Tuesday, Jul. 26th, 2016
On September 10, the Carson Park lights will shine again – not for baseball, but for a large-scale country concert – the first of its kind. Carson Goes Country will be headlined by nationally known recording artists David Nail and Joe Diffie, and local band Big Back Yard. The event is co-hosted by Express Baseball and Wagner’s Lanes/The Complexx, and will be held right in the baseball stadium where the Express games are held, with seating and standing in the bleachers and on the field. The concert is for a good cause too – part of the proceeds will be used to help pay for upgrades to the stadium.
“Carson Park is such a great venue and we feel there’s a great value in giving the community more reasons to come out and enjoy it.” – Andy Neborak, CFO and part-owner of the Eau Claire Express
Andy Neborak, CFO and part-owner of the Eau Claire Express is very excited about the debut of Carson Goes Country, and the opportunity to bring this kind of music event (and perhaps some new fans) to historic Carson Park.
“We previously hosted a beer and BBQ festival called Hogs and Hops at the ballpark. While that event wasn’t the right fit, we have wanted to find a non-baseball event or two to bring to the stadium outside of our season,” Neborak said. “Carson Park is such a great venue and we feel there’s a great value in giving the community more reasons to come out and enjoy it.”
Neborak recognizes that the Chippewa Valley is home to several music festivals, but feels this event – with its location, timing, and lower admission cost – is unique, and will hopefully draw in country music fans from throughout the area, even those who may attend other events as well.
“Music is extremely popular in the Chippewa Valley, obviously. Summer is filled with various music events and opportunities and this will extend the ‘season,’ if you will, for residents of the Chippewa Valley.”
Neborak said he hopes Carson Goes Country will draw 3,000-plus attendees this year, and if successful, it could become an annual event.
Part of the proceeds made from Carson Goes Country are being used to fund improvements to the baseball stadium, which directly benefits the many groups that use the stadium and people who attend events there. “The upgrades that the City Council just approved include replacement of the metal bleachers on the 1st and 3rd base side of the stadium, along with addition of concession stands, permanent restrooms, additional storage and perhaps most importantly, improved handicap accessibility,” Neborak said.
In addition, the City is looking to replace the playing surface with artificial turf that will allow for more and different kinds of events at the stadium.
Tickets cost between $18 and $37 and can be purchased at the Eau Claire Express office (102 E. Grand Ave., Eau Claire) or by phone at (715) 839-7788 during normal business hours (weekdays from 9am to 5pm) or at Carson Park during any Express home game. Tickets are on sale now online at www.northwoodsleague.com/eau-claire-express/tickets/carson-goes-country, as well at Wagner’s Lanes/The Complexx, Stout Ale House, and Thirsty Badger.
Friday, Jul. 22nd, 2016
Wednesday, Jul. 20th, 2016
If you’re so inclined, now’s the time to crack open a cold one to celebrate the deal reached Wednesday between the Brewing Projekt and the City of Eau Claire’s Redevelopment Authority. After nearly two hours of closed-door deliberations and negotiations, the RDA agreed to sell a vacant industrial building at 1807 Oxford Ave. to the fast-growing Eau Claire brewery. Brewing Projekt President Will Glass says he hopes to move the business into the new building by the end of the year.
The sale – which the parties still have 60 days to finalize – comes after months of negotiation between the brewery and the RDA, discussions that hinged on both the property’s potential sale price and its future assessed value.
“I’m just really excited to be moving forward,” Glass said outside City Hall shortly after the RDA’s unanimous voice vote. In recent weeks, Glass had encouraged Brewing Projekt backers to contact RDA members to voice their support for the sale. In addition, an estimated 500 supporters visited the brewery/taproom for a rally Friday evening. “I have to assume the public support we got had an impact,” Glass said.
The Brewing Projekt, which is currently in a much smaller facility just down the street at 2000 Oxford Ave., will purchase about 50,000 square feet of property, including the building, for $250,000.
The Brewing Projekt, which is currently in a much smaller facility just down the street at 2000 Oxford Ave., will purchase about 50,000 square feet of property, including the building, for $250,000. The RDA – a city committee designed to foster urban renewal – bought the property, which was most recently occupied by Silvermine Stone Co., for $415,000 last year. It lies in the so-called Cannery District, a swath of former industrial property along the west bank of the Chippewa River, roughly across from downtown.
