Hello from the Chippewa Valley.
When we first announced the Eaux Claires festival, our world was frozen beneath the snow. Now the countryside is deeply green and getting greener.
One of the exhilarating aspects of this festival is that it has given Justin, myself, and all of our creative cohorts the opportunity to work on projects that we otherwise wouldn’t have the platform to pursue. Whether its watching Mike Perry’s pen narrate the festival’s “voice” in letters and bios that aptly and ambiguously convey our eclectic lineup, or hearing of Aaron Dessner’s adventures with his brother, Bryce, in Iceland creating NEW music and NEW art with Ragnar Kjartansson, I have been privy and party to many marvelous moments of creation. Sometimes we’re so occupied (and excited) by the tasks at hand we forget to share them with the very people powering us–you. So today I’ve come to the keyboard to reveal a few more elements and oddments of the festival.
Months ago, as we were conceptualizing and brainstorming the different aspects of this festival, Justin would scribble his thoughts and ideas in a series of Field Notes. (If you’re not familiar with Field Notes, they’re small, pocket-sized journals, intended to be always at hand in the event you need to “notate” in the moment. Their distinctive appearance is the work of Draplin Design—who, by the way, worked with Justin and I to create the Eaux Claires logo. (Thanks, Draplin!)
After scribbling his way through several of these mighty little notebooks over the course of those incubation sessions, Justin felt compelled—then INSISTED—that everyone coming to this festival should have something similar. Something tangible that acts as a keepsake, guide, portal, and record of their experience at the festival. And so began an attempt to fashion a simple journal to make sure every festival attendee could walk away with something to remember the summer. You’d not realize it if I didn’t share it with you now, but all of the band logos in our Field Journal were designed by Justin, his rough takes scribed in one of his own Field Notes to be refined by our graphic designer:
We were going to spring it on you as a surprise gift when you entered the festival gates. But it’s more fun to share it with you now. Here’s an edited digital version of the free Field Journal we’re giving to every festival attendee:
We don’t have to make these for everyone, but we want to make these for everyone. It’s fun for us and hopefully will be fun for you to stumble upon 15 years from now and remember just what happened on a weekend along the Chippewa River in 2015.
At the end of the journal you will find a crude line map of the festival grounds. I feel like the genesis of the names on that map is also worth sharing so you know WHY things are named as they are. To that end, I dredged the archives for the email I sent to Justin and our team the morning after we named everything:
“Oh the night that was, as what emerged from a bit of laughter, and drops of whiskey will forever be known as…”
Eaux Claires Full Stage Names:
Lake Eaux Lune (Location: Main Stage)-
Lake Eau Lune translates to “Moon Lake Water” in the blending of our english-french-fantastical world. This name is an homage to the well known Wisconsin body of water, Half Moon Lake. From this point forward the nickname for this stage will be “The Lake”
Flambeaux (Location: River Stage)-
The Flambeau river is a tributary of the Chippewa River in Wisconsin. Fitting, as our Flambeaux stage is also a tributary of the Chippewa River. From this point forward the nickname for this stage will be “The River”
St. Coix Village (Location: The other side of our festival)
The St. Croix river is a tributary of the Mississippi river in Wisconsin. Just like most things in Wisconsin, no one knows how to pronounce it. Our version is pronounced “Kwaah.” The difference with our spelling is that we’re dropping the r. The venues of the St. Coix village are the specific river related terms that describe its ficticous features.
The Dells (of the St. Coix)- Our Tent Stage
Dells is a specific term in Wisconsin that refers to a glacially formed gorge that overlooks the river…or in our instance, our largest stage in that area.
The Banks (of the St. Coix)- 44′ Geodesic Dome
Based off of the term “the banks of a river.” Our Projection Based Performance Dome where the video happens along the edges of the stage, or the banks…
The Mouth (of the St. Coix)-30′ Geodesic Dome
Based off of the term the mouth of a river. In this performance space, our evangelical rap confessional preacher, Astronautilus ,will proclaim to the heavens that he is “The MOUTH OF THE ST. COIX!!)
The Channel (of the St. Coix)- 30′ Geodesic Dome
Based off of the term the channel of a river, this venue continues the river vernacular and plays into the video display of television and audio function in these domes. Hold on as the tinkering and glitchwork in that dome will be trance-like.
The Nicknames altogether:
So there you have it. A little history and a little sharing. I hope to share more before we all meet at the big dance. Just know, if there is radio silence, it’s because we’re cooking up something special….
And thank you.
-Michael Brown, Creative Director