Attendees at this weekend’s Eaux Claires Arts & Music Festival in Wisconsin this weekend will get a special treat on Friday night when the fest’s co-founder Justin Vernon takes the stage. Vernon has teased that he will debut his new Bon Iver album on Friday night at the two-day festival, which he launched in 2015 on Foster Farm in Eau Clair, Wisc., along with The National’s Aaron Dessner.
On June 9, Vernon tweeted from his official account that “Bon Iver will be playing a set made of NEW music this august @EauxClairesWI.”
for anyone who wants to know…
Bon Iver will be playing a set made of NEW music this august @EauxClairesWI
— blobtower (@blobtower) June 9, 2016
Fans have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to the 2011 self-titled Bon Iver debut, which landed the 35-year-old singer a Best New Artist Grammy in 2012. A few months after his Grammy triumph, though, Vernon said in an interview that he planned to “walk away” from the Bon Iver project. Now it seems he’s reversed field again and will play new Bon Iver music at the festival, which will also feature sets from James Blake, Jenny Lewis, Erykah Badu and Indonesian experimentalists Senyawa. A spokesperson for Bon Iver could not be reached for comment at press time.
The wind-up to new Bon Iver music began last month when the group uploaded a bizarre 22-second video titled “#22days” with what sounded like a bit of new music and the lyrics “it might be over soon.”
That video happened to drop 22 days before, yup, this Friday.
On Tuesday, there was a series of new artwork posted on the Bon Iver Instagram page and, according to Stereogum, a “22 Days” mural appeared in Brooklyn this week with an image similar to Bon Iver’s new Insta avatar.
— Stereogum (@stereogum) August 9, 2016
Vernon’s Bon Iver alter ego broke through in 2007 with For Emma, Forever Ago and following the 2011 album he kept busy with a number of side-projects, one-offs and contributions to other artist’s albums. In 2011 he hooked up with James Blake on the single “Fall Creek Boys Choir,” released an album with his Volcano Choir side project in 2013, recorded music with another side project, Shouting Matches, contributed vocals and samples to Kanye West’s Yeezus album and recorded a new Bon Iver song (“Heavenly Father”) for the soundtrack to 2014’s Wish I Was Here. He also appeared on Blake’s 2016 song, “I Need a Forest Fire.”
And though he once again claimed he planned to mothball Bon Iver last July, he performed two new BI songs at the 2015 Eaux Claires fest and then reversed field again in February, telling Billboard tht he was “no longer winding down” Bon Iver and that he’d gained perspective on his career over the past few years. “I’ve definitely been working on music,” he said at the time.