Local Current Blog

Eaux Claires Festival is taking a year off, with plans to return in 2020

Crowds gathered at Eaux Claires 2017. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

The Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival has announced that it will not hold its annual event in 2019. The festival’s first year took place in 2015, curated by Eau-Claire-born musician Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). The Eaux Claires team shared a statement on their website explaining that after four years, they are taking the coming year to “move out, change things, and take stock of who we’ve become.” However, the team assures fans that Eaux Claires will return in 2020.

The statement says that the festival’s first four years felt “something like going through four years of high school – the growth, the mistakes, the energy, but most of all the searing, stumbling beauty of becoming one’s self.”

“After our Senior year, we find ourselves wanting to move out, change things, and take stock of who we’ve become,” the statement continues. “In order to manage this transition, we are going to take a year off.  While it will be hard for us to break the chain of momentum and the positive impact the festival has had on our community, we have fresh, clear ideas of how to make it even better. But we aren’t just changing locations, we’re bolstering our philosophies. We want to celebrate EVEN MORE about this REAL TOWN we call home by extolling and imagining things we haven’t seen or experienced to date.”

This past year, Eaux Claires switched things up by choosing to keep their lineup a secret. Some were disappointed by the lack of a pre-announced lineup; the strategy didn’t help ticket sales, but smaller crowds meant a more intimate and less claustrophobic experience.

Perhaps Eaux Claires is plotting new surprises for their return in 2020, but the festival isn’t giving away any hints just yet. Their website’s statement says that Eaux Claires 2020 will be “more focused, fun, and internal.”

In the meantime, the festival is hosting a number of events at the Eau Claire art center Pablo Center at the Confluence “in the coming months.”

Colleen Cowie runs the blog Pass The Mic.