Opening Letters

Tune Talking: evolutions in V1’s Thursday night concerts

more space, new offerings, and a crowd-funding mission for the musicians

Nick Meyer |

Every year we at Volume One are in awe of what this community has made of the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series on Thursday nights in Phoenix Park. With well over 1,000 people coming out each week, the event has become a major summer mainstay. So much so that it almost feels like a weekly festival by the river. Well in the name of its continued growth and evolution, we’re excited to announce some changes to this years’ series – things we believe will take that vibe even further.

The first set of changes will be obvious: We’re expanding the grounds to create more space for you, the concertgoer. Starting this summer, the food vendors will have their own space along a path just a few feet north of the concert area, between the Farmers Market restrooms and the Labyrinth (see the illustrated map above). And the event’s sponsors will have their own space too, right along the main sidewalk. So all those tents and tables that have been taking up precious space for the audience will have a bit more breathing room of their own, while still being completely accessible for you to go check them out.

What’s more, we’re partnering with Visit Eau Claire to add some fun stuff to the “Great Lawn” area of the park. That’s the big open space between the concert and the Farmers’ Market building, next to the restrooms. Visit Eau Claire’s “Fun Patrol” will be there with yard games and frisbees, and each week they’ll be giving away a full kubb set (just like the ones we sell in The Local Store) if you stop by and register.

And finally, we’re partnering with the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin to offer a “bike valet” service, also near the new restrooms. As you’re likely well aware, parking is going to become more and more of a scarcity around the time of the concerts. But there’s an easy solution that actually adds to your enjoyment of the evening anyway: biking to the concerts!  Once there, you can take advantage of this fun service. To use it, all you have to do is pull up on your bike and they’ll stash it safely with others in a little corral and give you a ticket. Just by doing so you’ll be registered for a nightly prize. Plus the Bike Fed will have a bunch of helpful bike-related info for the taking – they’re a great organization you’ll be hearing more about soon.

Sounds Like Summer, August, 2012.
Sounds Like Summer, August, 2012.

So those are all the on-site changes this year, but another new component for 2013 is a crowd-funding campaign to pay the bands more (and you can see that full line-up at Musicians are an important part of the Eau Claire community, and we want to make sure they get paid what they’re worth. Local business sponsors pay for all the overhead costs associated with the Concert Series in Phoenix Park – things like sound, park rental, insurance, permits, promotion, and more. But so far that has only included a small stipend for the 39 acts (roughly 150-plus musicians) that play each summer. To make sure our community’s musicians are paid better going forward, we’re now turning to the tens of thousands of people who come throughout the summer to kick in some cash to keep our music and arts scene strong. You can donate whatever is right for you and your family – $10, $25, $50 or more! It all goes to supporting the culture of quality music in the Chippewa Valley.

To get the fundraising started, Volume One has deposited $1,500 towards our goal of $7,000. If we raise the full amount, it will ensure each featured act (there are usually two each night) receives no less than $250, and each short solo “acoustic opener” receives $25. You can donate right at the Volume One tent on-site, or you can visit to safely donate online.  

We hope these changes will go towards making the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series more enjoyable and sustainable for everybody. If you have any other ideas or comments about the event, feel free to email us directly at or stop by and talk to us at the tent this summer.  See you soon!

  Chippewa Valley Growers
  Cascades Tissue Group
  Gordy’s County Market
  Hillside Dental
  Ken Vance Motors
  Sacred Heart Hospital
  Royal Credit Union
  Schleppenbach Family Chiropractic

  9 Degrees Ice Cream
  The Big Weeny
  Burrachos Fresh Mexican Grill
  Gloria Jean’s Coffees
  Summer Snow
  Tutto Bene Wood Fired Pizza 
  Whiskeys Grill and Bar

  Visit Eau Claire
  Wisconsin Bike Federation
  The Fire House (After Party!)