FESTIVAL FRENZY: The Lowdown on Eight Big Summer Music Fests in the Valley
here’s what to look for during the Chippewa Valley’s 2022 festival season
Whether you're into blues, rock, metal, country, bluegrass, pop, or any other musical genre, there is a music festival for you to dive into this summer in the Chippewa Valley. We’ve gathered a quick list to help you find the festival of your dreams, and we promise you’ll find somewhere to bang your head at some point this season (if that’s what you’re into, of course).
Northwoods Blues Festival
WHEN: June 17-18
WHERE: Riverfront. Park, Chippewa Falls
After a significant move to Chippewa Falls’ beautiful new amphitheater in Riverfront Park, the Northwoods Blues Festival – which originated in Spooner a few years ago – is ready to blow the doors off during its two-day celebration of all things blues. Get ready for ecstatic summer vibes with beloved blues tunes from a lineup chock full of rockers from all over the region, like The Bobs of Blues (Bob Margolin, Bob Corritore, and Bob Stroger), John Primer, Chris Beard, Mike Zito, Victor Wainwright and The Train, Damon Fowler, and The Tommy Bentz Band.
For more information on this rockin’ blues event, visit northwoodsbluesfest.com.
WHEN: June 23-35
WHERE: Festival Grounds, Cadott
Year after year after year (in fact it’s more like 30+ years), Cadott staple Country Fest has brought tons of seriously huge names in country music to our fair Valley, and there’s no sign it will stop anytime soon. This year is all about sunshine and good times with a killer lineup of country stars including Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Chase Rice, Gabby Barrett, Locash, Dylan Scott, Mitchell Tenpenny, Sara Evans, Michael Ray, Rodney Atkins, and dozens more of country’s biggest acts. Throughout the festival, there will be music on four different stages, including a local stage featuring Branded, among others. There will be a Wednesday night kickoff event for three-day ticket holders as well featuring an exclusive headline performance by Phil Vassar.
Throughout the country-fried festival, there will also be games, hammocks, and other things to keep you entertained all weekend long.
For more information, visit countryfest.com.
Blue Ox Music Festival
WHEN: June 23-25
WHERE: Whispering Pines Campground, Eau Claire
One of the most unique festivals in the Chippewa Valley, in terms of both setting and lineup, is the Blue Ox Music Festival. The event takes place at Whispering Pines Campground, where pine trees and sunsets create a perfectly idyllic setting for an eclectic collection of the finest country and bluegrass performers. Performers stopping by the welcoming Whispering Pines Campground this year include favorites Pert Near Sandstone, Old Crow Medicine Show, Bela Fleck My Bluegrass Heart, Railroad Earth, and the Sam Bush Band. Rounding out this year’s lineup will be Punch Brothers, Paul Cauthen, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Cedric Burnside, Daniel Donato, and local favorites Them Coulee Boys, among others.
In addition to the toe-tappin' sets, Blue Ox offers other activities to enjoy like a soothing Soul Sanctuary, instrument workshops, late-night performances on the Backwoods Stage, art installations, and family-friendly entertainment for the kiddos.
For more information, visit blueoxmusicfestival.com.
WHEN: July 13-16
WHERE: Festival Grounds, Cadott
Many years ago, the rock gods blessed a patch of land in central Wisconsin, saw that it was good, and every year since Rock Fest has brought undeniable rock ’n’ roll legends to the Chippewa Valley for four days worth of head-bangin’ anthems. This year is no exception as Rock Fest and its wider community of rock fans welcome the likes of Disturbed, Shinedown, Evanescence, Mudvayne, Halestorm, Lamb of God, Jelly Roll, Skillet, Nothing More, From Ashes to New, Spiritbox, Black Veil Brides, Warrant, Firehouse, and Otherwise to continue the legend. Add to that a few killer tribute bands, tattoo parlors aplenty, local acts like Motherwind, and even a chapel of love, and you’ll get it: Rock Fest is not to be missed. Oh, and if you buy a three-day ticket, you’ll get to enjoy their Wednesday night Bonus Bash featuring Islander, Lita Ford, and nearly a dozen other acts.
And when you’re taking a break from the bangers, enjoy live professional wrestling, giant games, relaxation stations, and tons of other attractions.
For more information, visit rock-fest.com.
WHEN: JULY 21-23
WHERE: Country Jam USA Grounds, Eau Claire
For the annual celebration of all things country – from the cowboy boots to the beer – Jam is a country lover’s dream, and it’s just a couple of miles outside Eau Claire. For 2022, Country Jam continues its legacy of garnering huge names in country music to celebrate summer in our own backyard. This year they’ve got Cody Johnson, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch, Scotty McCreery, Clay Walker, Jordan Davis, Diamond Rio, Larry Fleet, Eric Chesser, Jimmie Allen, Elvie Shane, Chris Lane, Tracy Byrd, Ashley Cooke, and local celebrity (and The Voice alumnus) Chris Kroeze stopping by the friendly Chippewa Valley festival.
While all the music is chugging along, you’ll also have access to plentiful food and drink options, including some of the finest alcoholic beverages this side of Leinenkugel’s. And don’t you worry, the best party is always at the campground, with spots available right now. For the pure Wisconsinite inside you, there’s nothing quite like Country Jam.
For more information, visit countryjamwi.com.
Blues on the Chippewa
WHEN: August 4-6
WHERE: Downtown, Durand
One of the area’s bluesiest annual festivals is back with one of its most impressive lineups to date. This year Durand is bringing blues artists Pokey Lafarge, Malina Moye, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Cros, Left Wing Bourbon, and local legends Howard Luedtke & Blue Max, among others.
A unique aspect of the festival is it is free for all to attend, with organizers urging fans to make donations throughout the weekend to support various charities. In the past, they’ve supported the Durand Food Pantry, Pepin County Humane Society, senior citizens programs, and the Pepin County Historical Society. It’s shaping up to be another memorable year for the bolstering event.
For more information, visit bluesonthechippewa.com.
WHEN: July 29-31
WHERE: Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, Chippewa Falls
This family-friendly Christian music festival brings some big names in contemporary Christian music to perform alongside local acts. Taking place at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls, this praiseworthy festival is bringing Crowder, Sidewalk Prophets, Maddie Rey, Matthew West, Mac Powell, Tasha Layton, Austin French, Eagle Brook Music, One Way North, and others to the Chippewa Valley. There will also be a slew of family-friendly options available for kiddos as well.
For more information, visit one-fest.com.
Ashley for the Arts
WHEN: August 11-13
WHERE: Memorial Park, Arcadia
Every year, Ashley Furniture throws a huge three-day party and gives tons of money to nonprofits to celebrate their success in their hometown of Arcadia. Ashley For The Arts always sports one of the most interesting lineups of musical headliners in the Valley, and 2022 continues that trend with acts including Brantley Gilbert, Train, Morgan Wade, Night Ranger, Cole Swindell, Brooks & Dunn, Danielle Bradbery, and Phillip Phillips. They’ve even got some hot local artists on tap as well, including Arch Allies, Tuned Up, and Wisconsin’s own The Voice alumnus, Chris Kroeze.
See some awesome music, run the 5K, check out the car show, ride in a hot-air balloon, and bring the whole family for a family-friendly weekend of appreciation for the arts.
For more information, visit ashleyforthearts.com.