Eaux Claires prepares for its return in 2016

Preparation for the second annual Eaux Claires music festival begins after successful first year

More stories from Lauren Kritter



The Eaux Claires Music Festival, curated by Eau Claire native and Bon Iver singer Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner, will return for its second year Aug. 12 and 13. 2016.

The 10,902 undergraduate students at UW-Eau Claire equate to about half the 20,000 people who attended the Eaux Claires Music Festival daily last summer.

Over 40 performers came to the grounds to perform, gracing attendees’ presence for the first-ever event. This included Bon Iver and The National, the two festival curator’s bands,  along with other bands like Indigo Girls and Sylvan Esso.

The festival curators, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, will be going forward with round two next summer on Aug. 12 and 13.

Clara Kennedy, junior theater arts student and member of the festival’s event production crew, said although there were major successes with the event, there is much work to be done to improve it for the years to come.

“Because it was only the first festival it was kind of like the guinea pig year,” Kennedy said. “I hope to see more of everything come round two.”

Carly Stauch, junior art student attended the event and said it was worth every penny to see many bands and be part of such an event. However, she said she would have liked to see more food vendors and better organization.

Stauch was not alone. Kennedy said she heard others who attended the festival complain about this issue as well.

“I know they are planning to expand the festival,” Kennedy said. “And adding a larger range of food vendors could be one of the things included in that.”

The event planners became aware of this issue last summer and are planning on improving this aspect of the festival to make food purchases easier and faster, Kennedy said.

The talk of including two meals a day to the price of the “Chippewa” tickets, the enhanced tickets for the event, is most likely to happen for next summer’s event.

Along with the food additions, Stauch said she hopes the expansion also includes more performers.

“I’m hopeful that they can bring bigger and better names to the festival without jeopardizing its authenticity,” Stauch said.

The festival put Eau Claire on the map and if it continues to get bigger, Stauch said it will hopefully change the people’s perceptions outside the city and draw in amore diverse crowd.

Kennedy said she is excited to see the Eau Claire community as Eaux Claires continues to grow.

“I think the event brought the community together through music and has the ability to bring even more people to feel that feeling of togetherness the festival brought,” Kennedy said.

A limited number of pre-sale tickets have already gone on sale. According to the Eaux Claires website, more details about the lineup, food, lodging and ticket sales are expected to be released at a later date.