Wednesday, Feb. 17th, 2016

Taste of the Valley to Return This Summer

Taste of the Valley at the Downtown Eau Claire Farmers Market.
Taste of the Valley at the Downtown Eau Claire Farmers Market.

Looks like Taste of the Valley is set to return this summer. From the fest's website ....

On Sunday, June 5th, Phoenix Park will be transformed into a festival grounds celebrating the culinary arts. Festgoers will be treated to local musical entertainment throughout the day and the kiddos have plenty to do as well. Families can spend the day at the park trying out as many great tastes as possible. We are hoping you will join us for this community event.

Started in 2007, the annual event which draws together local food vendors took last year off, but now its website is updated, and its new logo features Eau Claire company (and sponsor) PESI. The festival will run from 11am to 5pm on June 5 in the Downtown Eau Claire Farmers Market, with food tickets costing $1 apiece. 

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5 Numbers Exposing Eau Claire's Recent Development

A closer look at 2015 development statistics published recently by the City of Eau Claire’s Community Development Department.

1. $155 Million

Total value of building permits issued in Eau Claire in 2015, the fourth-largest total on record.

2. 98.1%

Increase in the value of building permits issued in 2015 compared with those issued in 2014.

3. $87.5 Million

Total value of commercial construction in the city in 2015, more than double the $30.7 million in 2014.

4. $30 Million

The value of the permit for the Haymarket Landing, the city’s largest single project in 2015.

5. 242

Total number of residential units for which permits were issued in 2015, up from 123 units in 2014.

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Friday, Feb. 12th, 2016

Wisconsin’s Most Popular Valentine's Day Gift by Google Search

Check out this map made by Estately (via Mental Floss) – it uses Google Trends to show “what presents Americans are considering for their special someone by running hundreds of possible gift-related searches.” Not the most accurate assessment of each state’s romantic gift giving preferences, but it kind of shows which places are the cheapskates, which ones are the true love birds, and which states are into something more ... interesting.

Common themes speckled around America are the usual flowers, chocolates, and jewelry. However, Wisconsin seems to go all in and won’t settle for anything less than fancy “fur coats. We’re talking coats that can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, people. I guess that’s the price to pay when you need to stay warm during those long winter nights finding love betwixt the cabins up north.

Maybe we should learn from Pennsylvania and look at some cheaper clothing – like edible underwear. Other states that take a more budget-friendly route are Arizona with eCards and Utah with classic conversation hearts. There truly is no better medium to display a declaration of love than on compressed sugar.

Other states opt for romantic bonding experiences like people from Michigan taking ballroom dancing lessons, Massachusetts having the most couple cooking classes, and Iowa’s obsession with tandem bikes.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter what they got you. As long as you share your love with your significant other using open communication, those couple’s yoga classes and new bear rugs are just icing on the red velvet cake.

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Thursday, Feb. 11th, 2016

Return to the River: Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, James Blake, Vince Staples Head up 2016 Eaux Claires Lineup

After last year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival – with its “22,000 beating hearts,” its raucous overnight thunderstorms, its Sufjan Stevens choke-ups, its grand displays of collaboration, its jaw-dropping lineup of artists of all kinds sharing the same patch of riverside grass – you might wonder how one follows up something magical like that.

The way you do that – to this writer – is with a sophomore year lineup that is, in a way, even more unpredictable, even more collaborative. You do that with a lineup that scatters plots all over the spectrum of genre, foregoing it completely. You bring back some artists we loved last year, you throw us new ones to drool over, ones we need to Google. And then you bring it all to our doorstep, along the banks of our Chippewa River for us to enjoy among friends and family.

And that’s pretty much what festival organizers Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Aaron Dessner (The National), and creative director/Chippewa Valley resident Michael Brown are doing. You can’t just get named one of the “Top 10 Festivals in North America” by folks like Consequence of Sound for nothin’ – and a lineup that includes the likes of Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, James Blake, Beach House, Vince Staples, and Bruce effin’ Hornsby surely ain’t nothin’.

The lineup comes via a wintry video (below) with plenty of gorgeous drone footage of the icy Chippewa River and the booming voice of Chippewa Valley author and Eaux Claires narrator Michael Perry saying, "Even in this, the dramatic monochromatic, you can feel the color of sound, hear the listening ears, know one day the earth will unfreeze its frozen fist, let slip life again."