The agreement includes a stipulation that the remodeled facility will be assessed at $2.5 million by Jan. 1, 2020, and $3 million by Jan. 1, 2022. Previously, Glass had said the RDA had sought an assessed valuation of $7 million to $8 million. However, the original negotiations were over a larger piece of property – approximately 117,000 square feet, or about 2.7 acres. Now the RDA potentially will be able to sell that property to another developer.
Supporters of the Brewing Projekt crowded a small hearing room at City Hall for the meeting. Several spoke in favor of the project, including Mike Rindo, who serves on several city committees and is a UW-Eau Claire official (although he stressed he was speaking on his own behalf). “Here’s a potential anchor for the Cannery District,” Rindo said, comparing the impact the brewery could have on the neighborhood to the role the Royal Credit Union headquarters had on the Phoenix Park redevelopment a decade ago. Efforts like the Brewking Projekt are important to boosting Eau Claire’s quality of life, Rindo said.
Glass said relocating to a larger space will allow the brewery to boost output to keep up with heavy demand for its unique beers. Increased production will allow the Brewing Projekt to sell wholesale rights for its brews as well as to expand distribution to other parts of the state.
During his presentation to the RDA during the public portion of the meeting, Glass said relocating to a larger space will allow the brewery to boost output to keep up with heavy demand for its unique beers, which include WISCoast, GunPowder IPA, Liberty or Death, and dozens more. Increased production will allow the Brewing Projekt to sell wholesale rights for its brews (which in turn will help pay for the new facility) as well as to expand distribution to other parts of the state.
Glass said the remodeled and rebuilt facility will include an open-air brewery (allowing visitors to see the impressive array of stainless steel equipment involved in the brewing process), a taproom, and likely a restaurant (although details on that element are still up in the air). There would also be outdoor seating overlooking the nearby Chippewa River and a trail that the city intends to build along it.
Before the vote, City Attorney Stephen Nick told the RDA that “there’s been a considerable disconnect on price” between the parties, but he added he was pleased by the Brewing Projekt’s willingness to trim the amount of property it was seeking.
Several members of the committee echoed this sentiment, saying their negotiations have been about ensuring the highest-value use of the land, not about blocking the brewery’s expansion.
“This isn’t anti-brewpub. It isn’t anti-you, Mr. Glass,” said RDA member Jeff Halloin. Instead, Halloin said, it was a matter of making the project’s math work. “It’s going to come down to a leap of faith,” he added.
After the vote, a relieved Glass acknowledged that the expansion is a gamble, but expressed confidence in the Brewing Projekt’s continued success. “We need infrastructure improvements to continue on the trajectory that we’re on right now,” he said.
“We’re taking a risk over there,” he said of putting down roots in the Cannery District, which is slated for redevelopment but remains largely empty. “We’re the first people who are going to invest a significant amount of money.”
Monday, Jul. 18th, 2016
What's up, river rats? Have you seen the Department of the Interior's Streamer website? It's a nifty online tool for tracing streams and rivers in the U.S. The tool allows users to locate the sources of streams and find out where they go. Pretty cool, huh?
Even cooler is this map (posted on Slate.com) built with the Streamer tool that depicts all of the streams that flow into the Mississippi river. Two of these 7,000 streams that link to the good old Mississip’ are the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. What are the other 6,998 you ask? Just take a gander at the Streamer tool and see for yourself.
Wednesday, Jul. 13th, 2016
Understand this: Will Glass’ The Brewing Projekt is producing world class beer. World Class. By collaborating with the Danish brewer Mikkeller to produce an American Pale Ale for the upcoming Eaux Claires Music Festival, Glass’ beer will soon find distribution in bars and tap-rooms from Copenhagen to Tokyo, Seoul to Reykjavik. Whether or not you’ve heard of Mikkeller or not isn’t important, though, I might recommend reading the 2014 New York Times Magazine feature that essentially crowns Mikkeller as a global tastemaker. And whether you drink beer or not isn’t important. What is important, is that a Chippewa Valley native is operating on a level of creativity and craftsmanship that is commendable on a global stage.
“Innovation is the buzzword now in brewing,” says Michael Agnew, a Minneapolis-based beer writer and educator and founder of www.aperfectpint.net. “In the name of innovation, everyone is pushing how much stuff they can put into beer. But not many of them are doing it well. At The Brewing Projekt, innovation is key, but quality comes first.”
