Published Friday, October 21, 2016

Mile of Music’s 2017 early bird sales for Music-Makers Badges have begun, with badges priced at $99 per badge – the same as last year – good now through October 31 only. Beginning November 1, the price increases to $119 until Jan. 2, when it reaches the regular price of $139. Taxes and fees apply to all sales.

This year’s festival, dubbed Mile 5, will take place August 3-6 on a mile-long stretch of Downtown Appleton and the adjacent riverfront. While Mile of Music offers 900 live sets by 240 artists playing their original music in 70 venues, fans who support the Festival by purchasing Music-Makers badges are entitled to a number of perks both during the Festival and throughout the year, according to Dave Willems, festival co-founder and director.

“It’s really become a year-round way to maximize the value of attending the Festival,” Willems said. “This past year, we had more than a dozen opportunities for our Music-Makers to engage through free or discounted activities involving original music and artistry. We’ll build upon that in the coming year as we continue to work toward building Downtown Appleton as a year-round destination for handcrafted music.”

Willems said one of the key new additions to the badge value will be a greatly enhanced Music-Makers lounge, which will be turned into a full performance venue with music sets and improved, complimentary food and refreshments.

The Music-Makers Club will be open only to those festival attendees with Music-Makers badges and will offer scheduled and pop-up live performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the fest. The club also will feature prize drawings of souvenir Mile of Music merchandise and artist CDs and vinyl.

“Our intention to upgrade the Music-Makers lounge was supported by comments from badge holders who responded to our post-event survey this year,” Willems said.

“Though we want our Music-Makers to primarily be out and about enjoying the Festival, we also want to give them a better lounge that’s special to their overall experience at The Mile. They are special to us because they are helping make the festival free and more accessible for the community through their badge purchase.”

Another highlight, Willems said, is the first-entry and preferred access opportunities for Music-Makers. Though the limited capacities of College Avenue’s bars and clubs make it difficult to offer special access to those venues, Mile 5 will have five main stage or featured venues that will offer early entry for Music-Makers as well as separate entrance lines to allow faster access as they move from one venue to another during performances.

The five venues are the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel Grand Ballroom, OuterEdge Stage, Stansbury Theater at Lawrence, and The Empire Room at the Radisson. The latter, which is located in the hotel’s lower level, will be called “The Underground” and will host music throughout the weekend while also serving as a potential rain back-up for the outside venues.

The grand ballroom will serve as a key replacement for the loss of Jones Park, Willems said, by hosting a regular schedule of music throughout the Festival weekend, beginning with the event’s annual tribute jam on Thursday night. The ballroom also will host a special mystery showcase right after the jam that will be exclusive to Music-Makers. It will then have an open-house vibe with ongoing performances from Friday through Sunday, with Music-Makers having special access.

“The hotel and its staff have been such great partners and we’re both excited and thankful to have their extensive support while Jones Park is out of the mix,” Willems said. “Along with the Lawrence venues, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and Houdini Plaza, the hotel will be one of our four main hubs for the festival,” Willems said. “We’ll have music and activities throughout the hotel, including The Courtyard, the ballroom, the Empire Room, Tundraland’s Singing in the Shower contest and other activities in the lobby. It will become a music hotel for the weekend full of creative energy from artists and fans.”

Music-Makers will again count the First Songs showcase on Wednesday night on their to-do list, with that performance returning to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center after a one-year hiatus due to the PAC’s lobby renovation project this past summer. It’s an exclusive showcase for Music-Makers Badge purchasers and sponsors of the festival, who underwrite a large share of the costs to allow Mile of Music to be a rare commodity in today’s music festival world – a free festival.

Music-Makers Badge purchasers also will receive a complimentary commemorative t-shirt, designed by a Fox Cities artist specifically for the festival’s milestone year – Mile 5. A limited quantity will be printed, exclusively for Music-Makers.

Throughout the year, Music-Makers will again have free, discounted and first-to-buy opportunities to attend Mile of Music-produced concerts and events ranging from first-listen album shows and BYOB concerts to encore performances of Mile alumni at downtown Appleton venues such as the Chapel, the Grand Ballroom and OuterEdge as well as Off-The-Mile showcases at Tanners Grill and Bar in Kimberly and Riverview Gardens along the riverfront.

In January, Music-Makers also will begin receiving a new online musicgram that will share downloads of new releases from the 400-plus music acts that have played the first four years of the festival since it debuted in August of 2013, accompanied by updates on and factoids about the bands, news on the festival and other Mile of Music events, and insight into the evolvement of the original music scene in Appleton and Wisconsin.

All things Mile of Music can be found online at the Festival website, and on social media.

About Mile of Music Mile of Music is a music-first artisan festival that takes over a walkable mile in the center of Appleton, WI four days each August. This free, original music festival offers music lovers 900 live sets performed by 240 emerging artists in more than 70 venues from coffee shops and bars to parks and restaurants, museums and other public spaces, and offers attendees a chance to join hands-on music education experiences. The 2017 Mile of Music, dubbed Mile 5, takes place August 3-6. This grassroots festival was co-founded by Appleton marketing executive Dave Willems and Appleton-based national recording artist and Grammy nominee Cory Chisel, with support from nearly 100 community organizations. More information can be found at and on most social media channels.

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