Thank You

This one we won’t wrap in any mystery: Thank you.

Many deep frozen months ago, when we released a chattering, stuttering, video clip haunted by a disrupted, distorted narrator invoking swampy swamps and exploding clover blooms and twitching larvae—we weren’t sure. When we offered tickets with no details—we weren’t sure. When we followed country with rap, when we spoke of yarn in the sky and confession and mystery rainbow trails—we weren’t sure.

And then we started telling ourselves something: Trust the audience.

Trust. The audience.

And then you showed up and wound those three words together in the most beautiful braid.

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to the crews, the volunteers, the drivers, the people who stood duty endless hours to keep us safe in place, and to see us safely home.

But even in the thanks above we owe you thanks, because so many of those people remarked on your amiability, your willingness to go with the flow, your general goodness.

If we are to maintain your trust, there are things to fix. There are things to improve. That is what we are about today.

For now we are left with the simplest of words.

Thank you.


This post is a must-read for everyone who likes to plan and keep up to date on surprises.

The past couple of months we’ve been working on a mobile app that allows you to plan your schedule in a more efficient manner, and also allows us a better way to announce surprises to you.

With that being said, we’re happy to share the official EAUX CLAIRES mobile app for iOS and Android users. The links for these are below:

iOS EAUX CLAIRES mobile app

Android EAUX CLAIRES mobile app

In this app you’re going to find the typical things you might expect from a festival mobile app: a map, some info on the installations, some info on the lineup, etc. But we’ve also included a couple of features that I feel are essential for everyone to maximize their experience at Eaux Claires:


The first feature is that you can plan and customize your daily schedule so that you can figure out all the acts that you want to see ahead of time and easily visualize this list via the app during the event. Dig deep in this section. There are a lot of useful features to view the entire lineup by stage or by times, or by a grid view if you click on the grid icon in the top right corner of the lineup section.


There is an up-to-date map included in the app. Study it and get to know where the stages, art installations, beer, merch tent, and other essentials are located on the grounds. There is a lot of space to cover and explore.

Push Notifications

I know! I know! I hate push notifications on my phone, but seriously, they’re going to be essential to get information to you. Aside from weather emergencies and schedule changes, we’re putting a “Surprise Performances” category in our push notifications so that our team can let you know if there’s a guest collaboration on stage or even an unannounced performance that’s going to happen somewhere on the grounds. IMPORTANT, I guarantee there are going to be surprises during the festival that you won’t want to miss. Turn these on and we’ll try and keep it civil. It will be WORTH IT.

I hope you all enjoy this addition to your festival experience. Tell your friends, remind them to download the app so that we can get information to you. I’ll be hitting you up through Push during the festival.

-Michael Brown, Creative Director

Charity Auction: VIP Passes and More

Link to auction HERE
A gentleman who purchased a 2-Day Enhanced Chippewa Pass to the Eaux Claires festival has been called to duty on short notice. Rather than request a refund, he has asked that we put his pass up for auction and donate the proceeds to charity. In recognition of his thoughtfulness, we’re adding a second Enhanced Chippewa Pass and throwing in a few extra items.

Here’s what you’re bidding for (bidding closes noon CST Monday, July 13):

  • A pair of 2-DAY ENHANCED CHIPPEWA PASSES (all other Chippewa passes are sold out, so this is a rare opportunity).
  • Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago CD signed by Justin Vernon
  • Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver CD signed by Justin Vernon
  • Bon Iver Blood Bank vinyl LP signed by Justin Vernon
  • Signed vinyl LPs from The National: AlligatorBoxerHigh Violet, and Trouble Will Find Me
  • Official Eaux Claires tote bag provided by Ambient Inks
  • 10 official Eaux Claires festival stickers by Ambient Inks
  • 1 copy of Population 485 co-signed by Michael Perry and Justin Vernon.

Proceeds will be donated to TimeOut, a non-profit organization providing domestic violence and sexual assault victim services in the extremely rural and low-income areas of Rusk, Washburn, and Price counties in Wisconsin, and to Family Support Center, established to help women, men and children in the Chippewa County and Eau Claire area end domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence.

Link to auction HERE

Ragnar Kjartansson’s Forever Love: Trees and Longing

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve revealed piecemeal details about the arts component of our festival. Today I’m thrilled to introduce the centerpiece of that element: The world premiere of Forever Love, a work by renowned Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson.

Commissioned by Eaux Claires, Forever Love will serve as the official starting point of the festival on both Friday and Saturday. Blending visual and performance art with live music, the piece is a collaborative song cycle written and performed with Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner from The National, alongside Icelandic artists Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, formerly of the Icelandic band múm.

If you haven’t experienced a live or recorded work from Ragnar, let me explain why I am so eager to witness his Eaux Claires offering: When I saw his work The Visitors in Bilbao, the experience was transformative. He’s quickly become one of the most important figures in the contemporary art world as his performances, drawings, paintings, and video installations toy with the lines between reality and fiction.

Forever Love marks a live performance reunion for The Dessner twins and Kjartansson, as both artists recently collaborated on a six-hour video work, A Lot of Sorrow, which documents The National performing their three and a half minute song, “Sorrow,” for six hours in front of a live audience at MoMA’s PS1 performance space. Here’s what Aaron said when we asked him about the process of working with Ragnar in the past and present:

“We were so amused by Ragnar’s suggestion to play “Sorrow” for six hours straight without stopping that we said yes. It turned out to be one of my favorite experiences in the history of the National. The performance was at turns sad, hilarious, exhausting, deeply moving and cathartic. The song took on other shapes and meanings through the hours. Justin, Michael and I were hopeful Ragnar would be inspired to dream up something new for Eaux Claires. Fortunately he had a vision of twins singing songs about love, loss and longing in the breeze, amidst the trees, by the water. Songs for a summer day. Songs for Eaux Claires.” -Aaron Dessner

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We’re excited and humbled by the opportunity to work with all of the artists affiliated with the first-ever Eaux Claires festival, and we’re furthermore honored to bring world-class art to our own Chippewa Valley.

