After three-fourths of the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival (July 17 and 18) lineup was announced via custom letters and social media last weekend, organizers have released the full lineup this morning, with headliners Bon Iver (in their first performance since 2012), The National, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, and the Indigo Girls (performing their classic 1994 album Swamp Ophelia).
Check out our special interview with the core Eaux Claires organizers – curators Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, creative director Michael Brown, and "fest narrator" Michael Perry: VolumeOne.org/eauxclaires
Eaux Claires Headliners
Indigo Girls (performing Swamp Ophelia)
A few new additions below, as well.
The full lineup:
Blind Boys of Alabama
Francis and the Lights
Hiss Golden Messenger
Indigo Girls performing Swamp Ophelia
The Lone Bellow
No-BS! Brass Band
Retribution Gospel Choir
The Tallest Man On Earth
and more announcments to come ...
Tickets for the experiential art festival go on sale Thursday (2-12) at 12pm CST. Two-day general admission passes are $135 and enhanced “Chippewa Passes” – which come with unlimited beer and soft drinks during show hours and a keepsake mug – at $250. Camping passes are sold separately and start at $100.
Vernon and Dessner booked the festival themselves and made sure to include an incredibly diverse lineup of friends and collaborators from the likes of gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama to the Japanese noise rock of Melt-Banana. There’s strong local-ish hip hop representation by the likes of Lizzo, Doomtree, and Allan Kingdom while other Minneapolis acts like psych-electronic noisemakers Marijuana Deathsquads and Spooky Black bring the heat from the Cities.
Of course, look for members of the Eau Claire family like S. Carey, Field Report, Phil Cook, and Aero Flynn to show up as well as chamber pop prince, Sufjan Stevens – whose upcoming record featured instrumentation by Eau Clairians Sean Carey and Ben Lester.
If you tuned in to Chippewa Valley Community Television any time in the last day or so, you might’ve been interrupted by glitchy visuals of grass blowing in the wind and a familiar, distorted voice saying, “Summer here comes on like a zaftig hippie chick, jazzed on chlorophyll and flinging fistfuls of butterflies to the sun.”
At that point, you might’ve dinked around on your remote or slapped your TV to fix the problem …
But it wasn’t a problem. It was simply a sharp guerrilla marketing teaser for this summer’s Justin Vernon-curated Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.
And that distorted voice? That’s local best-selling author Michael Perry, the festival’s official “Narrator,” lending his signature words to the spastic imagery.
“The swamps grow spongy and pungent,” Perry’s pitchy voice trembles as the video cuts in and out. “Standing water goes warm and soupy, clotted with frog eggs and twitching with larvae. Along the ditches, heron-legged stalks of canary grass shoot six feet high and unfurl seed plumes. In the fields, the clover pops its blooms and corn trembles for the sky.”
Evoking the thick of Wisconsin summer in the middle of a trippy, grassy glitch seems like nonsense, but it’s actually more emblematic of the festival to come: Calculated? Check. Subtle? Check. Weird? Three checks. Cool as hell? Check. Mike Perry? Check.
But what’s amazing is the team behind the festival produced the mysterious 37-second spot to run exclusively on public access via CVCTV, only reaching those of us here in the Valley, among the corn and the chlorophyll.
You know, more and more cool things seem to be happening with the ever-mysterious art festival, so be sure to keep up to date at VolumeOne.org in the coming week for updates.
You can find CVCTV on Charter Digital at channels 993 & 994. You can find what times the Eaux Claires spots will run by visiting www.cvctg.org/video/channelguide.
You couldn't touch Amateur Love in the early 2000s. The band, made up of Brian Moen, Brad and Phil Cook, and headed up by frontman Josh Scott would routinely blow the doors off a packed Stone's Throw and shake a brimming House of Rock.
And then they stopped.
It’s been over ten years since Amateur Love played a show, and ever since, the ever-reclusive Scott has been – to put it modestly – laying low.
After years and years of dormancy, worry, and nothing, rumblings finally started last year about a finished recording from Scott: A project called Aero Flynn.
Eau Claire was treated to a rare Aero Flynn live performance in early November at the House of Rock along with Field Report and the promise of a nearby album. Now with a March 3 release date, a self-titled Aero Flynn debut is officially a go (via Brooklyn-based Ooh La La Records), with a starlit single called “Dk/Pi” to prove it.
Field Report’s Chris Porterfield took a front seat to the entire story in the early 2000s in Eau Claire and outlines it on the landing page of Aero Flynn’s newly launched website where you can also download the new single with an email address. You can read the whole letter at aeroflynn.org.
“I believe that this record, this long-awaited record, is quite seriously a life-or-death record,” Porterfield writes. “Josh had to make it to stay alive. And it must be heard in the context of deferred health, deferred relationships, deferred dreams, deferred healing.”
The record was produced by Justin Vernon, who collected a band of a bunch of Bon Iver members and friends like Adam Hurlburt, Mike Noyce, Sean Carey, Ben Lester, Brian Moen, and Dave Power to assist in both the recording and the ensuing live show.
But at the center of it is Scott; enigmatic, infectious, brilliant, weird, troubled, and easily “spooked” – as Porterfield puts it. Porterfield writes with a somewhat unsettling urgency that makes you really believe that this is it for Scott.
“I’ll never cast dispersion on what someone has gone through, but I do know this: Josh Scott has been maimed by rock and roll,” Porterfield says. “I pray that it can save him.”
Through his personal struggles and his fragile state of being, it seems Josh Scott is poised to either make it or break. If the infectiously spacy “Dk/Pi” is any sort of indication, he won’t go down without a fight.
Yes, you read that right: Bon Iver is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not as an inductee, mind you – Justin Vernon’s Grammy-winning band will have to wait until 2032 before it’s eligible to be officially enshrined with legends ranging from ABBA to ZZ Top. But Eau Claire’s most well known musical export does make a couple of appearances in the Hall of Fame’s museum in Cleveland. Back in June, Eau Clairians Patrick and Meg Erickson were visiting the museum when they were surprised to spot a couple of pieces of memorabilia from back home in a display about music from the Midwest. The first was an appropriately woodsy poster touting Bon Iver’s December 2008 gig at Eau Claire’s State Theatre (squint and you’ll even see the logo of a certain biweekly mag in the corner). The other is a rare copy of the album A Decade With Duke, a 2010 collaboration between Vernon and Eau Claire Memorial High School’s Jazz I ensemble. The Chippewa Valley also makes a couple of other cameos at the temple of rock ’n’ roll: Bon Iver’s Eau Claire roots are mentioned on a poster describing the Midwest exhibit (that’s Meg Erickson helpfully pointing it out above), while our own Rock Fest is name checked on a poster listing festivals nationwide.
Keep reading to see more photos ...