Kathy Flanigan, a writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel goes a step farther: “Will has a passion for brewing that is so far unchallenged among the many brewers I’ve interviewed as a beer writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The guy clearly loves making beer, otherwise he wouldn’t attempt brewing 50 beers a year. He wouldn’t take risks with ingredients or collaborations like the one he’s doing with Mikkeller Brewing. He would step slowly and roll out one or two beers then rest on the laurels of satisfied customers and empty pint glasses.”
And Glass is hoping to continue his innovation and creativity right where he started, in downtown Eau Claire. But this beer scientist has outgrown his laboratory and he’s in search of new digs.
This is an entrepreneur who will find a way to succeed. He’s already done it. The question is, do we as a community push him forward? Does that success stay here, in Eau Claire?
More than a year ago, already hard pressed to keep up with surging demand and quickly outgrowing his humble cinder-block space, Will started looking for sites that could better accommodate the Brewing Projekt’s expansion. A natural solution stood literally across the street, at 1807 N. Oxford Ave. At that time, the building was privately owned, but shortly thereafter, in June 2015, the Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority purchased the property. The acquisition was part of the RDA’s plan to assemble property to support the redevelopment of the west bank of the Chippewa River north of Madison Street, an area known as the Cannery Redevelopment District. Undeterred by the change in ownership, Will approached the RDA with a proposal to headquarter his growing brewery on the site.
The negotiations, which began in March, are still ongoing, but what seems to be becoming clear are the conflicting visions for the Cannery District. Does it become green space, another park along the riverfront? An office park? Or does it also preserve a part of our history – indeed, does it preserve what original buildings there remain? Is its very name just a New Urbanist gesture, a catchy moniker that motions to a bygone past, like naming a new cul-de-sac sub-division Wilderness Way?
An expanded Brewing Projekt would kick-start the entire district, unifying a vision already in embryonic form with the new Lazy Monk beer hall down the road. It would save, reinvent, and reinvigorate a building in need. It would provide construction jobs, brewing jobs, food service jobs. Aesthetically the neighborhood would be transformed, and from a crime perspective, business and customers alike would naturally “police” an otherwise poorly trafficked and dimly lit corridor of our city. And, it is something that, as a community, we don’t have to wait for, hope for – Glass is poised and ready right now to expand, invest, succeed.
Glass proved himself a dedicated member of the Cannery District long before it became chic to imagine redevelopment along that stretch of the Chippewa River. In so many ways, he has been patient, growing his business from nothing in humble environs. Upon meeting Glass, a person is left no choice but to cheer for him. A big bear of a man with a thick brown beard, he’s engaging, humble, and – despite the more than occasional roadblocks erected before him – always magnanimous, always graceful. This is an entrepreneur who will find a way to succeed. He’s already done it. The question is, do we as a community push him forward? Does that success stay here, in Eau Claire?
“Honestly, in this new age of craft brewing and local artisanship, I can’t believe we are debating the merits of preserving an old building and offering visitors river views and a destination brewery versus office space,” stated Kevin Revolinski, author of The Best Beer Guide to Wisconsin.
“Look around the state,” he continued. “Clusters of successful breweries in places such as Madison, Green Bay, Wausau, are confirmed tourist magnets. News of Lazy Monk’s recent expansion spread like wildfire on the Internet. And now within walking distance, The Brewing Projekt aims to create another destination brewery. How is this not going to be a boon to tourism for the city? Plus other businesses who want to tap into that steady stream of visitors are going to thrive here as well. It’s synergy.”
Will Glass has created something special. The world is recognizing his work. Will we rally to his side?
The Brewing Projekt will be holding a “Projekt Rally” to promote its proposed purchase of a building that would allow it to expand. The rally will be from 5pm to midnight Friday, July 15, at the brewery’s current site, 2000 N. Oxford Ave., Eau Claire, and will include walk-by tours of the proposed new site, 1807 N. Oxford Ave. The event will include live entertainment, food from Tutto Bene Wood Fired Pizza, and (naturally) beer.
Pokémon Go has hit America like a storm, and Eau Claire is no exception. Sizable crowds of phone-wielding Pokémon Trainers can be regularly seen from the mall to downtown.
As a brief recap, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game in the two decades old franchise of everyone’s favorite magical, highly destructive creatures. In this latest take on the series, the game informs players of nearby Pokémon. Looking through the smartphone will then reveal a Pokémon digitally placed in the real world, which the player then can attempt to catch and collect. After all, you gotta catch’em all.
The game is a mixture of wish fulfillment and nostalgia for generations of Pokéfans across the world and in the Chippewa Valley. But let’s take a look at seven facts about Eau Claire's Pokémon Go scene.
