Mile 0 Fest was one of the few country music festivals to happen in 2020, and it was one of the first to return in 2021. Dozens of artists headed to Key West, Fla., for the April 27-May 1 event.
Mile 0 usually runs in late January — in 2020, it ended on Feb. 1, about six weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold in the United States — but for 2021, festival organizers pushed the event back about three months. They also capped attendance at 75 percent capacity — about 3,000 fans, per Rolling Stone — axed after-hours sets and encouraged fans to wear masks and distance from other groups.
Though several artists canceled their sets — for example, Lucinda Williams due to a 2020 stroke and Shovels & Rope due to a COVID-19 diagnosis within their camp – fans could catch sets from, among others, Blackberry Smoke, Randy Rogers Band, Jaime Wyatt, Pat Green, Morgan Wade, Cody Canada & the Departed, the Band of Heathens and more. The festival uses about a dozen Key West venues, including the Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, Sunset Pier and the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon.
“After a year of playing songs into a camera on the computer screen, it felt really good to get back on a stage in front of other human beings. Nothing can beat the exchange of energy between an audience and a performer,” American Aquarium leader BJ Barham shared with RS. “It was overwhelming in the best possible way. Emotional even. We’re not out of the woods yet, but it feels pretty good to see that light at the end of the tunnel finally peeking through.”
Mile 0 Fest focuses on the Red Dirt, Texas-bred and rock-leaning areas of the country music genre. The 2021 festival was the fourth annual event. Learn more at Mile0Fest.com, and keep reading to see photos from this year’s festival:
All of the Country Music Festivals Scheduled for 2021: