Key West, Florida is the stuff of legend. Pirates. Rum. Hemingway. Jerry Jeff. Buffett. Duval. And for the past five winters it’s been the stuff of Texas/Red Dirt legends. The exotic and only dreamt about has become a warm, friendly reality.
I’ve spent five years detailing and extolling the magic that happens on this tiny island, so no need to recap it all. It’s in the archives. But, here are a few things to be excited about for 2023.
-The continuation of the specialty shows that are closing down the Amp each night. You may not think of Jamie Lin Wilson as a soul singer, like you would say Courtney Patton, or Bonnie Bishop, but JLW has an undeniable ear for harmony, a personality for collaboration and the verve to put all of it together and host a Motown/Soul tribute show featuring all your favorite artists covering songs of that era. In addition, your favorite Topo Chico Cowboys, Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy, return to the tribute close-out stage by following up last year’s 90’s country triumph with a trip through the top Nashville hits of the 80’s.
-Some of the Mile 0 rookies are definitely worth making time for. Ben Danaher, Kayla Ray, Jacob Stelly, Midnight River Choir, Ian Munsick, Them Dirty Roses and more stand to make the same type of impression that Red Clay Strays, 49 Winchester, Grider and Kennedy have in years past. Find someone you’ve never seen before, and dig in.
-The vibe always stays loose, as do the times. Just loose, good times. Key West moves at half speed and it’s good to keep with that. In your travels, your grubbing, your drinking, your music enjoyment. Just relax and let the island, tunes and vibe wash over you. There’s no place like it.
-The forecast looks to be chamber of commerce perfect. The last couple years have brought challenges such as monsoons, cold fronts and extreme heat. That’s not the forecasted case this year. It looks to be as perfect as years 1 and 2 in the weather department.
-For those of you not on island time, the Mile 0 Fest crew is planning to go live each day from the Smokin’ Tuna for those sets. Download the app and check the schedule to see what will be happening there!
-Speaking of the app, it’s your friend. Use it. Make plans. But, if you fall off, no worries.
-IVs and Bloody Mary's work great in tandem.
-Whether it's your first time or sixth, make sure you make time for some of the island's non-festival tourist options. Still want to go live on a Conch Train tour as Dalton Domino narrates. One year, we're gonna pull that off. 2023?
-Live like a good timing' pirate for a few days. Soak in the legends of Key West and make your own.