General admission tickets go on sale on Friday February 12 at 10am CST on Knowing that, take a look at the lineup for yourself:

WATCH: Eaux Claires Announcement 2016

"Togetherness and Expression"

“Our mission for Eaux Claires is to create a deeply meaningful experience of togetherness and expression. We feel like everyone, whether interested in the fashion of popularized music or not, will be entertained, moved, and surprised by our festival,” Vernon said. “The inaugural edition proved that Eaux Claires can inspire and generate power beyond just the big names. We believe that every single artist will bring an equal amount of importance and uniqueness to the culture we've created. We're excited to grow in that spirit and push ourselves forward every year, to grow with our audience and celebrate art in all of its forms.”

Honestly, this is a lot to digest. But it looks like they’ve got the genres of rock, hip hop, dance, blues, country, R&B, folk, metal, chillwave, classical, glam, and soul covered.

Bruce Hornsby and his band The Noisemakers are going to perform Hornsby’s legendary album The Way It Is in full, and an all-star cast of musicians going by Day Of The Dead will resurrect some classic Grateful Dead tunes in their first and only scheduled performance.

Bon Iver at Eaux Claires 2015, photo by Lee Butterworth
Bon Iver at Eaux Claires 2015, photo by Lee Butterworth

Eau Claire’s own Sloslylove, a prolific synthwave producer, is featured here as well as Eau Claire comedian Jacy Catlin – notable for his absurd and uproarious internet presence.

This will be UK producer James Blake’s only North American show currently scheduled in 2016, while Chippewa Valley native Phil Cook returns to present his “Southland Revue,” a special performance of the classic American songbook with Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso), Vernon himself, and more.

The Midwest is certainly greatly represented here again, too, by the likes of legendary Chicago soul singer Mavis Staples, as well as by Wisconsin punk rockers Tenement, and by the off-the-wall theatrical and sexual glamor of Twin Cities-based acts Har Mar Superstar and Tickle Torture.

Tons of international musicians are included in this lineup too, like Irish singer Lisa Hannigan, Japanese electronic-pop group Cornelius, Indonesian artists Senyawa in a rare North American performance, and Native American Ojibwe drummers/dancers Midnite Express.

Eaux Claires 2015, photo by Lee Butterworth
Eaux Claires 2015, photo by Lee Butterworth

In other news, the festival has responded to criticisms about the first year’s food service with specialty food vendors, better organization, new food choices, catered meals, and tons of beers options (like Leinie’s, Lagunitas, some homegrown suds courtesy of Eau Claire brewery The Brewing Projekt, and a custom Eaux Claires beer by Danish brewer Mikkeller). They’ve also relocated and doubled the size of campgrounds this year, with a shuttle going back and forth to the festival mere minutes away.

Again, two-day general admission ($169) and two-day enhanced Chippewa passes ($300 and includes catered meals each day and complimentary premium beer) go on sale tomorrow, Friday Feb. 12, at 10am CST at So be on top of it, and snap ’em up!

All in all, year two is shaping up to be more than capable of living up to the bar set by its inaugural year, and it should, in fact, surpass it. We’ll be on top of any developments and news about the festival in the coming months – namely we’re hotly anticipating details on the audio, visual, and performance art aspects of the festival, curated by creative director Michael Brown.

But for now, relish in the 2016 lineup, start building your must-see lists, and we’ll join you there … again.

Eaux Claires 2016 – Full Lineup

Alpha Consumer
Andrew Fitzpatrick
Beach House
Bon Iver
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers performing “The Way It Is”
Buke and Gase
Cornelius performing "Fantasma"
Day Of The Dead
eighth blackbird with Bryce Dessner and Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Erykah Badu
Francis and The Lights
Har Mar Superstar
Jacy Catlin
James Blake
Jenny Lewis
Jon Hopkins
Jon Mueller
Kill The Vultures
Lisa Hannigan and Aaron Dessner
Little Scream
Mavis Staples
Midnite Express
My Brightest Diamond
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Phil Cook's "Southland Revue"
Prinze George
Richard Reed Parry/ Quiet River of Dust
Sam Amidon
Sarah Neufeld
Shabazz Palaces
So Percussion
Taggart & Rosewood
The Staves and yMusic
Tickle Torture
Thomas Wincek
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Vince Staples
William Tyler

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5 Quotes From Justin Vernon's Billboard Q&A

Justin Vernon and Bon Iver close out Eaux Claires 2015
Justin Vernon and Bon Iver close out Eaux Claires 2015

On the same day organizers released the lineup for Eaux Claires 2016, Billboard ran an interview with fest co-curator, Bon Iver frontman, and Chippewa Valley native Justin Vernon. He said a lot of stuff, but here are five of the more interesting takeaways ...

