Fest With the Best of ’Em

Northwoods Blues Festival, Rock Fest, and Eaux Claires are on deck. Are you ready?

Julia van Allen, Raquel Dorf, Joseph Lynch, photos by Luong Huynh

WEEKEND AFTER WEEKEND AFTER WEEKEND. Fun fact: Starting with Blue Ox back on June 14, there’s a big music festival around these parts every weekend for nine weeks straight.
WEEKEND AFTER WEEKEND AFTER WEEKEND. Fun fact: Starting with Blue Ox back on June 14, there’s a big music festival around these parts every weekend for nine weeks straight.

NORTHWOODS BLUES FESTIVAL

Northwoods Blues Festival • June 29-30 • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward Street, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729 • All general admission tickets, advance ordering available • All ages welcome, VIP is 21+ • Campsite reservations available with 2-day passes, campsites limited • northwoodsbluesfest.com • From June 29-30, Chippewa Falls will be filled with lovers of the blues. This is the second year that Chippewa Falls is hosting the Northwoods Blues Fest after it moved from Spooner. The festival will kick off Friday afternoon and end Saturday. The performers on the docket for Northwoods include Howard Luedtke & Blue Max, Albert Castiglia, Dylan Salfer, Sons of Legends, Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Coco Montoya, Joyann Parker, and many others. Each act will grace either the Main Stage or the Side Stage for approximately two hours of blues greatness. Food and beverage vendors will help keep the crowds happy, rain or shine. The blues will carry on! Keep in mind: if the sky does go dark, use a rain poncho! Umbrellas are prohibited, so check out campground rules. As camping is an integral part of the festival experience, the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds is fully equipped to satisfy any festival-goer’s needs. There are campsites with power and prime location, for those so inclined, but if camping isn’t your jam there are plenty of hotel accomodations in the area. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit northwoodsbluesfest.com. –Julia Van Allen

EAUX CLAIRES

Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival • July 6-7 • Foster Farms, 3443 Crescent Ave • Tickets $109-365 • Campsites/RV hookups available • www.eauxclaires.com On July 6 and 7, the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival will once again transform the woods on the west side into a unique place where music, art, and people collide. Curated by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National, Eaux Claires has been known to cultivate creativity and unpredictability, and its fourth year is already proving to be no exception. With only hints of possible performers given on several audio clips on the festival website as well as on Vernon’s twitter page, there is still an aura of mystery surrounding Eaux Claires IV. The festival organizers are trying to veer away from the conventional models that so many other music festivals use. There is risk involved of course, but if past Eaux Claires festivals are any indication, the fourth installation is likely to be another weekend full of memorable moments. Two years ago, Bon Iver played his entire 22, A Million album for the very first time in front of the Eaux Claires audience. Last year thunderclouds during the John Prine tribute concert gave way to a dazzling sunset and, later, to a starry sky above an electric performance by Chance The Rapper. It’s hard to fathom that Eaux Claires IV will not bring memories to rival these. Tier 5 tickets are still available, running from $109 for a one day pass to $199 for both days. The Chippewa tickets, which also include access to an special area with complimentary food and drinks, are $219 for a one day pass and $365 for both days. Campsites are also available for $165, or $300 for trailers and RV’s. –Joseph Lynch

ROCK FEST

25th Anniversary Rock Fest • 24447 County HWY S, Cadott • Tickets $89-$500 • www.rock-fest.comRock n’ roll fans from around the world will gather Thursday, July 12 through Saturday, July 14 for some head-banging, crowd-surfing, beer-drinking kind of fun at Rock Fest. The festival is the US’s largest rock music and camping event, and it’s located right in Cadott. This will be the 25th anniversary of the iconic festival, which has hosted legendary performers such as Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Fleetwood Mac and many more. This year, attendees will rock to featured headliners such as Disturbed, Incubus, and Godsmack, with many other performances throughout the weekend. While the music is enough to make for a great weekend, Rock Fest offers a wide variety of different experiences and exhibitions. Most notable will be the zombie crawl, where attendees dress up in their best zombie costumes for a chance to win a meet and greet and pit passes for the rest of the weekend. Other experiences include a tattoo parlor to get ink to commemorate the weekend, giant games, and a hammock haven with free massages. Rock Fest also offers helicopter rides and a chapel of love for attendees to get married or renew their vows. All that rocking will leave attendees hungry and thirsty, so thankfully there will be plenty of food vendors and bars at the event. Rock Fest is a place where rock music still matters; it’s a true rock experience that shouldn’t be missed. –Raquel Dorf

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