We’re having a little music festival here in Appleton, Wisconsin. Maybe you’ve heard.
Mile of Music, featuring over 100 artists performing in 40 venues over four days, opens August 8 and includes a wide range of musical genre from all over the country.
Best of all, it offers a chance for some of Appleton’s biggest music stars to come home, and for those of us who knew them when they sang old choral music at the stately Lawrence Chapel, or earnest love songs at coffee houses like Copper Rock, or rowdy rock at kitschy places like Cranky Pats, to nod proudly and say, “I knew it. I knew they’d make it even back then.”
Mel Flannery was a six-year old walleybird in a production of Hansel and Gretel when I first met her. Years later, I remember watching her senior recital and knowing that this kid was going to make it. Today, she’s lead singer for the Brooklyn based Mel Flannery Trucking, a group that will headline the festival.
I lost count of the number of times I saw Hillary Reynolds perform; often I sat next to her mother Trina Reynolds as we heard Hillary’s distinctive music echo through chapels, auditoriums and coffee houses. We both knew Hillary was destined for musical greatness and while, sadly, we lost my friend nearly two years ago, her daughter Hillary has developed a depth of voice and song that would have made her mother proud. The Boston-based Hillary Reynolds Band also will headline the festival.
One of the bands I’m most excited to see perform as part of this festival is the Austin based Tanya Winch and the Dirty Mercy. They know a little something about music festivals in Austin and I think it’s cool that the city is lending us one of its own for Mile of Music. But, also, I’m thrilled to see an artist who grew up just down the street from me and who has enjoyed an extensive music career that brought her from LA to Nashville come home.
There are plenty of ways to participate in Mile of Music, starting with purchasing the VIP pass, and I’d encourage you all to support this festival any way you can. But, I’d also like to suggest a way to support the artists who are performing in the festival.
I think we should all take some time to visit their websites, get to know their music and purchase their CDs. It takes a lot of money to support a band and the best way I know to raise that money is to invest in the music they create.
Buy their music and, in that way, you can celebrate these talented artists home.