Fans of Eaux Claires Festival, put on by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner (the duo known as Big Red Machine), will have to wait until 2020 for the Wisconsin-based event to return.
In an announcement on the festival’s website Wednesday, the organizers compared the event’s past four years to one’s years in high school—and now, after completing their “senior year,” it’s time to “move out, change things and take stock of who we’ve become.”
“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,” the statement continues. “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.”
Thus, the event will take a hiatus until 2020, at which point it will return “more focused, fun and internal.”
While this may be something of a disappointment to those already anticipating a fifth trek out to the Badger State, the end of the statement points to seriously long-term thinking on the organizers’ side, who seem to be planning to keep the festival running through the coming decade. One year off for (at least) a decade of good times? Not the worst trade-off.
In the meantime, check out Paste’s review of Big Red Machine’s debut self-titled, our ranking of all of Justin Vernon’s bands over the past two decades and our ranking of every Bon Iver song. If you’re looking for more Eaux Claires-adjacent content, revisit Bon Iver and The National performances from the Paste archives below, along with the text of the organizers’ full hiatus announcement.
As winter deepens here in Eau Claire, WI, we at Eaux Claires wanted to reach out before it gets too cold and update you to the many conversations that we have had over the past couple of months.
In the last four years we have grown together as patrons and organizers; these experiences are perfectly focused within our own collected memories, and feel 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. 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.
Ultimately, we want a better experience—not just for us, but for everyone. Is that too vague? We’re not trying to do that anymore, so here …
No Eaux Claires V in 2019. It will happen in 2020, and it will be more focused, fun, and internal. We will have a couple of public events in the coming months hosted at Pablo Center at the Confluence. These events will incorporate performance and dialogue about the direction we plan on taking the festival throughout the coming decade. Looking forward to seeing you there.
-EXC Founders and Organizers