I saw a friend Wednesday night at Jones Park and he waved me over to say hi.
As he stood there, wearing a Mile of Music volunteer shirt and actively supervising a group of young trash picker-uppers, he gave me some insight into why this annual event works as well as it does.
“This is the kind of thing I just love,” he said. “There are hundreds of people enjoying themselves in the park tonight and tomorrow morning when a mom brings her kids to play here, they’ll never even know there was an event here. The whole place will be perfectly clean.”
A humble, under-the-radar kind of guy, he didn’t tell me that because he was looking for any accolades. He was just genuinely thrilled to have an active role in taking care of a city he loves.
That attitude, and the music, are what makes Mile of Music so special.
So, eight years in to my favorite event of the summer, here’s an overdue salute to the Mile of Music volunteers, the people who go the extra mile.
Here’s to my friends, who volunteer bartend, check IDs, handle the merch tables, set up, take down, patrol the grounds, pick up the garbage. You see volunteers everywhere you go down the mile and, if I had my act together, I could probably post a hundred pictures of them.
But I only shot photos at the first half of Wednesday night’s First Songs Concert and I didn’t take pictures of any volunteers.
So, I plan to spend the next three days inhaling the live music I’ve missed so much, and thanking every volunteer I see.
Here’s to Mile 8! I’m so grateful to be able to enjoy it.
And, here’s to eight years of the kind of community pride that leaves our parks and grounds so beautiful.
Thank you again to Dave Willems for an inspiring event.
See you on the Mile.