UPDATED: Eaux/Prex Claires - Here’s Everything We Know

Eric Christenson

The next couple days are gonna be crazy; can we all at least get on the same page?

Alright gang, the next few days in Eau Claire are throwing an absolute crapload of music and art stuff out there to go out and do. With Eaux Claires looming over the weekend in its shroud of riddles, a whole freakin’ day (and a half) of Prex Claires events emanating from pretty much every downtown venue, and oh, I guess we gotta throw a major national holiday in there somewhere too – there’s definitely no shortage of musicky, artsy rigmarole for you to take in.

But for all the excitement, it seems like there’s a decent amount of confusion out there as to what’s actually happening when and where, and that’s OK! Don’t feel bad if looking at all this stuff leaves you a little puzzled and whatnot. I mean, with Eaux Claires deliberately withholding its lineup and Prex Claires adding more and more music stuff to the days before – it’s all too easy to lose track of all this #culture.

So with that in mind, here’s what we know. Maybe this will help your plans shake out, or maybe this will convince you to skip the whole dang thing and drive to Canada until it’s all over. Either way, let’s all get on the same page, shall we?

Fireworks over Carson Park. Image: Frank Robinson
Fireworks over Carson Park. Image: Frank Robinson

July 4: The Fourth of July

You might be familiar with Independence Day, where our country celebrates its birthday by getting drunk, eating hot dogs, and lighting off explosives. All that stuff is still on the table, but if you’re in Eau Claire for the Fourth, there’s a bit more to it. 

As always, there’s a big daytime celebration in Carson Park leading up to the city-wide fireworks display. But this year, since the holiday is so close to Eaux Claires, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner (the co-founders of the festival) are live-scoring Eau Claire’s fireworks from the Haymarket Landing building in downtown Eau Claire.

UPDATE: It's during a private event, but perhaps you'll be able to hear the music from Phoenix Park – a popular spot to see the 'works. (Originally, Vernon had said the live scoring would happen from atop the Jamf building.)

They’ll be joined by some mystery guests, and they’ll probably play some cuts from their new Big Red Machine project. You can stream the performance live on Converge Radio 99.9 (f.k.a. Verge Radio 99.9, f.f.k.a. Blugold Radio 99.9). 

Then after the fireworks, Marijuana Deathsquads are hosting a Good Ole Fashioned Pizza Race show at The Metro with additional performances by Swamp Dogg and FOG. The Deathsquads are gonna have four phones hooked up to the speakers and order some delicious hot 'za from four different pizza places all set to zany music and visuals. You can get into that show for a $10 ticket, but you can bundle it with a Prex Claires wristband that gets you into a bunch of festivities the following day for $25 as well. Either way, grab those at convergeradio.org

OXBEAUX 2017, downtown Eau Claire
OXBEAUX 2017, downtown Eau Claire, Image: Joel Pearish

July 5: Prex Claires + Oxbeaux

Since one festival clearly isn’t enough, there’s Prex Claires. Prex Claires is a local festival in and of itself the eve before Eaux Claires (get it?) where, throughout the city, tons of venues are hosting a mostly local lineup of Eau Claire artists. You’ll need a $20 wristband (you can grab it at convergeradio.org) and that gets you into shows at The Metro, The Plus, The Masonic Temple, and much more. Here’s the official Prex Claires wristband lineup …

The Plus • 208 S. Barstow St. • 7pm • Sawdust City Limits No. 4 • Jim Pullman + Two Castles + Pit Wagon + FM Down + The Ronald Raygun + The Heart Pills + Drunk Drivers

The Metro • 201 E. Lake St. • 7pm • Local Independence Showcase • Roma di Luna + Wayward + TeawhYB + P•PL

The Masonic Temple • 616 Graham Ave. • 7:30pm • The Sue Orfield Show • Billy Krause + Them Coulee Boys

Downtown Cinema • 315 S. Barstow St. • 8pm • Clear Water Comedy

410 Café • 410 S. Barstow St. • 8pm • Open Mic

State Theatre • 316 Eau Claire St. • 11pm • Vespers • Michael Perry + Astronautalis + Mary Cutrufello

The Metro • 201 E. Lake St. • 11pm • Spank Rock + Mouse On Mars

So that’s what the wristband will get you ...

