to explore and be artists themselves. In watching people join in on the Music Education events over the years – from drumming and singing to dancing and song-writing – I’ve seen those light-bulb moments where they claim their musicianship and realize a passion for music come to life within themselves. It’s exciting to see so many attendees walk away from Mile of Music with that confidence of “yes, I AM a musician!” shining through. Knowing that our team gave people a fun, engaging, educational experience that sparked their inner musician and even inspired them to pursue additional musical opportunities beyond the Mile is the best feeling. I love being part of a music festival that speaks to so many and uplifts our community.”