Eaux Claires is the latest national music festival to take the auditory world by storm. It just so happens that our site is primarily comprised of people who are from the very city where Eaux Claires takes place. The 2016 lineup has been announced so we wanted to run through the Cult staff and friends to get some opinions on our "local" festival's lineup announcement.
I knew right when Justin Vernon tweeted filtered photos of cassette tapes drenched in early morning light reflected off the Chippewa River that the Eaux Claires lineup was not going to be boasting much of the music that I am into. A quick scan of the list verified this initial hunch, as there were very few recognizable names that stuck out.
Truly, last year’s Eaux Claires lineup, with Allan Kingdom, The Tallest Man on Earth, the National, Spooky Black, and Sylvan Esso shits on this year, but nonetheless, I will be attending this festival to see the few acts I dig; to drink a lot of suds with my childhood friends; and to inevitably run into multiple ex-boyfriends in one single bar on Water Street.
Highlights include Erykah Badu, James Blake (especially with the upcoming release of Radio Silence), Vince Staples, Tickle Torture, Sloslylove, and Beach House. I’m not sure if anyone outside of Western Wisconsin's meme purveyors and intense redditors know who Jacy Caitlin is, but his @ieatanddrink was one of the first accounts I ever followed on Twitter back in 2011, so I’ll likely attend his standup performance.
I’m pretty much over the fetishization of cabin culture, but I’ll see you all between the two rivers this summer.
Twitter version: I only know six of these names and I would only pay to see two.
Eaux Claires Festival just announced a large part of the lineup for 2016. I skimmed over it and only knew about six names out of 54 artists. Only two of those I actually would pay to see - Erykah Badu and Vince Staples. I have already seen Vince and know that I would really enjoy his set. The energy he brings and the way he interacts with the crowd is great.
I feel need to explain why Erykah Badu is the most exciting name on the list. She is well known for her song “Tyrone” which as explained on her fantastic album Live was created on stage in London. This coupled with the fact that I have only ever heard gushing reviews of her performances leads me to believe that her performance would be amazing.
I don’t know if I would want to go to the entire festival just to see two people, I have past experience with doing that and it did not turn out well. I’m sure that more known names will be added, I would love to see SZA, Lianne La Havas, Jazmine Sullivan, or Denai Moore added to the list.
I grew up near Green Bay, lived 80 percent of my life in Wisconsin, and I'm married into the Eau Claire area (literally).
In 2007 I moved from Virginia to Eau Claire. I was bumping “Skinny Love” when my roommate told me Bon Iver was local. I still have awkard feelings about the “man.”
As a 33-year-old poor person, my relationship to festivals and concerts has changed from “I have those dollars,” to “That isn't worth my interest divided by my wife's interest minus the percentage of not-rap.”
I read the line up and I only saw Vince Staples. I'm coming off that. Period. Did you see the period? He's great, and good at his job, and if you listen to rap and don't know who he is you can call it a night. Also, Erykah Badu. I don't have to lay it out for you, she continues to be present as fuck, and I won't pass up a chance to see a legend. If you didn't know that she's been sniping pop-culture from Texas while raising a family then you should take a nap.
That said, I have NOTHING about the rest. My dad is really happy to hear that Bruce Hornsby is coming. No seriously, I haven't made that phone call, but he'll be really happy. Have you listened to “The Way It Is” recently? Put it on next time you roll through the 'rents place, they'll be amped. Sorry, Verninites, his cover of Bonnie Rait was amazing, and I can't fault it, but you have to do more collabs with Kanye and less recruiting of “Dad Bands” to continue to matter.
Last thing: ANDREW FITZPATRICK!!! Did you know that a fucking A CAPPELLA BEATBOXER got put on the list like he mattered? Guy from the cities joins the MadHatters (UW-Madison A cappella Krew) and parlays that into a bit role in the second Pitch Perfect movie so he's on the lineup? I'll be there if I accidentally take a nap or all my friends abandoned me (fair) and I'm drunk enough to stand in the crowd making fart noises.
Anything that makes Eau Claire great I'm a fan of.... forever. And if my wife lets me, I'll be in the midst, possibly wearing Green Man, but let's all agree right now to collectively boo the idiot from Pitch Perfect II.
I know a fair amount of the artists that were announced as performers on this year's Eaux Claires. I think I counted 16 confirmed artists that I can make a legitimate claim to know. That's a fairly impressive number for me because so little of my musical taste intersects with Justin, Kyle, guy from The National and whoever else.
I'm absolutely tickled about the idea that King Buzzo and the rest of Melvins will be in Eau Claire. It'll be a top 10 moment for musicians in Eau Claire for me. I know, or have very good reason to believe, that Yeezy himself has at least traveled through EC on his way to the Vern compound. But also - Dying Fetus, Jimmy Eat World before they were big, Cannibal Corpse, Glassjaw, and a few others. It isn't even necessarily about the music, great to think of these personalities invading a mostly abandoned college town in mid-to-late summer.
One drawback for me - the other people who will go. I know how that sounds, but it is true. A good friend snagged us tickets for Run the Jewels in Minneapolis a few months ago so we hit the show at First Avenue. We were both genuinely excited about the show. Sadly, the environment was too "big" for my taste and the crowd had the vibe of spectators. Now, I grew up on the hardcore scene of the late-90s to present. Crowd participation and overall violent interaction was the norm - you felt passionately and interacted in a visceral way. That was a long way to me saying this - watching Vince Staples, Deafheaven, Melvins, and Shabazz Palaces in a wide expanse with a few thousand people who are there for the overall "experience" or as casual locals who want to play cultural tourist just doesn't work for me.
And there is a reason for that, too. The festival has a meticulously crafted lineup of diverse performers. Feng (@SloSlyLove) deserves to be there, throwing amazing chill vibes. Deafheaven will be an experience for the thousands of people attending who more resemble my father-in-law than the friends I traveled with to see bands like Bane play in cramped rooms to a few hundred psychos, all losing their minds. The limited number of artists, culled from all genre and sub-culture spectrum, are so varied that it creates a challenge for the attendee to be anything more than a spectator going ankle-deep into the Chippewa.
I respect the effort and time put into this event. I am excited for the attention and economic impact it will have in the Chippewa Valley. I couldn't do what they do. I also hope everyone I know gets the chance to attend and enjoys themselves immensely, making connections and memories that last a lifetime. I also hope that someday, if not in 2016, the festival doesn't leave you ankle deep, when there are much deeper waters just a little further out.