Mile of Music begins

Musician Ida Jo performs at Harmony Cafe in Appleton during the Mile of Music festival, Aug. 7, 2014. (WLUK/Andrew LaCombe)

APPLETON - For the next four days, downtown Appleton will not be quiet.

This is the second year for Mile of Music, which includes more than 620 performances. The event uses 60 different venues, and there are more than 220 acts - twice as many as last year.

"I love it here, and I love the artists that we have from here, and I love bringing people from around the country here," said Cory Chisel, a performer and co-organizer of the festival.

Chisel said about half of the performers are from Wisconsin, and everyone plays music they wrote.

"It's mostly American musics, folk, soul, blues, punk rock, rock and roll," he said.

Most shows are free, and many are open to all ages. Performances are in coffee shops, bars, parks and on wheels.

This is the second year Valley Transit is offering a free band wagon in the afternoon and evening. Debra Jones of Black Creek said her family had a special interest in the bus performance, which featured a guitarist.

"My husband said let's do this today," said Jones. "He's starting to learn how to play guitar. Our granddaughter has played guitar for a year now, and we just thought it would be fun to do."

One new venue for the event this year is an old garage at 620 W. Lawrence St. The space will be used for more than music.

"We're filling it with 27 local artists and all original pieces of artwork and all different mediums," said John Adams, the gallery's curator.

For those looking to learn more about playing music, there's also a full schedule of educational opportunities.

"There's really no reason to not come," said Chisel. "We're not trying to bang you over the head to take your money or anything. You just walk from one place - you don't like the band that's there, you walk to the next place."

There's a lot on the schedule for the festival that runs through Sunday, but there is an app available for iPhone users. Search for "Mile of Music" in the app store.