1. In a city of rivers, water-type Pokémon abound.
With how significant the rivers are to the identify of Eau Claire, it’s cool to see that reflected in what Pokémon are available. Even the relatively uncommon Squirtle pops up pretty frequently here. Try the UWEC campus, North River Street, and Oak Pointe Plaza for the fan-favorite water shooting turtle.
2. The Sculpture Tour and parks are keys to success.
If you haven’t noticed already, each sculpture on the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour is a feature in the game. Planning a walk along Water Street, Downtown, or through Phoenix Park is a surefire way to stock up on Poké Balls, but also to see some amazing artwork!
3. Meet your fellow Pokémon trainers.
Chances are that while you’re outside, you’re going to see lots of fellow trainers scanning their surroundings for that rare catch. It isn't often (outside of festivals) that hundreds of people walking around town are all doing the same thing – so see who you can meet and what you can learn about your town.
4. Catch Eau Claire.
Pokémon Go is an amazing opportunity to go explore that part of Eau Claire you’ve never been to. You know which one I mean. There might be a Vulpix hiding there, or in your new favorite park or coffee shop. See what's happening in other cities!
5. The game is bringing people together in amazing ways.
On the Sunday night of the first weekend with Pokémon Go, over 100 people were clustered around the intersection of N. Barstow and Wisconsin streets. How did this happen? In the game, you can use a special item called a lure to attract Pokémon to a specific location in the real world. Someone had set up four of them at that intersection, and the rest was magic.
6. Local businesses can benefit from the PokéCraze, too.
Businesses around the country are offering discounts to Pokémon Go players, or even using the lures themselves to attract potential customers to their business. Exploring for Pokémon is hungry work, and trainers I've talked to are more than willing to engage a business that engages them back.
7. The Volume One World Headquarters? 'Tis no exception.
Here at the Volume One World Headquarters & Local Store, you might just see a Drowzee, Krabby, Kingler, Bellsprout, Magnemite, Eevee, or Magikarp. Maybe even a Gastly or Porygon too, if you’re lucky!
What are your crazy Pokémon Go stories? Have you seen any small businesses engaging with players? What have you found roaming around in Eau Claire? Let us know in the comments ...
The long-awaited replacement of the causeway into Carson Park – as well as upgrades to the park’s baseball bleachers and improvements to Fairfax Pool and Hobbs Municipal Ice Center – were tentatively OK’d by the Eau Claire City Council Tuesday. The council voted unanimously to approve a five-year capital improvement plan for the city, which includes $35 million in infrastructure projects slated for 2017. The spending won’t be officially approved until November when the City Council votes on the 2017 city budget.
Among the highlights of the capital improvement plan are $2.25 million to replace the 1930s-era bridge and causeway that carry Lake Street into Carson Park as well as $2.45 million to replace the 40-year-old bleachers that are shared by the park’s baseball and football fields. In addition, the O’Brien Rink at Hobbs Municipal Ice Center will undergo $1 million in upgrades – including new locker rooms, storage, office space, and a press box redesign – in part to allow the rink to be home for a North American Hockey League franchise. At Fairfax Municipal Pool, $75,000 has been earmarked to rebuild outdoor locker rooms and create a dedicated first aid room, and $60,000 will be set aside to install a less-slippery floor in the bathhouse and concession area. The capital improvement plan also includes a host of lower-profile (but important) projects, including maintaining sewer and water lines and replacing city equipment such as buses and fire trucks.
Overall, the capital improvement plan outlines $181 million in projects between 2017 and 2021. However, only the projects for 2017 will be funded by next year’s city budget; projects slated for the following four years are included in the document for long-term planning purposes. In the latter category: The 2018 budget includes $6.25 million for a new bus transit center to replace the “temporary” building put up in 1984.
What can you get for 50 cents? A can of soda (if you’re really lucky)? A first-class postage stamp (with change)? Now, a couple of quarters will also get you an hour of parking in the brand spanking new parking ramp on North Barstow Street in downtown Eau Claire. The Eau Claire City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve fees for the soon-to-open 769-spot ramp, which stands along North Barstow near Phoenix Park. Users will be charged 50 cents an hour with a maximum 24-hour fee of $8. These fees will be collected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (In other words, there’s no off-hour free parking to be had.)
The council resolution also set special-event parking at $5 and the monthly parking contract at $42. Several council members advocated for letting users park free for the first three hours, but that idea was rejected on a 7-4 vote.
