Last year’s inaugural Mile 0 Fest was a rousing success by any measure. As we’ve learned from the recent spate of coverage regarding the doomed Fyre Fest, putting one on of this magnitude isn’t an easy undertaking. The Mile 0 folks took their time in planning and organizing a destination music festival and pulled if off without anything but the most minor of hitches. Heading into year 2 there are some improvements, some new things and all of the stuff everyone dug about year 1.
With over 70 acts, a dozen venues and five days there is something for everyone in any number of scenarios. Acoustic, full band, jams. It’s here. Here are some of the sets we would make sure to highlight:
Tue Jan 29
Shinyribs – 8:45 (Duval Street Stage) If you’re one of the lucky folks arriving on the first day of the festival, you must not miss the swamp groove king, Shinyribs doing his thing in the Keys. Few artists have ever embodied the spirit of the locale as freely and wholly as Mr. Ribs. Last year’s sets from Shinyribs were a standout amid everything else. He led a conga line around the amphitheater and had the best threads and dance moves in the entire population. Few acts can kick off a party of this size with such aplomb. Note, the fantastic Shiny Soul Sister herself, Kelley Mickwee will be doing our first Instagram takeover on this date.
Wed Jan 30
Todd Snider – 6:00 (Key West Theater)
Nobody spins a yarn quite like Todd Snider. You never quite know what you’re gonna get, you just know it’s going to be memorable. This should be one of the sets of the week. Key West + Todd Snider. What could go wrong? Only the right things.
Jack Ingram and Bruce Robison Unleashed 7:45 (Truman Amphitheater)
Last year’s Unleashed set including Charlie Robison was a memorable moment. This year, the trio is down a man, but is surely loaded to deliver a fantastic set in the way that only veterans and splendid songwriters can.
The Mavericks – 9:30 (Truman Amphitheater)
Raul Malo is from Miami and of Cuban descent. His voice is peerless. His band is electric. One of the best bands and frontmen of the last 25 years doing their thing on their home turf should be something approaching spectacle.
Garrett Bryan – 12:45am (Smokin’ Tuna)
Garrett Bryan was one of our favorite young discoveries of 2018. We caught him a few times at Mile 0 then booked him for River Jam. He’s always left us wanting more and this nightcap set should be no different. He will also be our Instagram takeover artist on this day.
Thu Jan 31
Corb Lund – 12:00 (Southernmost Beach Resort Cafe)
The Hurtin’ Albertan himself will be onstage and kicking off your slept in day with songs, stories and wit. There may not be a finer entree to a day of Key West revelry than this.
Various artists – 1:00-1:30 (Various)
Kicking off during this timeframe is quite the conundrum for couples. Jason Eady and Courtney Patton, Cleto Cordero and Kaitlin Butts, and Walt and Tina Wilkins are all performing simultaneously. Our best advice is to grab a drink and hop around to each. One of the best parts of Key West is its small geographic area. You can cover tip to tip in 15 minutes. Visit each of these powerhouse couples doing their thing.
Kylie Rae Harris 1:30 (Viva Saloon Karbach Stage)
KRH is back and in a big way. She’s got new music and she’s going to be kicking her release off at Mile 0. Catch her with just her guitar here and then a full band show on Friday. She will also be our Instagram takeover artist of the day!
Shane Smith and the Saints 3:00 (Truman Amphitheater)
There are not many live bands that have ever been better in this scene than the Saints. Harmonies, melodies and songs for days. These cats know how to write a song and deliver it. They are kicking off the mainstage on a day that is full of heavyweights. Buckle up.
Band of Heathens – 4:00 (Truman Amphitheater)
One of the best Americana bands to ever spring from Texas (or anywhere), trouble is coming early in the day as the BOH will be laying it down on the big stage in the afternoon.
American Aquarium – 7:45 (Truman Amphitheater)
The BJ Barham outfit is one of the hottest live acts around and for good reason. A decade of road dog weariness has crystallized into a whirling dervish of right place, right time, right band, right songs. Come see what all the rock n’ roll fuss is about.
Jamie Lin Jamboree – 11:30 (Irish Kevin’s)
Jamie Lin Wilson was a revelation at Mile 0 year 1. We expect nothing less this year. You will find her all over the place. But, there is likely no better setting for her talents than a free-wheeling jam that features her songs, other people’s songs, covers and just about any free musician on the island.
Mike and the Moonpies 11:30 (Cowboy Bill’s) Last year’s fest MVP’s return to defend their title with a night cap rocker that will feature the spirit of Rusty Wier and the songs of Mike Harmeier.
Fri Feb 1
Kevin Galloway – 1:00 (Southernmost House Papa’s Pillar Stage)
Last year Uncle Lucius played one of their final gigs at Mile 0. This year, Kevin Galloway is back to wow the crowds with his bombastic acoustic stuff.
Adam Hood – 1:30 (Southernost Beach Resort and Cafe)
Adam Hood is a notable addition to this year’s festivities. Our Alabama homeboy knows a thing or two about having a good time in fun places and we expect each of his appearances at Mile 0 to be noteworthy. He will also be our Instagram takeover artist of the day.
John Fullbright – 4:00 (Truman Amphitheater)
Fullbright is the type of artist that all the other artists will be clamoring to see…and for good reason. He takes people to church in the least cliched version of that phrase.