1. On last year’s inaugural festival ...

"If we learned something positive it's that we're on the right path. We're doing the thing that we set out to do, which is to make a unique experience. And I think that unique experience has so much to do with who we're asking to come. It's not just good musicians, it's musicians that are willing to step over the normal bounds of playing a festival."

2. On his Eaux Claires 2016 goals ...

"In year two, it's about taking what we learned that was all positive and fixing a few of the other things and just trying to graduate. To keep graduating every year."

3. On new Bon Iver music ...

"I’m no longer winding down. I’m not exactly sure where I am with it. I’ve been winding down for a number of years for numerous reasons. For exhaustion, exposure. It’s never died or anything to me ..."

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Wednesday, Feb. 10th, 2016

New Details on The Lismore’s Food and Drink Offerings

Renderings provided by The Lismore
Renderings provided by The Lismore

In case you hadn’t heard, three new restaurant and bar venues will be opening this spring – part of downtown’s new hotel project, The Lismore. The venues have been named and the menus are in development:

➜ “The Informalist” is the 120+ seat restaurant (covered last year)
➜ “Eau Claire Downtown Coffee” is a coffee shop/fireplace lounge
➜ The “Dive” bar will replacing an old swimming pool on the 2nd floor

Leading all food and beverage operations for the hotel is Terry Vajgrt, a 30-year restaurant veteran and the former owner of near-legendary Downsville eatery The Creamery.

“Recruiting and developing a superior, like-minded team that places the guest experience at the forefront is my primary goal,” Vajgrt said in a press release. “I’m extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to build together, grow and lead this extraordinary team.”

Leading the culinary team are Co-Executive Chefs Bradley Dean Parent and Luke Bilda. Dean has “a lifetime in food” starting with his family farm, Alchemy Family Farm, where heirloom vegetables are grown. His career in fine dining “encompasses varied styles from across the country and the word.”

“Providing delicious, wonderful, wholesome and exciting cuisine in a beautiful setting is to truly enjoy one of the best things in life: life sustaining sustenance,” Dean said. Dean has lived and worked around the world, heading up mumerous fine restaurants, and he’s worked with some of the finest chefs in the country.

“Sharing my love of food and passion for flavor with the city where I grew up, and consider home, is beyond exciting.” – Informalist Co-Executive Chef Luke Bilda

Bilda “knows nothing but food” and has spent his life practicing his passion. Culinary school-trained and having interned on the north coast of France, he is thrilled to be part of the resurgence of downtown Eau Claire.

“Sharing my love of food and passion for flavor with the city where I grew up, and consider home, is beyond exciting,” Bilda said.

The property’s Beverage Manager is Sean Murphy. A Chippewa Falls native, Murphy has been in the industry for over 26 years.

“The energy and beauty of this new property demands an exciting, fresh cocktail menu and I am proud to be part of the team introducing this to downtown,” Murphy said in a press release. “Along with a stellar wine list and great craft beers, I look forward to pleasing our guests drink palette.”

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Tuesday, Feb. 9th, 2016

Confluence Project: Detailed Plans Finally Revealed

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE. The partners involved in the Confluence Project have unveiled this new rendering of the proposed arts center, created by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Strang Architects. Click for a closer look!
DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE. The partners involved in the Confluence Project have unveiled this new rendering of the proposed arts center, created by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Strang Architects. Click for a closer look!

Ground won’t be broken on the Confluence Center until late summer or early fall, but you can already get a good look at what downtown Eau Claire’s performing arts center will look like. Nearly four years after the project was first announced, the partners behind it unveiled new, more complete architectural renderings of the four-story, 130,000-square-foot riverside building at a Feb. 9 press conference at the State Theatre.

