It is standard for music festivals to reveal their musical lineup in advance of their big celebratory event, giving fans eager fans reasons to reach inside their wallets and shell out the cash to see their favorite artists perform live on stage. Time to mark their calendars and prepare themselves for a memorable weekend of fun. Although, this is not the case for the music and arts festival known as Eaux Claires.
Created by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National, Eaux Claires Festival has kept their lineup a secret. Instead of announcing its lineup months ahead, Eaux is only now revealing its musical acts just as the gates are opening and bands are busily making their way inside to get themselves ready. The lineup is up only a day before the event is about to take place in Wisconsin. The reason behind Vernon’s choice of keeping the festival’s lineup a secret was to give fans a surprise when they showed up that weekend.
“I care about surprising people—and having people remember that their art and their music is not just a commercialized commodity.” Says Vernon in a Pitchfork interview. The idea of making the festival about the music and not about the revenue gives Eaux Claires an edge, something to make the weekend event different than the hundreds of other festivals occurring all over the world.
Fans who bought their tickets were going into the festival completely blind unaware of who would be in attendance. Now, just a day before the festival is said to happen, ticketholders are brought into the light. Some of the significant artists performing at the fourth annual event include The National, Sharon Van Etten, Channy Leaneagh (Polica), Pussy Riot, Moses Sumney, Low, Dirty Projectors, Phoebe Bridgers, Francis & the Lights, Wye Oak, Hiss Golden Messenger, Marijuana Deathsquads (Mouse on Mars, Swamp Dogg, Noname, Ho99o9 and Julien Baker.
Although Dessner’s band, the National is set to play this weekend, Vernon would not be playing with his primary vehicle, Bon Iver. Instead, Vernon is said to be performing an all-star ensembles Big Red Machine and Marijuana Deathsquads who last performed together back in 2016 so fans of the supergroup should take note when they are playing.
The fourth annual Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival is taking place this weekend, June 6th-7th. Everything you want to know can be found at the official website.
Photo credit: Sharon Alagana