Tips for Enjoying Appleton’s Mile of Music with Kids August 4-7, 2022

mile of music downtown appleton

There are so many reasons that we love living in the Fox Valley. Near the top of the list is the weekend-long music festival that spills into Downtown Appleton each August. Mile of Music brings outdoor stages of all sizes scattered throughout downtown, and music flows out of dozens of indoor venues. It is a fantastic opportunity to see some local musicians and many from across the country, all performing their original music—it is a cover song/band-free festival. It is all FREE (there are many ways to support the festival and musicians attending if you’re moved and able)! 

Tips for Mile of Music with Kids

Practice strategic parking – Parking downtown can be an adventure if you’re not familiar with the area. Street parking is limited to two to three hours and is metered. There’s an extra challenge this year with lots of construction happening around downtown. Use a ramp or park near a park or playground and take Valley Transit’s The Link or the Downtown Trolley on Thursday and Friday evenings or Saturday morning. The Link is just 50 cents to ride, and the trolley is free! Both travel by Tellulah, Mead, and Jaycee Parks.

Bring your water bottle and wear your sunscreen – Nothing cuts fun short like being thirsty and feeling a sunburn creeping in. If you have insulated bottles, choose those; the forecast is showing temperatures in the upper 80s into the 90s for the weekend!

Strollers might be a little tricky for navigating streets and venues. Consider a sling or other baby carrier for your littlest family members for the day if you plan to visit multiple spots. 

Pack snacks – Restaurants, coffee shops, and food trucks are all around but having a supply of favorite snacks is one of our favorite tricks for any long family adventure!

Make a plan –  The festival’s app and map make it easy. You can add favorite artists to a list, see complete schedules for venues or artists, and even easily build out your own schedule. Having even just a rough plan with kids along can make it easier to plan for food, bathroom breaks, and stops for playing or cooling off.

Bring or pick up ear protection – Even some of the outdoor venues can get a little loud—protect everyone’s ears. You’ll often find a little bowl of earplugs at merch tables, but as the weekend wears on, they become a little scarce.

Music Education in The Grove Photo Credit: Mile of Music

GVK Picks for Best Venues for Listening with Kids

Jones Park – This is the main stage, so you’re likely to catch great bands, and there is plenty of space to put down a blanket or set up chairs. There are easy bathrooms and a fun playground.

Hilton Paper Valley Courtyard – You’ll want ear protection here, but we’ve found this to be a great spot for listening to music with kids of all ages and especially bigger kids. There’s often somewhere to find a spot to sit and a little shade to be had. Bonus: bathrooms here are open for use!

Red Lion Paper Valley Courtyard | Photo Credit: Mile of Music

Houdini Plaza – Depending on the time of day, this spot can be really busy. But, it is centrally located, has portable restrooms on-site, and is right across from the Building for Kids. 

Houdini Plaza at Night Photo Credit: Mile of Music

All Ages Venues & Location Notes

  • Hilton Paper Valley – Mulitple Stages: 333 W College Avenue
    • The Bose Listening Lounge
    • Ballroom Main Stage
    • Courtyard – outdoors
    • To Note: There is limited shade to the left of the stage during the afternoon.
    • Venue Perks: ATMs inside, bathroom options, water, and coffee available for purchase in the lobby
  • Copper Rock Coffee Company:  210 W College Avenue
    • To Note: Smaller seating area; arrive a little early if you want seats!
    • Venue Perks: Coffee, gelato, and cookies available
  • Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Multiple Stages: 400 W College Avenue
    • Atrium
    • Thrivent Financial Hall
    • Venue Perks: Lots of bathrooms!
  • Lawrence University – Multiple Stages: 711 E John Street
    • Harper Hall
    • Conservatory Green – outdoors, many music education workshops
    • Lawn – Outdoor Main Stage
    • Memorial Chapel
    • Venue Perks: Lots of space on the Lawn and near the music education workshops.
  • Heid Music: 308 E College Avenue
    • To Note: Music Education Workshops on Friday and Saturday start around 10:30 am.
  • Houdini Plaza: Corner of Appleton Street and College Avenue
    • Outdoor main stage location
    • Venue Perks: Lots of porta-potties nearby, central location, across from Building for Kids. Outlets throughout space for charging phones.
  • Jones Park: 301 W Lawrence Street
    • Outdoor Main Stage
    • Note: Accessible from Oneida Street, Elm Street, 8th Street, and West Water Street in addition to Lawrence Street. Near Red Ramp for easy parking. Good spot if you want to bring chairs or blankets.
    • Venue Perks: Fun playground. Easy bathroom access.
  • McFleshman’s Brewing Company: 115 South State Street
    • Outdoors
    • Venue Perks: On the trolley route, usually a food truck is parked right outside, and tables and chairs inside the listening area.
  • McGuinness Irish Pub: 201 South Walnut Street
    • Note: Indoor Venue
  • River Tyme Bistro: 425 West Water Street
    • Note: Indoor Venue
    • Venue Perks: Parking in lots surrounding may be available. On the trolley route. Food on site with limited event menu.
  • Riverview Gardens: 1101 South Oneida Street
    • Note: Indoor venue, only performance Friday at 1 pm is part of Decoda Chamber Music Festival also.
    • Venue Perks: Indoor bathrooms, parking lot.
  • Stone Arch Brew Pub: 1004 South Olde Oneida Street
    • Outdoor
    • Venue Perks: Adjacent parking lot. Usually have Stone Arch sodas on tap! Across the street from Newberry Trail.