“It’s exciting. It’s been fun to see it all come together from ideas to blocks on paper to actual blueprint-type ideas.” – Ben Richgruber, executive director, Eau Claire Regional Arts Council

While superficially similar to the original conceptual drawings, the new renderings provide a sharper look at the $45 million university-community facility and how it will fit into its surroundings. From the edge of a public plaza at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers, multi-paned windows will soar 40 feet, while the highest part of the structure will be 86 feet above the ground. Like the nearby river, the building will undulate with a series of curved bump-outs on upper floors. These areas will be clad in copper, which will take on a blue-green patina with age. The rest of the building’s exterior will be green-flecked black stone, providing a contrast to the light provided by the massive windows. While the building will have four functional levels, it will also have 11 different roof elevations, giving it a multi-leveled appearance.

“As I got a sneak preview of the pictures yesterday, my heart just sang,” UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt said during the the press conference.

The arts center was designed by Strang Architects of Madison and Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture of New York, with Malcolm Holzman as the lead designer. The building will occupy roughly a block along Graham Avenue in downtown Eau Claire, just east of the Chippewa River and south of Haymarket Landing, a privately funded mixed-use building that will feature student-oriented apartments and commercial space.

“It’s exciting,” Ben Richgruber, executive director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, said of the unveiling of the designs. “It’s been fun to see it all come together from ideas to blocks on paper to actual blueprint-type ideas.”

Two Theaters and More

ECRAC, which currently operates the State Theatre in downtown Eau Claire, is part of the new arts center’s governing body, the Confluence Council. The council also includes representatives of UW-Eau Claire, the city, and other groups. These stakeholders worked together throughout the design process to create an efficient floor plan that features shared workspaces and rehearsal areas, Richgruber said.

The yearlong design process fleshed out details of the facility, inside and out. While the Confluence center was originally conceived as having three theaters – one with 1,200 seats, another with 450 seats, and a third flexible “black box” theater seating 250 – the architectural design now includes only two theaters, plus three additional rehearsal areas that could be used as performance spaces. “Each (theater) will have its own identity and own personality,” Richgruber said.

Mike Rindo, UWEC’s assistant chancellor for facilities, said the new plans are more flexible and less duplicative than the initial three-theater idea. While the original plans called for the two larger theaters to be traditional in nature – with prosceniums, curtains, and permanent seating – that will now only apply to the largest theater, which will seat 1,200 and will have a standing-room capacity of 1,500. The large theater, whose stage will be twice as large as the one at the State Theatre, will also have a balcony, box seats, and a permanent shell above the stage that will allow it to function as a concert hall. The theater’s orchestra pit will be the only part of the facility that will be below the flood plain, and as such has been designed to be waterproof.

The smaller theater, meanwhile, will seat 400 to 425 and will be highly adaptable, allowing for productions to be performed on a thrust stage or in the round. “It’s a very ambitious theater with a very ambitious approach to the space,” said Kimera Way, executive director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, another partner in the project.

In addition to the two main theaters, the so-called Clear Water Hall – which will jut out from the third floor over the plaza below – will be rigged for lights, allowing it to be used as a performance space as well as for rehearsals.

This is how the Confluence Arts Center would appear from the nearby Haymarket Landing, looking south through the public plaza between the buildings. Click for a closer look!
This is how the Confluence Arts Center would appear from the nearby Haymarket Landing, looking south through the public plaza between the buildings. Click for a closer look!

Looking Inside the Art Center

The arts center’s first floor will be devoted to the two large theaters; a spacious lobby with ceilings that soar up three levels; an art gallery and a music rehearsal space, both of which have two-story ceilings; a scene shop; a street-level loading dock that can accommodate two semi trucks; and a Visit Eau Claire visitors center on the southeast corner of the building, next to the intersection of Graham Avenue and Gibson Street. The two large theaters will share spacious dressing rooms and a green room, while an additional green room and a separate pair of dressing rooms overlooking the river will be reserved for visiting stars. These special accommodations for top artists, coupled with the aesthetics of the large theater, will hopefully make Eau Claire a memorable destination for touring performers, Richgruber explained.

