The long awaited seventh Mile of Music will officially begin at noon.
Unofficially, the festival had a strong start on Wednesday night along College Avenue. Downtown Appleton had far more bustle than typical of a midweek evening and plenty of live music set the stage for the days ahead.
Ben Clark, a New York City singer-songwriter who will perform five times during the Mile, was happy to settle in and looking forward to the next few days.
“I love the town and love the people,” he said. “It’s almost like a secret jam for me.”
Except for the fact that it’s no longer a well-kept secret.
“Yeah, it’s getting bigger every year,” he said.
Nicholas Raymond has the distinction of the Mile’s first performer and will begin his noon set at Lawrence Chapel. Sunny War will begin 15 minutes later at Copper Rock Coffee Co.
Those hoping to take in a little sunshine in addition to the music can catch main stage performances at Houdini Plaza from Rev Sekou and the Freedom Fighters at 5:30 p.m. J-Council. Carsie Blanton and Pip the Pansy will follow.
Plenty got a head start on Wednesday.
Seth Anderson and Mile favorites Me Like Bees performed as part of the Concerts in the Courtyard series at the Red Lion Paper Valley Hotel. Sponsors and Music Maker pass holders were treated to the First Songs event featuring a taste of artists to come at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
J-Council and Multipede had a Mike kickoff concert at Deja Vu Martini Lounge.
The show list becomes substantially longer today. Fans and musicians are pumped.
Appleton has become a favorite place on the circuit for Clark, and it’s been building a strong reputation. It’s talked about among performers far beyond the state borders as they discuss places to play, he said.
“People are crazy about music here and they’ll come out and see you even if they don’t know who you are,” he said.
It’s time to build further upon that reputation.