Want to get 2024 off to a memorable start? Then plan to savor sunshine and stellar talents at three star-studded Key West music festivals being held in January and early February.
The Red Clay Strays are on their way to Key West to perform at Mile 0 Fest. (Photo courtesy of Mile 0 Fest)
There’s something to spark your interest no matter what your musical tastes are, because the festivals feature current and classic icons of the hard rock, Red Dirt/Americana and country/pop genres — all performing outdoors in the island’s typically balmy “winter” weather.
Headquartered at the popular Coffee Butler Amphitheater in Truman Waterfront Park, the multiday musical showcases are the Jan. 17-20 RokIsland Fest, the Jan. 23-27 Mile 0 Fest and the Key Western Fest set for Jan. 30 through Feb. 3.
The setting is good news for spectators because, unlike large-scale arena venues, the amphitheater offers an atmosphere of intimacy and camaraderie that enhances the listening experience.
Amphitheater shows generally begin about 5 p.m. each day and continue until 11 p.m. or midnight.
(Insiders’ tip: In January, Key West’s sunsets take place shortly after 6 p.m., and the event grounds offer a great view of the sun sinking beneath the horizon.)
RokIsland Fest kicks off the trio of festivals with adrenaline-fueled performances by alternative and hard rock superstars.
Headliners include Bret Michaels (yes, really!), Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame, the Stone Temple Pilots, Night Ranger, Jefferson Starship, Lou Gramm of Foreigner and Tom Keifer of Cinderella among many others.
Key West’s Coffee Butler Amphitheater is the setting for all three music festivals. (Photo by Patrick Tewey)
Hosted by renowned radio and television personality Eddie Trunk, RokIsland is designed to enthrall both young contemporary audiences and those whose musical tastes were formed in rock’s glory days. It’s a don’t-miss sensation.
The January calendar continues with the Mile 0 Fest, featuring artists and groups that embrace the Red Dirt and Americana musical styles blending elements of rock, country and roots traditions.
Wondering how the festival got its unusual name? It refers to Key West’s location at the beginning of U.S. Highway 1 — at mile marker 0.
Leading the talent roster are genre standouts including the Randy Rogers Band, Morgan Wade, William Clark Green, Shane Smith & The Saints, Wade Bowen, the Red Clay Strays, American Aquarium, the Band of Heathens, Jack Ingram, Django Walker and others.
The final event in the trio is Key Western Fest, this year starring some of the female performers who have helped define modern country music — all demonstrating the talent, spirit and sass that powered their success in the once male-dominated genre.
Country superstar Wynonna Judd and other female hitmakers star in Key Western Fest.
You can anticipate high-energy shows by artists Wynonna Judd, Tanya Tucker, Jo Dee Messina, Lee Ann Womack, Sara Evans, Terri Clark, Deana Carter, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss and many more. It’s a world-class “reunion” for celebrated sisters of song.
FYI, during all three festivals’ amphitheater shows, you can purchase offerings from local food trucks, mobile bars and other vendors.
As wonderful as they’ll be, however, the amphitheater shows aren’t the only festival attractions.
Also to be enjoyed are acoustic sessions and intimate sets at bars, resorts and theaters around Key West — plus the historic sites, eco-tours, great restaurants, on-the-water activities and warm weather that characterize the subtropical island.
If you’re interested in attending one or more of these fantastic events, book NOW — because the top packages are already sold out. Current admission options include multiday and single-day passes, with each allowing entrance into festival venues and various perks depending on pass level.
So make plans for your musical getaway and begin 2024 by experiencing unparalleled sounds, unbeatable weather … and unforgettable Key West.