Thank you for sharing that experience with us. We’ll share more soon…

– Michael Brown, Creative Director


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:

Justin with Logos.jpg_effectedJustin with Notes layout.jpg_effected-001


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:

The Lake 

The River

The Dells

The Banks

The Channel 

The Mouth


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





Q. Can I park my car at my campsite?
A. Yes you can. You will park your vehicle right at your campsite and camp next to it. You will get to/from the festival via the free camping shuttles that will run until everyone is back at the campgrounds.Once in the campgrounds, you will not be able to leave with your vehicle and return unless there is an emergency or a medical reason.

Q. If more than one car doesn’t fit at campsite, where do we park it and how do we get back to the campsite?
A. We encourage you to carpool and bring ONE vehicle to each campsite. If you have a second vehicle and it fits within your designated campsite, you may leave it there. If you have more than two vehicles on one campsite, please email

Q. If I am arriving to the campgrounds on Thursday, will I be able to leave?
A. Once you are in the campgrounds, you should plan on leaving your vehicle there until the festival is over.

Q. If I purchased VIP parking pass, can I leave my car overnight and ride free shuttle?
A. YES, if you purchase a two-day VIP parking pass, you may leave your vehicle overnight. Please do not leave valuables in your vehicles. If you would like to purchase a VIP parking pass, click HERE

Q. Do I have to purchase a parking pass if I am staying in the dorms?
A. Parking is included with dorm room rentals.

Q. Will the shuttles be running all night?
A. Shuttles will run continuously during and after the festival until all attendees are safely returned to their vehicles or lodging locations. There will be ample staff and signage to make sure everyone gets on the correct shuttles!

Q. My hotel is not listed as a shuttle stop, what do I do?
A. The best option is to purchase a parking pass for the CVTC lot and ride the FREE shuttles to/from the festival grounds.

Q. Are hotel shuttles free as well?
A. No. If you are taking a shuttle from your hotel (click HERE for routes) there is a fee that is paid directly to your driver.

Q. What if I don’t want to park in one of the festival’s lots?
A. That’s fine; you can make your way to CVTC lot HERE and take the FREE shuttle to/the festival. Please DO NOT go the UW-EC lot, as those shuttle buses are strictly for dorm guests.

Q. Can I walk to the festival?
A. Yes you can.  If you are planning to walk to the festival, please follow these directions. If walking from the west or the north, please come down Curvue Road MAP HERE and cross Crescent Ave at the crosswalk to enter the festival grounds. If walking from the east, please walk up Crescent Ave on the sidewalk, MAP HERE then cross the street at our designated crosswalk, and follow signage and staff to enter safely through the pedestrian path. Please be advised that law enforcement will be onsite to ensure that walking routes are adhered to for safety.

Q. Can I ride my bike to the festival?
A. Unfortunately, due to the narrow road which leads to the festival and the amount of buses, for safety purposes we cannot accommodate bicycles at the festival.


Art Announcements Part 3 (LEAV)

We are excited to announce that Eaux Claires has partnered with LEAV to provide site specific audio installations amongst the festival grounds for attendees. LEAV is a mobile platform for placing, viewing, and sharing digital art that is both shaped by and linked to specific variables like location, time, and other environmental factors.

LEAV has partnered with Bryce Dessner to create an interactive experience that allows audiences to discover Dessner’s Music for Wood and Strings in a way otherwise impossible. Wander the Eaux Claires festival grounds with your iPhone to reveal the composer’s intricate counterpoints, striking rhythms, and vibrant harmonies as a creative participant in your listening experience. In addition to Dessner’s interactive piece, Eaux Claires Narrator, Michael Perry, will collaborate with LEAV to create site-specific audio works to accompany the experience of festival-goers as they walk across the grounds.


Population 485 Giveaway


Michael Perry Signing


Justin Vernon & Michael Perry


Justin Vernon and author Michael Perry co-sign 50 copies of Perry’s book, Population 485. “This book specifically and devastatingly defines the admiration and deep relationship I have for and with northwestern Wisconsin,” says Justin Vernon. Email with a copy of your two-day ticket receipt and you will be entered for a chance to win one of these signed books!

Art Announcements (Part 1)

Spring has come to the Chippewa Valley and we couldn’t be happier to share some news with you.  We’re beginning to announce the details of our art program. Eric Christenson from Volume One in Eau Claire has posted a great teaser that’s worth reading. You can find the link here:

Eaux Claires Art 2015

This program means a lot to us and begins to focus on some of the other artistic goals that Justin, Aaron, and myself sought out to achieve through the festival in its first year. I encourage everyone to participate, engage, and above all, keep an open mind. This is experimentation with an adventurous sense and will hopefully be a learning experience for all of us.

We’ll keep sharing, just keep checking in…

-Michael Brown (Creative Director)

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Let’s Break it Down

Over the course of the campaign we will be sharing content on our social media platforms and the Eaux Claires website—these posts will include many different actions to encourage and support voting. Key to success and central to the message: Act now; don’t wait until the last minute.