Just before Halloween this year, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (a.k.a. Bonnie Bear), received approval to host the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisc. from July 17-18. Pre-sale tickets for the event, which falls the same weekend as Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, go on sale at noon CST on Thursday, Dec. 18. The lineup will be released in early 2015.
Vernon, who is curating Eaux Claires with the National's Aaron Dessner, had some lengthy words to share in a release: "After several years of touring and playing music festivals of all different types around the world, I wanted to put together an event that would honor what we love about this place -- including an independent attitude and blaze orange caps -- but also shine a light on less familiar and surprising elements that are already weaving themselves into our future. Having this festival right in my backyard gives me and the guest artists a chance to share familiar work and new creations in a setting close to my heart and different than any other stage in the world. To create this event within view of the Chippewa River -- the very river that defines this place -- makes it all the more meaningful. We're fortunate because the Chippewa Valley already has a history of great music festivals. Everyone -- the city, the county, and the Country Jam folks -- has been very supportive. They're helping us take it beyond music and into a celebration of film, art, and things still in the works . . . just walking around the place is going to be an experience."
Eaux Claires will be held on Foster Farm, which is also the site of next year's Country Jam, and is set to feature music, light, and art installations, three stages, and locally sourced food and drink options. The festival will be produced by Crash Line Productions, which also puts on Boston Calling Music Festival, another Dessner curation; hence the connection.
Of the festival, he says, "Justin and I have been friends and collaborators for years. Working together to create and curate Eaux Claires is something we've been talking about for a long time. To finally see it come together, and to imagine the music, art and community the festival will bring together, is very exciting."
Vernon announced that Bon Iver was "winding down" in 2012 and has since been involved in various projects, from Kanye West's Yeezus to avant-garde saxophonist Colin Stetson's New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light and the gorgeous ghost-folk of Volcano Choir. And let's not forget that workout video. As for Dessner, he and his twin brother Bryce have amassed an extensive, impressive list of accomplishments outside of the National, including curating Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Red Hot Organization's various AIDS charity compilations (e.g. Dark Was the Night), and of course the National's Game of Thrones song, "Rains of Castamere."
Pre-sale tickets start at $100, as do a limited number of three-night camping passes. Two-day enhanced "Chippewa" tickets, which include complementary beverages on festival grounds during show hours, are $200. Head on over to Eaux Claires' official website to purchase tickets and find out more information on the festival as you wait out the long, cold months until the summer.