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  • Brad Coolidge

Mile 0 Fest 2021

A photo review of a week in paradise showcasing some of the best artists in the Texas/Red Dirt, Country, and Americana genres.

The 2021 installment of Mile 0 Fest could have easily been canceled like many other festivals of 2020 and this year. As we are all painfully aware, the pandemic has put many tours and music festivals on hold indefinitely, but somehow the folks at Oh Wook! Productions managed to pull a rabbit out of their hat and keep the streak alive for a fourth year. There were some changes for sure, like the festival being pushed from January to late April, reduced capacity, and several acts including one of the big headliners canceling. There were also, of course, the standard CDC precautions put in place due to COVID, but those didn’t seem to interfere with what turned out to be the best medicine of all…. live music. Once festival goers were down in the warm Key West sun enjoying the crystal-clear waters and some great music, nothing else seemed to matter. To many who have made it down to Key West almost every year, it feels like home away from home, or like a family reunion; a time to meet up with music family who they haven’t seen since last year and hang out. The pandemic wasn’t about to keep them away from family.

This was my fourth year covering Mile 0 Fest as a photographer, and as with previous years I felt like I was in the trenches for most of it, only coming up for the occasional breath between sets, but in the end, I came away amazed (and sunburned) at what Mile 0 Fest was when compared to other music festivals. Especially after more than a year of live music being on hiatus. The relationship (and access) between fans and artists is unlike any other I’ve witnessed. Even the relationship between artists themselves is unlike any I’ve seen. I didn’t think it was possible after last year, but this year’s fest saw the most on-stage collaborations I’ve think I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just Jamie Lin Wilson showing up everywhere (which she did, of course), but many others like Mike & The Moonpies, Cody Canada, Courtney Patton, Shane Boeker (who I think is the official Mile 0 Fest band guitarist), and Copper Chief, to name just a few, all did their best to show up just about everywhere you turned. The cherry on top in that regard, was the late night show of “Duets” that featured a varied assortment of artists (too many to list) singing covers of some of their favorite hits. It was what we all needed after a year-long hiatus of live music.

Below you’ll find a gallery of photos taken during the five-day festival. Hopefully they’ll help you relive your week in Key West (or see what you missed!). Don’t forget to mark your calendars and pull the trigger early for 2022, as I’m sure Mile 0 Fest packages will sell out fast!

The official dates and lineup will be announced later this summer on!