Justin Vernon returns to the river for a third time

After two summers of success, the Eaux Claires festival is set for it’s third round next June

More stories from Colette St. John

December 13, 2016

Photo by Kelsey Smith

Festival-goers await the next concert after the conclusion of Unknown Moral Orchestra at Eaux Claires this past summer.

Bon Iver fans not in attendance at the latest Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival are surely disappointed after the band debuted a world premiere of their newest album “22, A Million” ahead of its release date set for Sept. 30.

Just one month following the second Eaux Claires festival, the event has a green light for summer 2017. But this time, in June.

Organizers shifted the event for a third time. Originally in July, the event then moved most recently to August and now, scheduled for next June.

For some avid Eaux Claires attendees like Libby Schauer, this was big news because the festival sits only nine months away.

Schauer, a political science student and two-time attendee of the event, is already prepared to purchase tickets for the next Eaux Claires, even if prices increase.

“Honestly I think I would pay double what the tickets are now just to go again,” Schauer said. Growing up listening to Bon Iver with her dad, Schauer said the event has become a “family affair,” even taking her sister and mom along.

Although they weren’t familiar with many bands and artists attending both events, Schauer said she and her family enjoyed all of the music they heard.

“If you like music, you will enjoy this concert,” Schauer said. “It’s so much more about musicians coming together and doing what they love.”

In comparison to other festivals such as Country Jam, Schauer said Eaux Claires is a unique event where people unite together with similar expectations, patrons who are ready to simply enjoy the music.

“Everybody is there to listen to the music and see these artists live and so everybody is more on the same page,” Schauer said. “Everyone is there for a common purpose.”

Assistant production manager and senior theatre art student Clara Kennedy has worked both festivals as a part of the event production crew on campus through University Centers. From setting up stages and lighting, to creating the atmosphere seen on Eaux Claires concert grounds, many hours of work go into the event.

Totaling 130 hours of work over a ten-day span that includes everything from setup to tear-down, Kennedy said it is a lot of hard yet rewarding work.

“You get to that first day of the festival and see 20,000 coming in through the gates and it’s all ready and all there,” she said. “It’s really cool seeing everyone enjoy the festival that you helped build.”

Kennedy described Justin Vernon as “the major selling point” of the festival, bringing people back to “the river” and into a community where Bon Iver is widely known and supported.

“I think a lot of people from the community have a sense of pride about Bon Iver as a band and Justin Vernon as a person,” Kennedy said.

Following recent news of the third edition set for June 16 and 17, the ticket presale completely sold out after only an hour’s time last Friday. Lineups have yet to be released.