Last year, Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Volcano Choir announced they would collaborate on a project new for each of the accomplished artists—organizing a music festival.
Dessner and Vernon connected while recording Dark Was the Night, a compilation album benefitting HIV / AIDS research, and quickly became friends after writing the song “Big Red Machine” by e-mail. They continued to collaborate musically and kicked around the idea to create their own music festival in Vernon’s home base of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
On February 12, tickets for the inaugural Eaux Claires music and arts festival went on sale to the public, a day after the founders revealed the complete—and utterly impressive—musical lineup.
Eaux Claires, spelled after the original French name of the town, will be held on July 17 and 18 in the rolling green fields of Foster Farms (3443 Crescent Avenue, Eau Claire). In this idyllic setting festival-goers will hear an outstanding variety indie and alternative bands including Blind Boys of Alabama, Charles Bradley, Field Report, Haley Bonar, PHOX, Poliça, and The Tallest Man on Earth.
Veteran hip hop collective Doomtree, one of Time’s 14 Artists to Watch in 2014 Lizzo, City Pages Best New Hip Hop Artist in 2014 Allan Kingdom, and up-and-coming artist Spooky Black will also be taking the mic throughout the weekend. Duluth native Alan Sparhawk will be doing double-duty, playing with Low and Retribution Gospel Choir. Perhaps the most surprising act to grace this year’s lineup is the Indigo Girls, who will be performing their 1994 album Swamp Ophelia in its entirety.
But Vernon and Dessner made waves with the February 11 announcement that Spoon, The National, and Bon Iver would headline the festival. With this good of a lineup, the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival could quickly become the next premiere music festival not only in the Midwest, but the country.
More information about Eaux Claires and tickets are available the festival website.
Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival Lineup
July 17–18, 2015
Blind Boys of Alabama
Francis and the Lights
Hiss Golden Messenger
Indigo Girls performing Swamp Ophelia
No BS! Brass Band
Retribution Gospel Choir
Spooky Black (Corbin)
The Found Footage Festival
The Lone Bellow
The Tallest Man On Earth