Yesterday, early ticketbuyers for the 2017 Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival started to receive pamphlets that seemed to reveal the lineup for this year’s festival. In an official announcement, the festival has now confirmed that lineup — which includes Paul Simon, Chance the Rapper, Wilco, and more. The delight, though, is in the details.
Collaboration and experimentation have always been at the core of the Eaux Claires experience. In each of the previous two years of the festival, curated by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National), audiences have learned to expect the unexpected — with artists spontaneously jumping on stage together, and rare performances of music that strays far outside the performers’ standard setlists.
This year looks to be no exception. Simon will perform with the cutting-edge classical ensemble yMusic, for example. Wilco will perform as a band — but there will also be a set by Tweedy (frontman Jeff Tweedy’s band with his son Spencer Tweedy), and the other band members will be busy as well.
“Bassist and vocalist John Stirratt will perform with multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone as The Autumn Defense,” a press release notes, while “Mikael Jorgenson will reveal a new musical project, Quindar, named for space ‘quindar’ sounds taken from NASA archives, electronically re-mixed for an intergalactic feel; nationally renowned guitarist Nels Cline will perform with his partner, Yuka Honda, as part of a new ambient duo called cup; and finally, percussionist Glenn Kotche will perform a set in collaboration with Bon Iver drummer Sean Carey.”
Other notable details regarding the lineup: the festival confirms that Bon Iver will play with John Prine, but that doesn’t mean you can expect to hear Prine crooning “Skinny Love.” Instead, they’ll play “a one-of-a-kind set of songs by Prine entitled ‘The American Songbook.'” In addition to the performance by Sylvan Esso, “Sylvan Esso’s vocalist Amelia Meath will also make a rare appearance with folk trio Mountain Man, marking the group’s first performance in five years.” Poliça will also reprise their s-t-a-r-g-a-z-e collaboration Music for the Long Emergency.
Also, standbys including Jenny Lewis and the Staves will be back at Eaux Claires, but not for conventional performances. Instead, they’ll be part of a new “artists-in-residence” program the festival is rolling out. “This group, an assembled cast of notable musicians, will create an integral creative core, ready to jump in and contribute their talents to announced and unannounced performances across the entire weekend. Notable Artists-in-Residence include festival veterans Sam Amidon, Phil Cook, Bryce Dessner, Jenny Lewis, and The Staves. New collaborators to the festival, including Anaïs Mitchell, will also participate.”
This year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival will take place, once again, along the Chippewa River in Eau Claire, Wisc. Festival dates are June 16 and 17; a limited number of discounted two-day passes are now available via the festival’s website. After those tickets sell out, regularly priced tickets ($159, or $350 for the Enhanced Chippewa experience) will go on sale. Camping passes are also now on sale.
Confirmed Eaux Claires 2017 lineup
The Autumn Defense
Big Red Machine
Bon Iver presents John Prine & The American Songbook
Chance the Rapper
Collections of Colonies of Bees
Francis and the Lights
Mouse on Mars
Music for The Long Emergency
Paul Simon with yMusic
S. Carey & Glenn Kotche
This is The Kit