How lucky am I to live in paradise and get to experience my favorite Red Dirt Americana Music from Texas and Oklahoma right here in my islands? Very lucky, indeed. I was fortunate enough to hook up with someone from the festival's promotion company last year for the very first Mile 0 Fest Key West in 2018. I helped her with some advertising and ticket giveaways, scored some free passes, and made a friend! Even though they completely sold out and didn't really need any advertising or ticket giveaways this year, she still took care of me with a couple of free passes and access to the media tent. It was such a nice treat for Scott and me! Sadly, we couldn't attend all 4 days, but we definitely made the most of the 2 days we were there and packed in as much music (and rum) as possible!
This year was the second year for this fledgling festival, and it was not without its hiccups. Scheduling issues, demanding bands plus damaged bands, all combined with our rare Florida Keys winter temperatures definitely caused the festivals producers some head aches, but from my perspective, Mile 0 Fest 2019 was a huge success!
Unfortunately, we missed the street party kickoff Tuesday night and the first full day of festivities on Wednesday, arriving on Thursday. Our first day began at the Truman Waterfront Amphitheater with Shane Smith & The Saints, followed by one of my favorite bands, Band of Heathens! They were great! Scott commented right off on their sheer musicianship. The band and the harmonies are just so tight and they are all so talented. There couldn't have been a better way to kick off the festival for me!
Stoney LaRue came next, starting with a song called “Blame It On The Rum” which became our theme song! (Papa’s Pillar in the media tent was a bit dangerous!)
Cody Canada & The Departed came next and told us all about those boys from Oklahoma and their inability to roll a proper joint! American Aquarium followed, a band I was really looking forward to. They did not disappoint!
The Turnpike Troubadours were supposed to headline the night, but to everyone’s disappointment they cancelled last minute. It’s a sad situation and I was very bummed they couldn’t make it, but I still love them and sure hope they can get through this dark time and come back to us. The other bands that night were so loving and gracious, talking about their friends and wishing them the best.
My highlight of the night was when Cody Canada called Stoney LaRue, John Fulbright and Jamie Lin Wilson up to sing the Troubadour song, “Every Girl.” It was awesome! Excuse the footage of me boogy-ing!
After American Aquarium, we headed to Durty Harry’s to see Garrett Bryan. While I was thrilled to see Garrett with the whole band that night, (and he was fantastic!) we had planned to see The Mavericks there late night. They had played the amphitheater on Wednesday night and we hated to have missed it, but I was pretty excited about seeing them on the smaller stage. Well, apparently they don’t play stages that small anymore, and canceled last minute. Another bummer, but Garrett and the guys rocked the place and were a perfect way to cap off our first day!
Friday at Mile 0 Fest Key West - my goodness. After a greasy lunch and some dog hair in the form of Bloody Mary’s at Hogs Breath, we made it to Smokin' Tuna Saloon in time for the Kylie Rae Harris Special Release Party. Much to my surprise the Band Of Heathens were her backing band! Suzi had a happy! It was a really good show. She is a talented songwriter and very entertaining. I got to say hi and get my copy of her new EP signed. I also got to talk to the Band of Heathens and got a picture with Gordy Quist! He gave me a hug when I told him they were my favorite band! Made my day!
From there we made our way over to the amphitheater for the last few songs by Bonnie Bishop. I had never heard her before, but enjoyed what I heard.
Then it was time for the one and only John fucking Fullbright. He is absolutely amazing! (Side note - many of the other bands were there in the audience to see him!) For someone so young, he is one of the most amazing songwriters. So much talent! (not sure why this video is sideways, but you can still hear the greatness...)
When he was introduced, we were told it was time for church. When everyone was throwing their arms in the air and yelling "I'm Saved," it certainly seemed we were in some kind of worship ceremony after all - it was the church of John Fullbright, and I was saved!
Then it was off to the Key West Theater, which is a fabulous venue. We wanted to see the incomparable Paul Thorn, and knew the theater would fill up fast so we got there an hour early. I’m glad we did! Jared Deck was playing and he was a great find!
Of course, Paul Thorn was amazing! He is so funny! I could just listen to him talk, but lucky for us, he sings too! And, the Key West Theater is such a fabulous venue, it was the perfect place for his show.
He sang most of my favorites, and ended on such a positive uplifting note - it was definitely one of my favorite shows of the festival. And, I learned something - if I ever see him again, sit in the middle of the room so I get a hug!
At that point I admit, instead of walking, we let Uber take us back over to the amphitheater, just in time for Tyler Childers. Tyler is a personal friend of some good friends of ours, Dave & Suzi Feder, so we definitely wanted to see him. The park was pretty crowded by that time, but we enjoyed him from the comfort of the media tent. There really isn’t a bad seat at the amphitheater! I enjoyed Tyler's cover of the old Jim Stafford song, “I Got Stoned and I Missed It.”
Trampled by Turtles closed out the night for us. They definitely won for most band members on stage! I've been kind of hit or miss on them in the past, but really enjoyed them closing the night. I was pleasantly surprised when they played my favorite, “Midnight on the Interstate.” Very nice way to end our two days of music and fun in Key West.
I did have a few disappointments - if not for work and other unforeseen circumstances, I really wish I had seen ShinyRibs, Todd Snider, The Mavericks and, of course, The Turnpike Troubadours. And, we really missed my girl, Elizabeth Cook, as the emcee this year. Hopefully next year for all of them! But, we had an amazing few days!
I’m ready for next year already! We heard so much good music in two days and had such a great time hanging in the media tent. Thank you Mile 0 Fest! We might have had a little too much fun playing with the flamingos there at the end, but - Blame it on the Rum!