According to Leah Ness, a transportation engineer with the city, the ramp is on track to open Sept. 1. While the structure was complete enough for several City Council members to attend a walk-through Tuesday, workers are still completing pavement marking, installing signs, and doing electrical and landscaping work.
If the City of Eau Claire ends up pursuing a public market, it shouldn’t be a traditional large-scale public market nor should it be in the Cannery District on the west bank of the Chippewa River.
Those are among the preliminary recommendations of a consultant, Ted Spitzer of Market Ventures Inc., who was hired by the city and who is expected to present a full report to the City Council by the end of September.
Associate city planner Ned Noel said Spitzer addressed the question of whether Eau Claire could support the kind of year-round, multi-vendor indoor public market found in larger cities such as Milwaukee. “Based off of all of his research, he said it’s not a winning strategy,” Noel said.
Several factors make that kind of market challenging in Eau Claire, Noel noted. First, with just under 68,000 people, there simply aren’t enough shoppers in the city to make the market viable. Second, there isn’t enough disposable income in town, either.
Eau Claire shoppers have a frugal mentality, which makes the often higher-priced foods found at a public market a harder sell, Noel noted. Furthermore, there is a plentiful supply of cheap foods available at existing supermarkets to meet consumers’ demands, he said.
Eau Claire shoppers have a frugal mentality, which makes the often higher-priced foods found at a public market a harder sell, Noel noted. Furthermore, there is a plentiful supply of cheap foods available at existing supermarkets to meet consumers’ demands, he said.
As part of the research, meetings were conducted with vendors and food entrepreneurs, and such suppliers offered only noncommittal support for a public market, Noel said. Few of them wanted to be involved in retailing from the more permanent, brick-and-mortar space a public market would provide.
If you were a big fan of the idea of a public market, all of this is the bad news. So here’s the good news. Spitzer, the consultant, believes there are enough assets – including farmers markets, brewpubs, farm-to-fork restaurants, etc. – in Eau Claire to do something that will help coalesce and expand the city’s food scene. Noel says the consultant has recommended creating a “market district” downtown that would brand the neighborhood around food and culture. Part of this could be a hybrid public market that would be driven by private entrepreneurs instead of public spending.
“It’s pretty bold,” Noel said of the concept of a market district, “and I think we’re still wrestling with what it all looks like.”
The consultant’s preferred site for such a development is an area known as Block 7 – currently a city-owned parking lot at the corner of Wisconsin and North Barstow streets. The city’s Redevelopment Authority owns the block and is seeking a private developer to build there. A market-oriented development could involve a grocery store, a restaurant that also housed vendors, or any number of other related combinations of food-related businesses, Noel said.
The Cannery District – the name given to a largely vacant former industrial area north of Madison Street along the Chippewa River – was initially considered an appealing site for a public market because of its history (there were canneries there decades ago) as well as because of the hope it could be a catalyst for reviving the neighborhood in much the same way as the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market was for the North Barstow area. The city’s Redevelopment Authority, which owns much of the property in the district, is still formulating a long-term vision for the neighborhood, and the consultant’s report may impact that, said Mike Schatz, the city’s economic development administrator.
Tuesday, Jul. 12th, 2016
Talking with Michael Brown, the creative director of the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival, just a handful of weeks before the homegrown fest opens the gates for its second year, there’s this idea that keeps coming up: This is a festival that’s still trying to be understood.
With acts like The National, Sufjan Stevens, the Indigo Girls, and Spoon along for the ride, last year’s inaugural musical successes were lauded pretty heavily, but what truly made this festival unique was that second word in the masthead: Arts.
“These projects are meant to put you in the mindset that you’re a part of this and you’re participating ... It’s everybody coming together and making something.” – Michael Brown, creative director, Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival
HOTTEA’s rainbow-colored yarn streams, the “Big Eaux” sign lit up with custom projection-mapping, the domes with all kinds of noisy and strange experiments going on inside, the quirky staging of performance piece “Forever Love,” confessing your sins to Astronautalis, and parades marching through the grounds like clockwork all would’ve made for one heck of a weekend even if the indie rock brass didn’t show up.
This year’s musical lineup, which includes Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, James Blake, Beach House, Bruce Hornsby, and a huge Grateful Dead tribute, has been out there for a while now. But when you hear about some of the experiential art installations and performances, it really starts to become real as you envision yourself there taking in the Eaux Claires experience once again.
