Navigating the 50+ venues hosting 220 bands and solo artists at this year’s Mile of Music Festival required the kind of preparation and organization that tends to elude Molly B and Me.
Fortunately, for this year’s festival, we had Katherine Biskupic, who sent us pre-festival playlists at regular intervals in the weeks leading up to the festival and arrived with a highlighted spreadsheet in both printed (with spare copies) and digital format.
The object of some good-natured ribbing throughout the weekend, Katherine’s spreadsheet helped us make the most of an overwhelming menu of delicious choices and we wrapped up the four-day hand crafted music extravaganza perfectly exhausted and perpetually thrilled.
We welcomed back old friends like the Hillary Reynolds Band (we’re basically groupies), Swear and Shake (ditto), Christopher Gold, Adriel Denae and Cory Chisel. We’d see these bands anytime, anywhere and, in fact, have caught a few of their concerts in unlikely places all over the country. We also really enjoyed Thursday night’s Tom Petty Tribute concert.
Still, the beauty of the Mile of Music Festival, which features only original artists, is that it introduces us to so many amazingly talented performers who we might otherwise never have known.
We did our best to see as many groups and solo artists as possible, and we would have pitched a tent on College Avenue in order to hear even more music if city ordinances would have allowed it.
We’ll look forward to a fresh spreadsheet with accompanying playlists as we prepare ourselves for next year’s Mile of Music Festival.
Until then, here are our top seven brand new discoveries. We’d love to hear your choices.
1) Ruby Amanfu. A beautiful woman with a powerful voice, literally and lyrically, Ruby took our breath away.
2) Boom Forest. Midway through their set, lead singer Jon Paul Roney said,”I sweat because I care so much,” which sums up the passion this group displays.
3) Matrimony. Ashlee Hardee Brown shares lead vocals with her Irish husband Jimmy Brown. Ashlee’s two brothers Jordan and CJ Hardee round out the band, whose energy and sheer talent brought us to our feet.
4) Jamie Kent. We planned to go off script and pass on Jamie, because the venue seemed too crowded. But, a couple of guys from Bascom Hill talked us into staying and we’re so glad we did. A charming performer, he revived us.
5) The Crane Wives. Katherine and I weren’t able to see this group, but Molly liked them best of all. She said they had amazing harmonies and their voices blended really well.
6) Raquel Rodriguez. We planned to list our top six favorite new acts, but after we saw Raquel Rodriguez Sunday afternoon, we added a seventh. Raquel and her talented band had a packed crowd on its feet and dancing.
7) Ida Jo A young soloist Molly and her friends stumbled upon, Ida Jo impressed them with her ability to combine creative lyrics and talented violin instrumentals all on her own.
Including the Wednesday night kick-off concert, we spent more than 40 hours at the Mile of Music Festival, and we loved it all. Check back Wednesday for more about this super cool music festival.
Here’s a taste of Ruby Amanfu performing a song at the Lawrence Chapel that made at least one of us cry.
And here is Racquel Rodriguez performing Sunday afternoon at Anduzzis.