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Mile of Music bids adieu after energetic final day

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Another Mile of Music is now behind us.

Though music-hungry throngs refused to let their festival go out with a whimper on its final day.

College Avenue will snap back from party to business today, but only after music fans got the most from Mile of Music Day 4 on Sunday. 

As the festival wound down, the shared emotion of fans and musicians was gratitude.

“Everyone was just so sweet, so warm,” said New York City’s Garth Taylor, who performs as Garth. “It’s rare to be part of a festival that has that kind of energy.”

And the energy didn’t fizzle in its waning hours. If fans felt exhaustion after three days of wall-to-wall music, they didn’t show it.  

When the Mile started, Sunday was far more relaxed — they staged a few afternoon sets and some educational events as folks moved along. It wasn’t that long ago that all but the clean-up crews were gone from the festival by the dinner hour. 

Sunday might be among the best measuring sticks for the festival’s growth if not by numbers, by the zeal of concertgoers.

Back to work on Monday? They’d deal with Monday when it came.

“A Song Before We Go,” the official farewell of the festival, packed the Red Lion Paper Valley’s ballroom at 5 p.m. 

The next four hours served as an encore.

As the ballroom show let out, the heaviest stream of traffic from the hotel’s front entrance headed west on College Avenue to venues where the music would continue.

Emmett’s hosted music until 8:15 p.m.

Mile of Music favorite Wild Adriatic had the honor of becoming the last memories of Mile 7 with a show outside Spats that ran until 10 p.m.

Singer-songwriter Pierce Edens was preparing to head off on Sunday evening after a full four days as a performer and as a fan. He said the festival is a lot like band camp. It’s the one time of year where all the acts he’s met on the road come together in the same place.

Last year, he spent his spare time watching performances of friends.

“This year, I made a conscious effort to see new stuff, so I’ve been running double time,” he said. “The tide’s rolling out, for sure, and I’m going to sleep well tonight.”

As venues grew fewer as the day grew later, the big stages had little room to spare for the large numbers that aimed to extend their Mile runs as long as they could. 

As Joshua and the Holy Rollers took the stage at Spats at about 7 p.m., crowds had already spilled onto the sidewalk. A healthy contingent with lawn chairs watched from the sidewalk across the street.

Musicians who’ve been around say Appleton has something special.

Taylor said the level of engagement at the festival is unique from the community of musicians to staff, volunteers and fans.

There’s nothing like it, Edens said, whether it’s the time with friends or the attentive audiences.

“It fills the tank in a lot of different ways,” Edens said.

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