Flatland Cavalry – 6:20 (Truman Amphitheater)
These guys just dropped their latest album, Homeland Insecurity, and are poised to take that next step in their career. Humble folks no more, this band is now a seasoned headline act and will be performing the hits.
Tyler Childers – 7:45 (Truman Amphitheater)
When the lineup for Mile 0 was first announced, this was the name that got the biggest buzz online. Tyler Childers is the cream of the crop right now. He’s at a place similar to Sturgill Simpson in 2014-2015. He’s set for an Isbell level breakout and lives up to the hype each night. Expect this set to be full, rowdy and boisterous.
Sean McConnell 11:30 – (Smokin’ Tuna)
McConnell is one of the best songwriters on the planet who just so happens to have one of the best voices and performance styles. This should be a spell-binding acoustic set.
Brandon Jenkins Tribute 12:45am (Cowboy Bill’s)
Brandon Jenkins’ health issues prevented him from participating in last year’s festival, but the Red Dirt legend was celebrated in song by his bretheren. This year, an official tribute will be epic to say the least.
Sat Feb 2
Johnny Chops – 1:30 (Durty Harry’s)
The RRB bassist continues his notable solo career climb with an official acoustic set at Mile 0. You will hear songs you know, as well as songs you need to know. Chops is also our Instagram takeover artist on this final day of Mile 0.
Bri Bagwell – 3:00 (Truman Amphitheater)
This New Mexican has been shaking things up for nearly a decade. A leading light and artist with something to say, her full Banned stage show is something to behold. She kicked off the mainstage on a day last year and will do the same in 2019. The perfect elixir to ease into your last night.
Reckless Kelly – 5:00 (Truman Amphitheater)
Paired with their brothers Micky and Motorcars directly on the bill ahead of them, one of the only things missing from year 1 at Mile 0 was a proper amount of Braun’s. That minor issue has been resolved this year with a double dose of Braun.
Wade Bowen – 7:45 (Truman Amphitheater)
Hell yeah boy…pass the vodka. Last year WB guitarist Todd Lanningham had such a great time in the Keys that he left (and performed) with a broken leg from a scooter accident. Let’s hope the accidents stay away, but the good times flow in this year’s WB set.
Randy Rogers Band – 9:30 (Truman Amphitheater)
The preeminent Texas headliner debuts at the Mile 0 Fest to close out the mainstage festivities. With so many friends around and Wade going right before the RRB, expect some guest and hijinx as the RRB machine cranks out the hits.
RC and the Ambers – 11:30 (Cowboy Bill’s) Turnpike may not be attending the festival in an official capacity, but RC Edwards and the boys will be putting on a show of their own at Cowboy Bill’s. Come get your Okie fix to cap off your Mile 0 shenanigans.
Paul Thorn – 12:45am (Durty Harry’s)
There aren’t many folks that are as entertaining with just six strings and a microphone. Part music, party stand-up comedy…Thorn never fails to leave you laughing, thinking and contemplating.
The food, the places, the times.
-Blue Heaven – Two words. Lobster omelette. Another two words. Banana bread. This joint gets crowded early and fast, and rightfully so. There is a trick to getting a table that we won’t spill here…but ask around.
-Better Than Sex – Terrible name. Amusing concept that takes itself too serious…but the delectables are undeniable. Campy waitresses read the sensual names of dressed up chocolate cake in an ambiance befitting a grocery store romance novel. But, the confections are damn tasty and worth a drop in.
-Matthesen’s – We sampled a slice of Key Lime pie at just about every locale last year and found this place to be the winner.
-Frita’s Cuban Burgers – A Cuban take on an American favorite. Just off Duval, this place is worth a stop on your Key West travels.
-Caroline’s – Conch fritters are a Key West staple and we found none better than this place. A prime Duval location allows fantastic people watching while you imbibe.
-Hard Rock – We normally avoid corporate locations in favor of local in almost all scenarios. But, this place had the best mimosas and breakfast combo of any place not named Blue Heaven that we stumbled across last year.
-El Siboney – Homemade sangria. Seafood.
-Sunset Pier – You’re going here for the views as much as the grub. Get there early to snag a primo table. We lucked into one last year just as the sun was going down. A true highlight of any Key West trip.
-DJ’s Clam Shack – Lobster rolls for days.
Smokin’ Tuna – a bartender that looked like Chris Cornell served us the best Bloody Mary’s we’ve ever had last year. It coincided with a set from Walt Wilkins and felt something akin to heaven.
Willie T’s – cool place with great bartenders and a place to leave your mark with a $1 bill.
-Hemingway House – come for the cats, stay for the stories.
-The Lighthouse – climb up to the top and take a look around the vistas of the beauty around you.
-The Conch Train – a silly tourist trap that we’re planning on doing an IG live tour of this year.
-The Aquarium – not the best aquarium you’ll ever see, but a good bang for your buck to break up your musical escapades. A stingray almost attacked us here last year.
-Smathers Beach – best beach we found here last year. White sand, no rocks. Gets crowded.
-Mallory Square – a more laid back Jackson Square.
-Glass bottom boat tour – no better way to see the water and wildlife.