The second floor will be largely devoted to offices for Visit Eau Claire, ECRAC, and other arts organizations, as well as costume storage and educational space such as a computer lab, a design studio, and a makeup room. Finally, the third floor will feature the flexible Clear Water Hall, additional rehearsal rooms, and a recording studio that will bolster UWEC’s music program.

As the designs – and budget – for the project evolved over the past year, a number of other changes were made. A slimmer budget means that space for the university’s fine arts program won’t be included in the Confluence Center; Rindo said the art program’s needs will be addressed in future renovation plans for Haas Fine Arts Center on Water Street. Meanwhile, there will be more space in the Confluence Center for art education for both K-12 students and community.

What's Inside? To Sum Up ...

• 130,000 square feet of space
• 1,200-seat main theater
• 400-425-seat secondary theater
• Rehearsal space that can be used as a black-box theater
• Visit Eau Claire visitors center
• Art gallery
• Recording studio
• Offices for Visit Eau Claire, Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, and other arts groups
• Loading dock that can accommodate two semi trucks
• Music rehearsal rooms
• Classrooms
• Scene shop

Budgets Adjusted

In addition to new designs, the arts center also has a new price tag: $45 million. That’s less than the $51 million that planners originally projected, but it’s more than the $40 million discussed last year after the contribution from the state went from a hoped-for $25 million to a locked-in-the-budget $15 million.

“We want to focus on achieving that budget rather than compromising the facility.” – Dan Clumpner, Commonweal Development, on the increase in the project’s estimated cost from $40 million to $45 million

Dan Clumpner, a principal with Commonweal Development, one of the project’s initial partners and now a development consultant, said the $45 million estimate rose in part because of inflation in construction costs and poorer-than-expected subsurface soil conditions on the building site. Specifically, excavation work revealed a layer of wood debris 17 feet below the surface, requiring more stabilization for the structure.

Because public contributions to the project – $15 million from the state, $5 million from the city, and $3.5 million from the county – will stay the same, additional philanthropic donations will have to make up the difference, Way said. While $12.5 million of the original $13.5 million fundraising goal has been pledged, the philanthropic target will have to be increased by several million dollars, she explained. Way expects the $5 million gap to be met with additional philanthropy, grants, and donations of building materials and services. Naming rights are also available for parts of the facility and for the entire arts center itself, she added.

“We want to be transparent about where we are on the cost,” Clumpner added. “We want to focus on achieving that budget rather than compromising the facility.”

Leveling Up: View the Floor Plans


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5 Wisconsinites Who Won Big on Oscar Night

Mr. Welles
Mr. Welles

1. Orson Welles

The legendary actor, director, and writer who made one of Hollywood’s greatest films, Citizen Kane, was born in Kenosha and attended school for a time in Madison. He won an Academy Award in 1941 for Best Original Screenplay (for Kane) as well as an honorary Oscar in 1970. While he spent most of his life outside the state, Welles did contemplate running for U.S. Senate from Wisconsin in 1946.

2. John Ridley

Wisconsin’s most recent Oscar-winner is Ridley, who was born in Milwaukee and raised in suburban Mequon. He came home with a golden statuette in 2014 for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film 12 Years a Slave, which also won Best Picture that year. His other credits include helping write films such as Three Kings as well as the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur.

Actor Spencer Tracy, shown here with little known actress Katharine Hepburn.
Actor Spencer Tracy, shown here with little known actress Katharine Hepburn.

3. Spencer Tracy

If it’s an honor just to be nominated, Spencer Tracy was honored a whole lot by the Academy: His nine Best Actor nominations are tied for a record, and the two he did win – for Captains Courageous in 1938 and Boys Town in 1939 – make him the only man to earn back-to-back Oscars. Tracy was born and raised in Milwaukee and attended Ripon College before leaving to pursue an acting career.

4. Jim Rygiel

He may not have the name recognition of others on the list, but Jim Rygiel has more Oscars than any of them. The Wisconsin native has won three – yes, three – Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, one for each of the Lord of the Rings movies. The Kenosha native is also a UW-Milwaukee alum.

Jim Rygiel
Jim Rygiel

5. Don Ameche

And speaking of Kenosha, that’s also the birthplace of Don Ameche, whose film career spanned the 1930s to the 1990s. Ameche attended both Marquette University and UW-Madison (Fun fact: his cousin, Alan Ameche, won the Heisman Trophy playing for the Badgers) before hitting the vaudeville circuit and then Hollywood. He won his Oscar for playing a mystically rejuvenated retiree in Cocoon.