People who are only thinking about what bands they’re going to see are missing a really substantial chunk of what this festival is about. And with an art program of 26 different installations and performances – almost double last year’s number – the experience of being there is taking hold as one of the festival’s most exciting features.
“The goal isn’t necessarily for the festival to be a showcase of art. It’s to break down the barrier of people expecting to just see music on stages,” Brown said frankly. “It’s about how different genres of art can come together and blur the lines between each other. And hopefully it becomes a whole big mash of everything. That’s kind of what this festival is.”
This year’s slate of art is keenly ambitious, invites an array of collaboration, gets attendees involved, and goes bigger and bolder than ever.
It won’t get much bigger than “Baroque,” an enormous, ornate cuboid structure of metal mesh by Italian sculptor Edoardo Tresoldi. It’s essentially a massive baroque organ in the center of the grounds where the likes of world-renowned organist James McVinnie and Griffin McMahon will periodically produce sweet tones throughout the weekend. It’s a sharp and lovely redefinition of musical performance and fine art.
Along the banks of the Chippewa River, Portugal-based artist collective THNDRPPL (which includes Eau Claire native Trever Hagen) will lay down “RIVERPODS,” a series of installations that gives the nuances of the Chippewa’s flow a visual representation with underwater recordings and more. And after nightfall, the pods illuminate with glimmering reactive light.
What was a VIP area last year will be transformed into a quieter public space that acts as a reprieve from festival overload. It’s a wide area where people can rest and chill. A smaller stage will be set up for the lineup’s more ambient/classical performances by “Bonnie” Prince Billy, eighth blackbird, and Bryce Dessner, all vibed out by a floral installation called “Momentary Passing” by Riley Messina.
Artists Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels and VNESSWOLFCHILD will construct a small temple out in the woods off the beaten path for festivalgoers to explore, while Menomonie’s Oxbow Designs developed “Oxbeaux,” a wooded stage that uses traditional Asian design and a stone plinth foundation. S. Carey and others will perform on the Oxbeaux stage during the festival.
An interactive installation called “The Musical Fence” is a big structure with tuned pipes you can run your hands down or create your own music with. “The ChippewaLL,” similarly, will allow fest-goers to make music together with a chiptune-voiced musical wall with nodes that detect hand movements to trigger different notes. Eau Claire’s Dwarfcraft Devices will create what’s called the “Tripolith,” an audio-visual instrument that is controlled by three separate panels where you can twist knobs and tweak frequencies while screens react to the sounds nearby.
There will also be a handful of experimental video artists with work on screens, and a screening of Silently Steal Away, a documentary directed by former local filmmaker Andrew Swant about Jack Raymond, the legendary and mysterious Chippewa Valley radio host and his long-running, little changing radio show. Meanwhile, the festival has added some literary elements with renowned writers and speakers, some of whom will give 60-second private readings to one person at a time.
This year, the festival sent out an open call for artists from around the globe to submit their work for consideration. What started as one such submission turned into a full-on collaboration between Eaux Claires and Minnesota artist and teacher Gregory Euclide (who did the artwork for Bon Iver’s second album Bon Iver, Bon Iver). On his breaks, Euclide would quickly draw gorgeous abstract landscapes on the whiteboard in his classroom, and when students came in he would make one of them erase the beautiful work to show them that you can create in any confines and be OK with destruction. At the festival, Euclide will do massive dry-erase works on a huge cylinder, and each person that enters the festival will be given an eraser to “destroy” a small section of it, illustrating the fleeting nature of the weekend. Euclide will also have a few ornate dioramas buried underground across the grounds, only visible via porthole to those who stumble upon them.
See what I mean? This is the stuff that takes your run-of-the-mill, bands-on-stages music festival presumptions and rockets them into the stratosphere. For Brown, the name of the game is to be unique, take risks, and invite attendees into this art-filled, two-day, creative shared experience of weirdness.
“Art should be an instrument for you to expand your mind and approach things from a different perspective,” Brown said. “When you’re in a situation where there’s a band up on stage and an audience out front, you can lose that sense of daring and that sense of exploration. These projects are meant to put you in the mindset that you’re a part of this and you’re participating. It’s also just the feeling that there’s creation happening around you. It’s everybody coming together and making something.”
The Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival is Aug. 12 and 13 at the festival grounds south of Eau Claire. For tickets and more information, including a full slate of musicians and artists, visit www.eauxclaires.com.