Mile of Music Festival Receives Collaboration Award, Continues Successful Run with Help from Community

Share Article

Coming off of its successful return in August, the Mile of Music festival in Appleton, Wisconsin, was recently honored with the 2015 Collaboration in Action Award from Lawrence University. Through this community partnership and others like it, the music festival has continued to thrive since its debut in 2013.

Mile of Music 2015

Thousands of visitors came to Downtown Appleton to attend Mile of Music in 2015 (Photo by Graham Images and Photography)

From in-kind sponsors to cash sponsors, our supporters realize that it’s not all about a dollar-for-dollar return, but a bigger investment in our community.

After marking another successful year with its four-day run in Northeast Wisconsin this summer, the Mile of Music festival recently received the 2015 Collaboration in Action Award from Lawrence University.

The award honors an individual or organization that has worked in partnership with the University to provide “exemplary service to the Fox Cities community through strategic vision, leadership influence, long-standing commitment and enthusiasm, financial contributions and/or volunteerism.”

According to Dave Willems, marketing executive and festival co-founder, collaborations like this one have been integral in shaping and strengthening the festival since it first began in 2013. “Mile of Music is truly a community effort,” he explained. “Lawrence University embraced the vision we had and has been one of our biggest supporters since signing on to coordinate the festival’s Music Education series the first year.”

Along with this learning-focused partnership that has resulted in hands-on workshops and exploratory activities for Mile of Music festival-goers, many other community sponsors have stepped up to make the music happen in the last three years. This support has also allowed the event to be offered to attendees at no charge – something that is rare these days with so many high-priced music festivals being held across the nation.

“It’s all hands on deck when you’re planning an event of this size,” Willems said. “We’ve been very fortunate with the number of community partners who have come to the table and immediately understood the rationale behind sponsorship. From in-kind sponsors to cash sponsors, our supporters realize that it’s not all about a dollar-for-dollar return, but a bigger investment in our community.”

For 2015, Tundraland served as Mile of Music’s Presenting Partner as the festival welcomed 200 artists and featured 800 live performances in Downtown Appleton. Along with several general sponsors, specific sponsorship categories were outlined to include Visitor, Lead Media and Official Product partners.

Mile of Music also recruited a number of Venue and Lodging sponsors, with shows held at 60 different locations along the festival’s one-mile stretch. Other individuals and companies offered support via “First Milers,” “Friends” and “Adopt-an-Artist” sponsorships.

“I’ve been asked if other mid-sized and smaller cities can pull off something like Mile of Music and I think it all boils down to how much support you have from the community,” Willems said. “If your community is behind an effort like this and the partnerships are there, exciting things can happen.”

About Mile of Music
The Mile of Music is an artisan, original music festival that kicked off in August 2013. In its first three years, the festival has quickly flourished. It brought 200 bands and solo artists to Downtown Appleton in 2015 alone, with 800 live music sets performed. The collaborative event was co-founded by Appleton marketing executive Dave Willems and Nashville-based national recording artist Cory Chisel, with support from nearly 100 community organizations and sponsors as well as 300 volunteers. For more information, visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Dave Willems
Willems Marketing & Events
+1 920.750.5013
Email >

Kathy Voigt
Mile of Music
Email >