Bon Iver, in their first performance since 2012, will headline the inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival, curated by the band’s frontman Justin Vernon and the National’s Aaron Dessner. The latter band will also perform at the 2015 event, alongside eclectic acts like Spoon, Sufjan Stevens, Low, the Tallest Man on Earth, Poliça, Doomtree, Boys Noize and Indigo Girls (performing their fifth LP, Swamp Ophelia). The festival – named after the French spelling of Eau Claire, Wisconsin – will take place at the city’s Foster Farm on July 17th and 18th. Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 12th at 12 p.m. CST via the Eaux Claires website.
Vernon and Dessner announced the full lineup in an artful teaser video, which explained the mindset behind the idyllic Wisconsin setting and their goal to “infiltrate the idea of a festival with new ideas,” as Vernon says. “As far as this idea, there’s kind of a very rich musical history here, but it’s not exactly ever been put on display,” he continues. “It’s a pretty diverse, bizarro group of acts and art and expression.”
The 20-acre Foster Farm, set against a backdrop of the serene Chippewa River, will offer three stages along with “unexpected venues throughout the grounds,” according to a press release. Creative Director Michael Brown is curating the festival’s visual elements, including stage designs and installation art from designers and artists both locally and nationally recognized. The festival will feature “surprising collaborations across artistic mediums and many other creative and experiential elements,” along with locally sourced food and beverage.
Vernon and Dessner curated the genre-spanning 40-act lineup, which spotlights a number of veteran and emerging Midwestern artists, including ambient chamber-folk artist/Eau Claire native S. Carey (who also drums in Bon Iver), Wisconsin alt-folk sextet PHOX, Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree, improvisational Twin Cities electronic act Marijuana Deathsquads and Milwaukee-based folk act Field Report. Other artists include funk-soul singer Charles Bradley, acclaimed folk duo Hiss Golden Messenger, classical-pop ensemble yMusic, experimental woodwind player Colin Stetson, dance-pop outfit Sylvan Esso, indie-pop band Givers, black-metal veterans Liturgy, gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama, country singer Sturgill Simpson and Japanese noise outfit Melt-Banana.
The festival’s official schedule will be released at a later date.