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PHOTOS: TROIX (Eaux Claires 2017)

Day 1: Friday, June 16th.

Featuring People Mixtape Vol. 1, Francis Teaches Dance, This Is The Kit, The Autumn Defense, Bon Iver Presents:  A John Prine Tribute, Francis and the Lights, and Chance The Rapper. Read about the highlights here. 

Day 2: Saturday, June 17th

Featuring People Mixtape Vol.2,  The Sad Saxes, This Is The Kit, Jenny Lewis, Perfume Genius, Feist, Paul Simon, Wilco. Check out Day 2 highlights here. 

Eaux Claires Day 2: The Highlights

The second day at Eaux Claires 2017 carried even more collaborations and improvisations, which make up the core of the festival. Although there had been a potential thunderstorm brewing all day, the rain held off until the evening, which is when the festival organizers had to improvise with the schedule. Tune in to find out which artists teamed up on Saturday, who played surprise sets, and how the fest made up for the change in schedule. 

The Creek Acted as a Collaboration Hub

Just like Day 1, The Creek stage opened on Saturday with a People Mixtape set. The second volume of People Mixtape remained instrumental and came across as a genuine jam session between friends (which is what a lot of the performances at Eaux Claires really are). After entrancing the group with the 1PM mixtape set, Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon returned to same stage only a couple of hours later, to perform as Big Red Machine. For this collaborative set, Dessner and Vernon were joined by even more of the acts playing the festival, like s-t-a-r-g-a-z-e and Mouse on Mars. With their jam-packed line up and debut of new music, Big Red Machine was able to draw a huge crowd to one of the festival's smaller stages. 

Eaux Claires curators Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner performing People Mixtape Vol. 2

Eaux Claires curators Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner performing People Mixtape Vol. 2

The Sad Saxes Joined This Is The Kit

This Is The Kit once again made it onto the highlights list. After an incredible performance at the Flambeaux stage on Day 1, This Is The Kit now moved their set into the woods at The Oxbeaux Stage on Saturday. Once again joined by Aaron Dessner, the three piece of Kate Stables, Rozi Plain, and Jamie Whitby-Coles were also joined by The Sad Saxes. Although the two groups were working together on the fly, with Stables at one point explaining to the saxophone choir how she envisioned their contribution, the collaboration paired perfectly and sounded well-rehearsed. At Eaux Claires, there's never any shortage of really talented musicians going with the flow to make something special together. At the end of the mesmerizing set, the crowd gave a standing ovation. 

Kate Stables of This Is The Kit performing at The Oxbeaux 

Kate Stables of This Is The Kit performing at The Oxbeaux 

Jenny Lewis Packed the Sparreaux Stage

Featured as an "Artist in Residence," Jenny Lewis was never officially on the 2017 lineup. On Friday, a set named "Jenny Lewis and Friends" appeared unannounced in the app, set to occur at 3:30 on one of the smallest stages, the Sparreaux stage. Well before the start of the set, an overflowing crowd camped out to be able to see this special, last-minute set. Lewis described herself and her friends as "Hawaiian psychedelic swing band" from Minneapolis, called Econo Lodge. The set opened with an improvised performance before moving into the crowd favorite "Just One Of The Guys."  

Jenny Lewis at her surprise set

Jenny Lewis at her surprise set

Feist Played Her Entire New Album 

Shortly before Feist was set to take the stage, Eaux Claires narrator Michael Perry took the stage to announce a change in schedule. "There's only one thing we care about more than art," he said, adding that they would be improvising some schedule changes due to safety concerns with the incoming storms. Feist ended up getting a 15 minute extension on her set, which she used to play her new album Pleasure from start to finish. Between the songs, Feist would explain her vision behind the lyrics and compositions, vividly describing one song as the chase scene in a movie. She ended her set by singing out her appreciation for the crowd and her excitement over seeing Paul Simon perform later. 

Feist performing before the rain hit

Feist performing before the rain hit

The App Revealed Paul Simon and yMusic's Set List

Paul Simon's set at the festival acted as the debut performance of a collaboration with yMusic. Although this set had originally been bumped up to 7:30 from 8:30 with the oncoming storms, a downpour hit the festival during Danny Brown's set. When Simon and the yMusic ensemble eventually took the stage around 8PM, the official festival app paired with the setlist, announcing the songs as they started. Similarly to Bon Iver's performance last year, festival goers were able to keep up with the order of songs in real time. 

