Return to The River: Why You Should Attend Eaux Claires Music Festival

Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival is poised for its return to the banks of the Chippewa river,  August 12th and 13th in scenic Eau Claire, WI. Yesterday, the day-by-day lineup was announced and today, daily tickets go on sale. With the burgeoning festival just a little more than a month away, we’re taking the time to explore some of the reasons you should attend this one of a kind music and art experience.

Photo provided by Eaux Claires Music Festival

Photo provided by Eaux Claires Music Festival

Careful and Creative Curation

Eaux Claires is first and foremost the “dream child” brought to fruition by Eau Claire, Wisconsin native Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National. As music makers as well as admirers, they have a deep rooted understanding of the tangible and experiential nature attendees crave from a festival experience, and that level of comprehension is clear not only in the immersive nature of the event, but also in smaller details like tokens shared with attendees.

In February, pre-sale ticket purchasers received a gift from the curators in the form of a thank you note and  two-hour cassette titled ‘Deux’. The mixtape contained b-sides and rarities from artists on the then, yet-to-be-released lineup, sparking excitement in fans who got to hear never before released songs for the first time. Last year, attendees received Field Journals as a keepsake, fashioned after Vernon was inspired to create a living memory for attendees mimicking the journals he had used while coordinating the event. 

Unpredictable and Unparalleled Lineup


Photo provided by Eaux Claires Music Festival

The 2016 lineup, as was the year before, is hand-selected by Vernon and Dessner. This year’s diverse offering boast Erykah Badu, James Blake, Beach House, Vince Staples, and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. The lineup also includes two performances you won’t be able to catch anywhere else: the first and only scheduled performance of Aaron and Bryce Dessner’s Grateful Dead tribute project, Day of The Dead, as well as a promised set of brand new music from Bon Iver‘s only U.S. performance booked this year.

Regional Repast and Refreshments

The festival recently announced an expanded food and drink lineup for its second year, adding to last year’s offerings with a special focus on more than 30 local and regional food and beverage vendors. Gourmet Food Carts from Madison, WI will be on site, as will all-star Food Trucks from the Twin Cities and nearly a dozen beer options, including Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Lagunitas and local Eau Claire brewery The Brewing Projekt. Most importantly, there will be a custom Eaux Claires Pale Ale available from renowned Danish brewer Mikkeller called ‘Eaux Henry! Eaux Sally!

Atmosphere and Ambiance


Photo provided by Eaux Claires Music Festival

The festival is held on the picturesque, 60-acre Foster Farm, where the grounds themselves have become a source of artistic discovery and spontaneity for festival curators as well as attendees. In addition to mixed media and interactive installations, festival attendees can expect alternative environments that refashion the boundaries between audience and artist with performances taking place across five stages as well as unexpected venues throughout the grounds. This year’s festival also expands its arts emphasis with more sculpture, fine arts, and literary elements. 

Single-Day general admission passes are on sale for $90, and a limited number of two-day general admission passes are still available for $169. All tickets are available for purchase at

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