The Friday List is a recurring feature in which we jog memories, spark thoughts and perhaps generate debate in one of the grandest formats devised by man … the almighty list. Are we missing something? Are we dead wrong? Offer your thoughts on the list du jour by heading to the Valley Review’s Twitter or Facebook pages.
Mile of Music is open for business and the downtown atmosphere is absolutely electric.
The sidewalks of College Avenue were packed on Thursday and so were the venues.
The excitement should only grow as the Fox Valley puts the work week behind it.
We’re only a quarter way through the best time of the year for Fox Valley music lovers. With three big days to go, it makes sense to have a game plan.
Here’s our to-do list for a spectacular Mile of Music experience:
Make some music: After watching band after glorious band, admit it: you get the itch to get in on the game. No skills? No problem. Mile of Music’s Education Team is providing events throughout the weekend to give anyone and everyone an opportunity to make some music on the mile. Workshops range from a sing-along to samba drumming to didjeridu.
Get on the bus: The most intimate venue on the Mile covers the entire mile and more. There’s a reason why they line up to board the Mile of Music bus. It’s an experience unlike any other. You’re up close and personal with the performers and you’ll grab a little breeze and some sight-seeing to boot. It’s worth the wait and it’s a hell of a ride.
Boogie down to Jones Park: A key piece of Downtown Appleton is back in play after a lengthy renovation, though we’re all going reap the rewards for our patience. The new amphitheatre at Jones Park, just south of College Avenue, opens on Friday with a full slate of performers. The park, down in a ravine, provided a wonderful venue for live music before the installation of the permanent stage. It’s going to be a wonderful addition to Appleton and we can’t wait to check it out.
Chat up an artist: Most music festivals have a firm line separating musicians from common folk — and often some beefy tough guys with bald heads and red shirts standing on that line. One of the great aspects of the Mile is its accessibility. Musicians appreciate you as much as you appreciate their art. Make a connection. They’re often staffing their own merch tables once the shows come to a close. Say Hi. Say thanks.
Have a decent merch budget: Artists love a good crowd and they work hard for applause, but if you like their work, support them with a little green. Face it: your going to want to listen later and you’ll regret having walked by the reasonably priced CDs and vinyl. Further, you’re going to also want those T-shirts that tell the world your musical palate extends beyond what the radio force feeds you.
Have a beer (or latte) and a burger (or taco): It’s a free festival, but we know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Show some love to your downtown venues and let them show you what they do best all year round.
Try a new place: You’re going to be spending a lot of time downtown. There’s music just about everywhere and there’s no better time to check out a bar or restaurant that you haven’t gotten around to visit. You might just add a new favorite to your list.