But don’t forget about OXBEAUX II • There’s also a giant block party concert called OXBEAUX II happening simultaneously on Galloway St. in front of The Oxbow Hotel. That brings 2,000 people from around the world and a lineup of great music with Hiss Golden Messenger, S. Carey, Chastity Brown, and Orchid Eaton – but that’s a totally separate ticket price and experience offering food, drink, and more. You can cop a $25 ticket at volumeonetickets.org, otherwise they’re $30 at the gate.

Would you believe there’s even more? There’s a couple of awesome shows around downtown that are free and open to the public, completely separate from the Prex Claires and OXBEAUX events. In the afternoon, Revival Records is hosting a 3pm rock show where Miss Dee Lovely will team up with The Jaggernauts to play a David Bowie tribute set, with openers the Giants of Midgard and the John Buxton Experience. Then there's the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series in Phoenix Park at 6pm, which features Idle Empress, The Nunnery and Chamber Noise. At 8pm at The Fire House, local folk singer D. Janakey will perform with special guests. Later that night at 9pm, The Nunnery will perform again at Dive inside The Lismore. Then at 10pm at The Mousetrap, there’ll be a great free show featuring Moon Ruin, Idle Empress, and Sloslylove.

And there’s supposed to be a whole other music festival after this? Yep ...

Eaux Claires, 2015, Image: Lee Butterworth
Eaux Claires, 2015, Image: Lee Butterworth

July 6 + 7: Eaux Claires

As circumstance will have it, this is the thing where it seems we have the least amount to tell you. No, we can’t confirm the lineup – not officially. But if you’ve been paying attention and staying vigilant, you probably know a lot of musical artists that are playing. 

Gathering bread crumbs from Vernon’s Twitter account, a couple podcasts, and some dedicated Redditors, you can most likely expect to see the following artists (with varying degrees of certainty): The National, Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten, Moses Sumney, Noname, Wye Oak, Dirty Projectors, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Kevin Morby, Serpentwithfeet, Pussy Riot, Anaïs Mitchell, Gordi, Big Red Machine, Ho99o9, Mouse On Mars, Phil Cook, Field Report, S. Carey, Marijuana Deathsquads, Aero Flynn, Francis and the Lights, and our sources say the Bon Iver / TU Dance collaborative performance that was conceived earlier this year will happen in some capacity at Eaux Claires.

And … let's see ... probably Kanye West, right? Right? Why the heck not. Names like Kendrick Lamar, Father John Misty, Sufjan Stevens, and The Arcade Fire have also been tossed around, but don't seem likely.

But here's a thing: If you update the Eaux Claires mobile app, and connect it to Spotify, a playlist called "Sounds Of IV" appears before you and features tracks from most of the artists we listed above. Could it be? Who can be sure? 

So hey, don’t get mad at us if this isn’t 100% accurate; we’re just trying to do our jobs here. Not sure what else to tell you … 

The Flambeaux stage will be replaced by a stage-in-the-round for some particularly unique performances, there’s an pretty good list of hints for the literary lineup too (Hanif Abdurraqib, Chastity Brown, Dean Bakopoulus & Alissa Nutting, Leesa Cross Smith, Kimberly M. Blaeser, Joe Horton, Eleanor Perry-Smith), and a bunch of art installations in the works which you can see on the map in the mobile app (although there’s few details provided beyond the names and locations).

Here’s something we do know with reasonable certainty: The weather’s gonna be nice. Like, real nice. But we just probably jinxed it, so we’ll see?

Anywho, the point is you’re not supposed to know, so maybe just roll with that.

Whew. So that’s basically everything in a massive convoluted nutshell. Hopefully this helps you figure out what to do, who to see, and all that jazz. Remember to stay hydrated and take care of each other. We’ll see you on the other side ...

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ALERT

Tonight's Summer Concert Series is cancelled.