National buzz builds around Eaux Claires

Mike Paulus

Here's a quick roundup of articles about and lists including the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival, all set for July this summer. Please do check out Volume One's own interview with Justin Vernon and Arron Dessner, as well as our infographic mapping connections betwixt the festival's bands.

Consequence of Sound placed Eaux Claires at #5 in their Top 10 Music Festivals in North America: Winter 2015 Power Rankings, saying this:

When Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon announced he was launching a new music festival, it came across as self-indulgent. The US has seen a ridiculous influx in festivals, and, as a result, many burnt out due to hefty competition. Even with The National’s Aaron Dessner by his side picking acts, Vernon’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival seemed fairly predictable. Bon Iver would reunite. The National would probably play. Wisconsin would bring out the usual applauded folk acts. When the lineup began to drop, however, it was clear Vernon and Dessner had something else in mind. As excellent as Low and The Tallest Man on Earth are, the outliers here are what give this festival its bizarre allure. Melt-Banana? Spooky Black? Boys Noize? Let’s not forget Sufjan Stevens and Spoon are sitting gracefully at the top lines, too, promising magical sets in the woods. It all seems a little unreal. So yeah, count us in.

Consequence of Sound also plugged the festival in their Top 10 Unique Gets for 2015 Music Festivals list – at #2 – citing the bombastic addition of Melt Banana to the lineup. They say:

What the hell are Melt Banana? I mean, I know they’re a band, but what are they? Is it punk rock? Is it noise rock? Is it rock at all, or is it electronica or pop? The Japanese act aren’t quite special snowflakes, but more a cake baked with every candy you ever bought, making one colossal sugary treat. Will they be focused more on their modern stuff, the work they recorded as a duo, or go more into the real punk era of things? Why in the name of god are they only playing a handful of shows in America? So many questions, Melt Banana. Eaux Claires has the answers.

Even the New York Times is excited, featuring the festival in Anticipating Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Firefly and More  they add:

Justin Vernon, the songwriter behind Bon Iver and a sometime collaborator with Kanye West, is behind Eaux Claires, a new festival in his hometown, Eau Claire, Wisc., July 17-18; he and Aaron Dessner, a guitarist in the National, chose a lineup encompassing not only their own bands and other indie-rock groups but also chamber music, Japanese noise-rock, country, black metal, soul revivalism and electropop. With luck, it will do what festivals should: give listeners something new to love.

Billboard's on board, announcing Bon Iver to Perform at Eaux Claires Music Festival With Spoon, The National, Sufjan Stevens & More, talking with Vernon and company:

Ever the humble Midwesterner, Justin Vernon declines being "self-centered" twice during his conversation with Billboard. "I've always wanted to throw a big party with everything I would want at a place, and assumed other people want the same people there," he says of the festival. "It's self-centered, but at the same time we got the opportunity to do it, so here we are."

And lest we forget, even before the Eaux Claires lineup was announced, Fest 300 went ahead and named it one of the 15 Live Music Festivals to Attend in 2015, placing it at #3.

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