WHO TO LISTEN FOR

Eau Claire does pretty well on the music front. Beyond the worldwide acclaim of some of our indie bands and jazz musicians, this city has a little something for everyone. Here’s just a sampling:

S. CAREY

SCarey.org

For awhile Sean Carey (a UWEC grad) was known only as the drummer for Bon Iver, but he soon came out with his own releases under the moniker S. Carey. The gorgeously composed indie folk perfectly encapsulates Eau Claire, drawing on the natural beauty that surrounds us. While S. Carey has found success outside of our borders, the group (featuring a few Eau Clairians) still performs around Eau Claire on occassion, filling the place whenever they do. If you see this on the calendars, don’t miss it.

FOR FANS OF:
Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, long walks through the woods
WHERE TO START:
“In The Dirt” from All We Grow (2011)

SLOSLYLOVE

website »

Eau Claire producer Sloslylove uses hardware to make complex and infectious beats, over catchy ‘80s synthwave vibes, perfect for dance functions.

FOR FANS OF:
Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, lasers, the beach
WHERE TO START:
“Can’t Let Go” from The Haunted (2014)

IDLE EMPRESS

website »

This local trio combines pure rock and roll with sugary sweet folk stylings, bolstered by singer Lauren Anderson’s lovely and powerful voice.

FOR FANS OF:
Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent, camping with your best friends
WHERE TO START:
“Woods” from Idle Empress EP (2016)

SNIFFLE PARTY

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Sniffle Party’s dreamy synthpop tunes combine experimental sounds with catchy synths, moody ‘80s inspired beats, and stadium pop hooks.

FOR FANS OF:
Sylvan Esso, Grimes, the Drive soundtrack, crying
WHERE TO START:
“Peach Dream” from Peach Dream EP (2016)

ARMS ALOFT

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Arms Aloft are the definitive punk band in Eau Claire with hard-hitting lyrics, sweltering guitar licks, and an unextinguishable DIY spirit to boot.

FOR FANS OF:
The Gaslight Anthem, getting sweaty with a Sharpie-d ‘X’ on your hand
WHERE TO START:
“Skinny Love” from Sawdust City (2012)

PIT WAGON

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This boozy folk group brings an eclectic repertoire of old school folk and blues songs about being lovesick in Wisconsin, the countryside, and beer.

FOR FANS OF:
Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, townie bars
WHERE TO START:
“Bar Smoke” from Pit Wagon(2014)

Every other year, Eau Claire is host to the World Flute Society Convention, which is actually a pretty big deal, with hundreds flocking here to participate.

Prolific songwriter Will Jennings was a UW-Eau Claire professor for a short time. The lyricist penned some Grammy-nominated tunes, including “My Heart Will Go On,” “Higher Love,” and “Tears In Heaven.”


Music Festivals

The Eau Claire area loves a big music festival - especially in the summertime. Between our long-running country and rock festivals and a pair of newcomers - Eaux Claires and Blue Ox - there's a lot in store for every music lover.

Chance The Rapper at Eaux Claires 2017

EAUX CLAIRES

Location: Foster Farm, Eau Claire
When: June
Year founded: 2015
Average attendance: 20,000
Music: Everything from indie to hip-hop to country and folk. Recent headliners include Chance The Rapper, Wilco, Feist, Paul Simon, and Sylvan Esso.
Web: eauxclaires.com

COUNTRY FEST

Location: Festival grounds, Cadott
When: June
Year founded: 1987
Average attendance: 20,000
Music: Modern country. Recent headliners include Blake Shelton, Eric Church, and Alabama.
Web: countryfest.com

ROCK FEST

Location: Festival grounds, Cadott
When: July
Year founded: 1994
Average attendance: 20,000
Music: Metal, hard rock, and classic rock. Recent headliners include Avenged Sevenfold, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Korn, Megadeth, and Anthrax.
Web: rock-fest.com

COUNTRY JAM

Location: Foster Farm, Eau Claire
When: July
Year founded: 1990
Average attendance: 24,000
Music: Modern country. Recent headliners include Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan.
Web: countryjamwi.com

BLUE OX

Location: Whispering Pines, Eau Claire
When: Usually June
Year founded: 2015
Average attendance: 4,000
Music: Modern and tradtitional bluegrass. Recent headliners include The Punch Brothers, Pert Near Sandstone, Drive-By Truckers, Greensky Bluegrass, and Railroad Earth.
Web: blueoxmusicfestival.com


BON IVER

The Eau Claire powerhouse is Bon Iver. Fronted by local resident (and UWEC grad) Justin Vernon, the band has found international fame, winning two Grammys and selling out some of the most revered venues and festivals in the world.

VOLCANO CHOIR

Volcano Choir pairs Justin Vernon with Milwaukee post-rockers Collections Of Colonies Of Bees for epic, full rock music.

SHOUTING MATCHES

Vernon’s most local project with two former local dudes is a meandering take on blues with a hint of Southern rock, rockabilly and bluegrass.

APRIL BASE

Justin Vernon’s studio just east of Eau Claire is host to scores of musicians every year, including local favorites and national names, like Sylvan Esso, Blind Boys Of Alabama, and The National.


More Venues

Acoustic Cafe

505 S. Barstow St.
theacoustic.com
What you’ll see: Local bands, folk, singer-songwriters, jazz, bluegrass
all ages - FREE

The Cabin

Davies Center
uwec.edu/uac/
What you’ll see: Local bands, folk, indie rock, jazz, small touring acts
all ages - FREE

The Plus

208 S. Barstow St.
pizzapluseauclaire.com
What you’ll see: Local bands, folk, indie rock, jazz, small touring acts
ages depend on show - FREE-$10

The Lakely

516 Galloway St.
thelakely.com
What you’ll see: Jazz several nights a week, local and touring bands on gallery nights, bluegrass during brunch.
all ages - price varies

Revival Records

128 S. Barstow St.
revivalrecords.co/
What you’ll see: Local bands, stripped down, indie rock, folk, small touring acts
all ages - FREE

The Mousetrap

311 S. Barstow St.
What you’ll see: Local bands, folk, bluegrass, indie rock, funk, open mics, small to mid-sized touring acts
21+ - FREE

The State Theater

316 Eau Claire St.
eauclairearts.com
What you’ll see: National touring acts, folk, bluegrass, country, comedy
all ages - $20-$50

House + Garage Shows

The plethora of musicians surrounding the university and downtown breeds house venues throughout the Randall Park and Third Ward neighborhoods, often publicized on Facebook and posters around town. The house shows in Eau Claire are the perfect, intimate place to see your favorite bands or discover something new.


All That Jazz

UW-Eau Claire and Eau Claire’s high schools have extensive and successful jazz programs, creating a great scene of jazz in the area. Look out for Eau Claire’s Jazz Fest in spring of 2015, where an entire stretch of downtown turns into a collection of historically themed jazz venues. Can’t wait ’til then? Check out jazz every Friday and Saturday nights at Shanghai Bistro or other weekly jazz nights around the area.