Mile of Music Has Impacted Downtown Appleton

Returning for the third year in 2015 from August 6-9, Mile of Music has impacted its home of Downtown Appleton, Wisconsin, well beyond the four days artists converge on the community.

The handcrafted festival has branched out to include “Extra Mile” performances with favorite performers returning for shows in Appleton throughout the year, and has also added an annual New Year’s Encore Eve performance hosted Downtown. In addition to the summer festival and its hundreds of live music events, the Mile of Music Radio app was also developed for year-round listening.

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As Dave Willems, Mile of Music co-founder and marketing executive, explained, the initial idea for bringing music to Appleton just keeps evolving as can the concept of introducing an artisan event to virtually any vibrant downtown or central business district.

“Not every downtown in the U.S. may be laid out perfectly to host a festival similar to Mile of Music, but the beauty of an event like this is that it can be custom-designed and sized to match a community’s strengths as well as its needs,” Willems said.

Willems shared that Mile of Music continues to have a significant economic impact on Appleton now that its foundation is in place.

An estimated $2 million was pumped back into the community in 2014 alone, with nearly 40,000 attendees from near and far coming to Appleton for the festival.

Mile of Music recently hosted its annual Media Announcement and shared that Mile 3 will include a mix of approximately 175 new and returning artists this summer and welcome The Milk Carton Kids to the stage. With planning for 2015 well underway, the focus this summer will be on making the festival better, not bigger.

“After Mile of Music’s first year, we doubled the number of artists and tripled the number of performances,” Willems said. “Our next goal isn’t focused on numbers. It’s to continue making this an engaging experience for the artists and attendees. Ultimately, we’re looking to foster connections and promote our creative economy.”

Cory Chisel, Nashville-based Mile of Music co-founder and musical curator, explained, “Right from the start, there was this rapport between the fans and the artists. It was something I thought would take some time to develop, but it was almost instant that first year.”

This emphasis on making connections went into the planning behind this year’s Music Maker Subscription Package – a new feature for 2015. Along with designating pass-holders as festival supporters, the package includes exclusive access to more intimate gatherings like artist pop-up performances and meet-and-greet sessions.

An event designed for the community, Mile of Music will also continue to support two local funds through festival profits – the Mile of Music Education Fund and the Creative Downtown Fund.

The Mile of Music is an artisan, original music festival that kicked off in August 2013. In its first two years combined, the festival has brought 250 bands and solo artists to Downtown Appleton to perform more than 800 live music sets. It is a collaborative event that was co-founded by Appleton marketing executive Dave Willems and Nashville-based national recording artist Cory Chisel, with support from nearly 100 community organizations and sponsors as well as more than 200 volunteers. For more information, visit

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