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Monday, Feb. 8th, 2016

Eaux Claires Teases 2016 Lineup With Mixtape Featuring Bon Iver B-Side

Those trusting enough to purchase early bird presale tickets to the 2016 Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival were sent a custom-printed analog gift in the mail starting last weekend. It’s an honest to goodness two-hour cassette mixtape containing b-sides and rarities from artists on the yet-to-be-fully-released lineup of music acts and artists (the entire lineup comes out on Thursday).

Aside from an exclusive Bon Iver b-side called “Haven, Mass” (listen), there’re tracks by Bruce Hornsby, Fall Creek Boys Choir (a collaboration between Vernon and UK producer James Blake), My Brightest Diamond, Jon Hopkins, Shabazz Palaces, Nathaniel Rateliff, members of The Arcade Fire, Eau Claire’s own beatmaker Sloslylove, and more.

With the slate curated by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner (The National), the festival is set to finally show you who’s playing on August 12 and 13 in Eau Claire.

Lots to digest here, but the main takeaways from these two-hour tapes should be 1.) Clearly, the spirit of collaboration will be ever-present at this year’s fest again, and 2.) You never know who the curators are gonna pull in, and that’s wonderful. Here’s the full tracklist:


1. “Introduction”
2. Bryce Dessner with So Percussion, Sean Carey, and Justin Vernon – “Music For Wood & String (Translucent Remake)”
3. Catsax – “Chrome Walk”
4. “Pay to Play”
5. Shabazz Palaces – “Substance Provider”
6. “How to Enjoy Music”
7. Noxroy (Andrew Fitzpatrick) – “Untitled”
8. Tenement – “Vultures Demo”
9. “Phone Games”
10. Bruce Hornsby “Reichian Mood”
11. Sam Amidon “Big Din-Dins Field Recording”
12. Fog – “Selections for Deux”
13. “EXC Radio Transmission”
14. LNZNDRF – “Beneath The Black Sea”
15. Kill The Vultures – “Return My Body (Remix)”
16. William Tyler – “Venus in Aquarius”
17. “Strong Man”
18. Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner – “I Find Out”
19. Taggart and Rosewood – “Numbers (Instrumental)”
20. Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld – “Music For Film”
21. Buke and Gase with So Percussion – “Ancient Remix”
22. Jon Hopkins – “Sleeps”
23. Phil Cook – “I Won’t Crumble With You If You Fall”
24. Charlotte the Neighbor Kid – “Riverbank”


1. “Good Music”
2. Tom Wincek – “Untitled (Live at High Noon)”
3. Lisa Hannigan with Katie Fallon and Zoe Randall “Anahorish”
4. “Prepare Yourselves”
5. Har Mar Superstar Introduces – “Froggy”
6. “Health and Safety Announcement”
7. Tickle Torture – “Warmer Weather”
8. Jack Raymond/Tenement – “Frightening Place for Normal People and Farmers”
9. Senyawa – “Kata”
10. “Robert Louis Stevenson”
11. Richard Reed Perry – “Heaven For Meg”
12. Fall Creek Boys Choir – “Untitled 2”
13. sloslylove – “So Sleepy”
14. “Rowdy Rod”
15. Nataniel Rateliff – “On This Train”
16. “Bass Sound”
17. Bon Iver – “Haven, Mass. (b-side)”
18. Jon Mueller – “Untitled”
19. “Don’t Play So Loud”
20. My Brightest Diamond – “Bronze Head”
21. “Where Are All The Bass Guitars?”
22. Aaron Dessner & Justin Vernon – “Big Red Machine (original)”
23. “Goodbye”

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Friday, Feb. 5th, 2016

Rock Fest Reveals 2016 Lineup

Rock Fest over in Cadott just released its big lineup for 2016, which includes Slipknot, The Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry), Alice in Chains, and Five Finger Death Punch. Check out the full PR:


Slipknot, Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry) and Alice in Chains Headlining Rock Fest 2016

CADOTT, Wis. (February 5, 2016) - Rock Fest is back for its 23nd year with a killer lineup including the biggest names in rock. SLIPKNOT, HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES and ALICE IN CHAINS are slated to headline the massive rock festival in Cadott, Wis. July 14-16. This year’s bill has exploded, including 65+ bands featuring Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against & many more top rock bands.

