Arts

​What to expect at Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival 2018

Combining the art exhibits with the natural wilderness surrounding the festival, Eaux Claires transforms into a wooded paradise for all things art, literature and music.

Image By: Morgan Winston

Foster Farms lies just outside the city limits of Eau Claire, Wisconsin on the north bank of the Chippewa River. For the past three years, the open field surrounded by woods navigable by rugged paths has served as the grounds for Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner’s art festival, Eaux Claires. This weekend, the festival begins its fourth iteration, and this time, it is one filled with mystery.

While last year's Eaux Claires featured incredible artists like Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, John Prine, Sufjan Stevens and Chance the Rapper, the festival’s fourth year is still a mystery to everyone except Vernon, Dessner and whoever else is actually performing. Vernon and company have left clues here and there for fans attempting to decipher which famed musicians will be making appearances at the festival. One Reddit thread is filled with speculation and apparent confirmations on the potential acts that will be popping up throughout the weekend. While the exact lineup likely won’t be known until the first day of the festival, the various conjectures are all backed up by some level of evidence.

Last year, Vernon and Dessner premiered music under the guise of Big Red Machine. This year, it’s rumored that the duo will premiere Big Red Machine’s debut album in its entirety. If this is truly the case, then that set alone is likely to be worth the price of admission. While the details are still unconfirmed, I’m hopeful the rumored Sufjan Stevens Planetarium set comes to fruition. Rumors of potential appearances from serpentwithfeet, Jlin and Father John Misty have me especially excited for this weekend and all of its other surprises.

In what is now traditional Eaux Claires fashion, the grounds in between the stages will be littered with art exhibits from a variety of local and national artists. Combining the art exhibits with the natural wilderness surrounding the festival, Eaux Claires transforms into a wooded paradise for all things art, literature and music.

Regardless of who does and doesn’t show up, Eaux Claires is already sure to be one of the best music festivals of the summer. Vernon and Dessner have somehow harnessed the energy that comes with stumbling upon a new artist and turned that experience into a weekend-long adventure.

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