As people are about to return to the river, my heart weeps because I won’t. Having experienced what Eaux Claires is all about, I can’t believe I won’t be one of the beating heart standing in the field.
Last year, my brain exploded and I bough plane tickets, festival passes and waited for July to come. The first edition’s lineup of the Eaux Claires Festival was cray cray and not only was it the best decision e-ver to go to Wisconsin, but I am also extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to live the best festival experience of my life.
Art installations, pop up shops, merchandise and site made the experience incredible. I wanted to see so many artists but due to a combination of heat (we are talking about 2 Quebecers standing in a field with let’s say… a limited amount of available shade spots at 37C, full on humidity, no wind on the first day, at the bed river level) and social anxiety, we didn’t get to see all of them. We managed to see The Staves, Elliott Moss, Phil Cook, S.Carey and the jazz ensemble, Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver. What is there to say : it was perfect. Can you believe that this year’s Bon Iver set will only be new music. UGHHHHH! I’ve been waiting for that for years and people, we won’t be there!
Sets I wished we attended : Aero Flynn, Blind Boys of Alabama, Colin Stetson, Hiss Golden Messenger, Lizzo, Phox, Rosenau, Sylvan Esso, The National and The Tallest Man on Earth.
So by now, you’re probably like, Chloe what was so great about that particular festival? Well my friends, probably everything. Water stations, AWESOME shuttle organization with friendly drivers, wind on the second day, the venue which by itself is like out of this world (it is so soothing with the river flowing in the back ground) and the Field Journal which some people made great use out of it. Props to the mist tent (Thank you sweet baby jesus (kanye west writes awesome lines). Also, the crew on site was super friendly. What really made the experience better was the crowd. I have been to a lot a shows and to quite a few outdoors events but I don’t know what happened in Wisconsin, the crowd was awesome. People were respectful, polite, not to extravagant, were loud when needed and quiet when appropriate. Togetherness would be the word. 22 000 people in total silence and communion listening to Bon Iver, that is indescribable. I thought my heart was going to explode.
As to Eau Claire, the city, well we drove around, saw things, saw landmarks (hello Towers) and felt the vibe. There was also this insane thunderstorm in the middle of the night, which made us feel really appreciative of our hotel room (what’s up people in tents). Finally, I hope that one day, this magical happening will be broadcasted live for everyone to experience.
P.S To the girl who was giving a handjob to his boyfriend while we were all tearing up to Bon Iver’s songs, we did see you.
Subtlety : 0. Sexual acts in public (22 000 people): 1.
Sorry for the few pictures and mostly grainy ones but I cherish those moments so much. There is the Visit Eau Claire Instagram account that is pretty neat and of course Eaux Claires’ website if you wish for better ones! x
One day, I will #returntotheriver