Music Education Schedule

There are fantastic opportunities for all ages throughout the weekend to attend workshops with the Music Education Team. These provide great opportunities for hands-on, interactive, and engaging fun with music. 

Music Education in Houdini Plaza | Photo Credit: Brighter Side Studio

Friday, August 5, 2022

  • 10 – 10:30 am: Stories that Sing (ages 0-10) @ The Grove
  • 10 – 11:20 am: Ukulele! @ Heid Music
  • 10:50 – 11:20 am: Musical Patterns (ages 0-10) @ The Grove
  • 11 am – 12:00 pm: Ghanaian Drumming & Dance @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Thrivent Hall
  • 11:30 – 12:20 pm: Instrument Building @ Heid Music
  • 12:20 – 1:20 pm: Indian Dance Workshop: Bharatanatyam @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Thrivent Hall
  • 12:50-1:40 pm: Hip-Hop Workshop with Sonu @ Heid Music
  • 1:40 – 2:40 pm: Los ritmos de Mariachi / The Rhythms of Mariachi @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Thrivent Hall
  • 2 – 2:50 pm: Collaborative SongMaking with B. Lilly @ Heid Music
  • 2:40 – 3:30 pm: Ghanaian Drumming & Dance @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green
  • 3:10-4:00 pm: Acoustic Guitar Workshop @ Heid Music
  • 3:50 – 4:40 pm: Balinese Gamelan: Gongs, Drums, and Metallophones @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green
  • 4:20-5:10 pm: String Band Jam (Intermediate/Advanced) @ Heid Music
  • 4:50 – 5:40 pm: Indonesian Angklung: Bamboo Rattle Ensemble @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green

Saturday, August 6, 2022

  • 10 – 10:30 am: Stories That Sing (ages 0-10) @ Jones Park Tent
  • 10 – 10:50 am: Music as Self-Care: Creative Acoustics @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – 3rd Floor Atrium
  • 10:40 – 11:30 am: Collaborative SongMaking with B. Lilly @ Heid Music
  • 10:40 – 11:10 am: Animal Improv (ages 0-10) @ Jones Park Tent
  • 11 am – 12 pm:  Los ritmos de Mariachi / The Rhythms of Mariachi @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Thrivent Hall
  • 11:20 – 11:50 am: Make Some Noise! (ages 3-10) @ Jones Park Tent
  • 11:40 am – 12:30 pm: Ukulele! @ Heid Music
  • 12:20 – 1:20 pm: Ghanaian Drumming & Dancing @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Thrivent Hall
  • 1 – 1:50 pm: Hip-Hop Workshop with Sonu @ Heid Music
  • 1:30 – 2:20 pm: Creating Our Vision of the Rhythm: Inclusive Drum Circle WA: Sara Devine & Expressive Therapies @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green
  • 1:40 – 2:40 pm: Indian Dance Workshop: Bharatanatyam @ Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Thrivent Hall
  • 2:30 – 3:20 pm: Songwriting with Wade Fernandez @ Heid Music
  • 3:30 – 4:10 pm: Afro-Cuban Drumming & Dance @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green
  • 4:20 – 5:10 pm: Folk Jam @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green
  • 5:20 – 6 pm: Brazilian Samba Drumming (ages 10+) @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green

Sunday, August 7, 2022

  • 11 – 11:50 am: Balinese Gamelan: Gongs, Drums, and Metallophones @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green
  • 12:50 – 1:40 pm: Uke Jam (Intermediate/Advanced) @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green
  • 2:30 – 3:10 pm: Ghanaian Drumming & Dancing @ Lawrence University Conservatory Green

Are you planning to spend some time at Mile of Music this weekend? We hope you have an amazing time and please let us know any tips or tricks that you find for having a relaxing and fun time with your kids at this fun festival.

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