Paul Simon performing with yMusic

Paul Simon performing with yMusic

The Festival Organized an After Party After Wilco 

The collaborations and surprises don't end there--Day 2 also featured a set from Field Report at The Decorum, and after a stunning performance from Wilco that closed out the festival, it was announced on Bon Iver's Twitter that some of the evening's cancelled performances from the smaller stages were being moved to the Lismore Hotel in downtown Eau Claire. Sets at The Lismore included Mouse on Mars and Velvet Negroni.  

Wilco closing out the night

Wilco closing out the night

While the festival may be over for this year, we'll soon be posting photo galleries and interviews with The Autumn Defense and This Is The Kit from the weekend. Stay tuned for those and start counting down the days until Eaux Claires 2018! 

Words and Photos by Rachel Zyzda


Get Ready for Eaux Claires 2017

It's that time of year again...Eaux Claires 2017 is just around the corner! Last year the forest won us over with exceptional, one-of-a-kind performances, secret art installations, and endless surprises. From the live debut of Bon Iver's new album 22 A Million (including a track- by-track song title reveal in the festival app) to Chance The Rapper crashing Francis and The Lights' late night set, Eaux Claires 2016 didn't skimp on the special moments. This year, with so many big names like Paul Simon, Chance The Rapper, and Wilco on the line up, there's no telling what wondrous collaborations will occur this time around.  To get ready for the revival of our favorite festival, we've gone through the daily schedule and art installations to select our most anticipated moments. 

The Schedule 

All Images Courtesy of Eaux Claires/44 Communications

All Images Courtesy of Eaux Claires/44 Communications

Times To Be Alert

  • Friday, 6:45PM- Midnight, OXBEAUX Stage:  "EXC TBD"
  • Friday, 12-8:30 PM The Banks: "EXC TBD"
  • Friday, 11PM-Midnight The Banks: "EXC TBD"
  • Saturday, 2-2:30PM, OXBEAUX Stage:  "EXC TBD"
  • Saturday, 9:45-10:15, OXBEAUX Stage:  "EXC TBD"
  • Saturday, ALL DAY, The Banks: "EXC TBD"

All of the above times are noted as "Open for Artist Collaborations" on the official schedule. Based on the many surprises during the last two years, you want to be close by to The Banks or OXBEAUX during the To Be Determined times in order to avoid major FOMO. Pro Tip: Download the Eaux Claires App, turn on notifications, and keep a portable charger with you! As we mentioned, Bon Iver debuted a new album last year, and the app revealed each new song title through the app. Impromptu performances were also announced via the app, so consider it your EXC Guru. Also, make sure to make a few festival buddies, since the ol' word of mouth system is also your friend at this festival. Last year, we saw the live debut of "Friends" by Bon Iver and Francis and The Lights during Francis and The Lights' set, which is something you just had to be there for. 

The Art

Known for its secrets and surprises, the "extras" at the Eaux Claires are always evolving. However, here are some of the art installations that you definitely need to be on the look out for!

  • Moms Booth: If you're the type to get homesick at a music festival, perhaps this attraction will help! The festival organizers elaborates on this installation, saying "interactive installation staffed with real moms from the local community, including mothers of artists at the festival." If you're in need of some words of wisdom or some mom time, stop by this booth during your breaks from the music.
  • Living Room: Escape from the crowds of Eaux Claires and plop down on a couch in the middle of the forest in "Living Room." This installation also promises a stereo that may also be pumping out new music from some of the festival's artists. 
  • Crickets: You guessed it- this installation will feature actual crickets, thousands of them. The artist behind this installation, Chris Kallmayer, says crickets will point to the memory, the passage of time, and the poetics of place." 

These installations are just our top three of the countless art installations already announced, which will feature anything from live painting to poetry to sculptures. On top of the announced artists and exhibits, there's sure to be pop up features along the way. Download the app to say in the know.

Keep your eyes on our social media all this week leading up to the fest for more on what we're looking forward to, and tune in during the festival for live updates of Eaux Claires 2017!