Eaux Claires: Year ‘Troix’

Third annual Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival to feature Chance the Rapper and Paul Simon

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Eaux Claires: Year ‘Troix’

The “Flambeaux” was one of the six stages at last year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

The “Flambeaux” was one of the six stages at last year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

Photo by Sami West

The “Flambeaux” was one of the six stages at last year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

Photo by Sami West

Photo by Sami West

The “Flambeaux” was one of the six stages at last year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

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Shockingly visionary art installations. Unforeseen music collaborations and releases. Concerts under tents, in the middle of the woods, in pouring rain. Surprise appearances by up-and-coming musicians across all genres (Chance the Rapper, anyone?).

Almost anyone who’s been to the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival will tell you one thing is certain: Expect the unexpected.

For year “Troix,” set for June 16-17, festival organizer Mike Snow said the same can be expected. It all is part of Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner’s vision of a one of a kind music festival filled with once-in-a-lifetime performances and artistic experiences each year.

This, Snow said, is exciting for all — and simultaneously terrifying for organizers like himself. But they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“There are things that we literally change while you’re standing there,” Snow said. “So it’s unlike any other event I’ve ever worked at … You never know what’s around the next corner.”

Snow said the date changed for the third year, from July to August and now to mid-June, as festival organizers and curators Vernon and Dessner continue to try to find their “sweet spot.”

This year’s lineup spans a variety of genres. Friday’s headliner is Chance the Rapper, who will not just be stopping by for a one-song collaboration this year, but for a full set.

Saturday’s headliner is Paul Simon, who will be collaborating with chamber sextet yMusic.

Other artists slated to perform include:

— Bon Iver with John Prine;

— Wilco;

— Sylvan Esso;

— Julieta Venegas;

— Poliça and Stargaze’s “Music for the Long Emergency;”

— S. Carey;

— Danny Brown and many more.

Vernon and his musical team put together the lineup each year with the help of some of the production company’s booking agents, Snow said. The artists selected from year to year speak to Vernon’s own eclectic music tastes and knowledge, as well as his personal connections with fellow artists.

“Justin, for people I’ve sort of met in the world, he’s probably the least expected one to fit inside of a box,” Snow said. “It’s extraordinarily interesting the amount of knowledge he has when it comes down to just music in general and then on the technology side to get it done.”

The focus in developing the lineup for this year, Snow said, was getting musical collaborations to come to the festival that attendees couldn’t see elsewhere.

Megan Jensen, a junior studying social work at UW-Eau Claire, said she was originally drawn to purchase tickets for the event because of her love for artists Chance the Rapper and Bon Iver.

“I’ve never been (to Eaux Claires) but I wanted to go this year because the lineup looks great,” she said. “I’ve had friends who have gone and they loved it. Even if they didn’t know the bands, they ended up loving it.”

Another part of the festival’s uniqueness each year, Snow said, is reimagining the festival grounds, located in the town of Union, just west of Eau Claire. The same grounds also host Country Jam.

“On the landscape side, we like to keep things fresh so there will be a ton of new art installations and new stage locations and a lot of great stuff for people to run around and discover,” Snow said. “Unlike any other event we’ve run, this is one of those kinds of ‘Search and you shall find’ kinds of things.”

Although Snow said there won’t necessarily be more or less art installations and immersion opportunities, like last year’s “2-minute, 2-sentence” mini stories written by regional writers, poetry readings and dance performers on mini stages across the grounds, organizers are more focused on quality over quantity.

“I’m excited to see it,” Snow said. “Even as an operator, a lot of this stuff comes as a surprise, and that’s what’s fun on our part.”

For more information or tickets to this year’s Eaux Claires, head to the event website and watch its social media accounts for the upcoming art reveal.

Vernon and his musical team put together the lineup each year with the help of some of the production company’s booking agents, Snow said. The artists selected from year to year speak to Vernon’s own eclectic music tastes and knowledge, as well as his personal connections with fellow artists.

“Justin, for people I’ve sort of met in the world, he’s probably the least expected one to fit inside of a box,” Snow said. “It’s extraordinarily interesting the amount of knowledge he has when it comes down to just music in general and then on the technology side to get it done.”

The focus in developing the lineup for this year, Snow said, was getting musical collaborations to come to the festival that attendees couldn’t see elsewhere.

Megan Jensen, a junior studying social work at UW-Eau Claire, said she was originally drawn to purchase tickets for the event because of her love for artists Chance the Rapper and Bon Iver.

“I’ve never been (to Eaux Claires) but I wanted to go this year because the lineup looks great,” she said. “I’ve had friends who have gone and they loved it. Even if they didn’t know the bands, they ended up loving it.”

Another part of the festival’s reimagination each year, Snow said, is reimagining the festival grounds, located in the town of Union just west of Eau Claire. The same grounds also host Country Jam.

“On the landscape side, we like to keep things fresh so there will be a ton of new art installations and new stage locations and a lot of great stuff for people to run around and discover,” Snow said. “Unlike any other event we’ve run, this is one of those kinds of ‘Search and you shall find’ kinds of things.”

Although Snow said there won’t necessarily be more or less art installations and immersion opportunities, like last year’s “2-minute, 2-sentence” mini stories written by regional writers, poetry readings and dance performers on mini stages across the grounds, organizers are more focused on quality over quantity.

“I’m excited to see it,” Snow said. “Even as an operator, a lot of this stuff comes as a surprise, and that’s what’s fun on our part.”

For more information or tickets to this year’s Eaux Claires, head to their website and watch their social media accounts for the upcoming art reveal.

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