Slipknot will be making their debut appearance at Rock Fest in July 2016 and if their past live performances are any indication, fans are in for an eye-popping, chaotic and energy-packed show. Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, the eight-person crew is known for their farm coverall uniforms and horror movie-style masks that bring your worst nightmares to life. Putting music behind rage, Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison once told a reporter, “All of us were so used to having the middle finger thrown at us, that when we finally threw it back, we did so with ten times the venom.” Expect pure metal punishment when the band takes the stage in Cadott.

The Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry) kick off the summer with their first U.S. festival headline show and also on the bill, their friend Marilyn Manson, among others. The Vampires make their worldwide television debut when they perform their new single “Bad As I Am” from their new deluxe album on the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards®, Feb 15 on CBS. A super-group comprised of rock royalty and a Hollywood superstar, the Vampires will hit the stage offering fans a special surprise that will be a highlight of the show.

The word “super-group” gets thrown around a lot these days, but truly, it doesn’t get much super-er than Hollywood Vampires’ lineup….” – YAHOO Music

In 1969 on the Sunset Strip at a club called the Rainbow Bar & Grill, the Hollywood Vampires were born in the upstairs bar. It was a gathering place for the rock stars living in or passing through L.A. “To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members,” says Alice Cooper, a founding member of the original Vampires. Alice and good friend Johnny Depp got together and decided the spirit of the Hollywood Vampires should live again (minus the drinking). Alice and Johnny were joined by Joe Perry, who is an old friend of both of them, and the recording began: a tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires. An environment was born for great artists to hang, laugh and play together.

Alice in Chains is one of the most successful and influential American rock bands of all time and are currently gearing up for the release of a much-anticipated new album. Back in September of 2009, Alice in Chains shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Rock Chart with “Check My Brain.” The track became the 12th Top 10 hit for the iconic rock band. While it’s always gratifying to top the charts, this achievement was particularly special because it was the band’s first new single and album in more than 10 years. Talk about staying power. Over the course of their remarkable career, the band has garnered multiple Grammy nominations, sold more than 20 million albums worldwide and amassed a diehard, international fanbase.

Back by popular demand, Five Finger Death Punch. Undoubtedly one of the most relevant and successful active rock bands globally, Five Finger Death Punch dominated 2013 with the releases The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell – Volume 1 and Volume 2. Both volumes debuted on the U.S. Billboard album chart at #2 and in the top ten mainstream charts all across the world. Then in 2015, Five Finger Death Punch released their highly anticipated sixth full-length album, Got Your Six. In January, the single, “Wash It All Away,” earned the band their fourth No. 1 Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart.

The three-day festival also includes hardcore fan favorites like Rise Against, Bullet For My Valentine, Skillet, Nothing More, Queensryche, Scott Stapp, All That Remains, In This Moment, Sick Puppies, Like A Storm and I Prevail. New this year, Showdown Fest presents sideshows, freak shows and tattooing featuring Inkmaster Artists Big Ceeze, Brian Stephens, Clint Climmings, Erik Campbell, Halo, James Vaughn, Jim Francis and Sara Miller.

Rock Fest 2016 will be treating three-day ticket holders to an exclusive Rock Fest opener Wednesday, July 13. The ‘Bonus Bash’ will include some of the biggest names coming to the festival. Fans will not want to miss this. Gates will open to remaining fans on Thursday, July 14. Fans are able to camp on-site in one of the 7,000 campsites surrounding the concert grounds. Daily shuttles provide transport to and from nearby hotels. Rock Fest offers VIP and reserved tickets and camping for the festival, currently on sale at

Fans will have the opportunity to get Morrie’s Pit Passes for each show, getting them as close as they can to their favorite bands. Rock Fest also specializes in offering a wide variety of liquor, beer and food choices to fuel up before and during the show.

Rock Fest is an RFID festival, offering attendees the convenience to experience the weekend by going cashless.

Presale tickets sold out in less than two hours for the 2016 festival. General on sale tickets, camping & Morrie’s Pit Passes are available beginning Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 8 am (CST) at

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