5 [Non-Music] Reasons to Attend Eaux Claires
Full disclosure: I’m not the person you’d expect to be writing about the Eaux Claires Festival. I’m not a huge fan of concerts and I recognized only one of the artists in the line up. That’s right: one. Having said that, somehow I ended up standing under the Visit Eau Claire tent during a pretty fantastic rainstorm on the Saturday night of the Festival (with a dozen of my new close friends). We had visitors in town for the Festival, after all, and we weren’t going to let them go alone.
I’m not going to spend any time trying to convince you of the merits of attending the Festival for the amazing music because you would laugh at my attempt to do so. Instead, from an outsider’s perspective, enjoy a snapshot of what Eaux Claires has to offer folks who aren’t big on the music festival scene.
The Art Installations
I’m sure this isn’t the first you’ve heard of the impressive and varied displays of visual art at the Festival. I was definitely excited about this element leading up to the Festival, but I had no idea how integral it was to the atmosphere of Eaux Claires. There were stunning wooden sculptures, intricate entryways, and impressive musical elements all created from mostly natural materials.
A much younger version of myself used to attend the Country Jam music festival in the same location. I have to say, I never realized or truly appreciated what a beautiful setting it is. The Eaux Claires Festival definitely doesn’t let this feature sneak by you. In addition to taking place on a hill overlooking a lake, there was a trail through the woods that led festival-goers to hidden stages and several art installations. Although it did get a bit muddy thanks to Mother Nature, it was a fun non-musical addition to the Festival experience.
No surprise, the Eaux Claires Festival lined up some pretty great food trucks for the event. I had a hearty + delicious Thai Veg pasty from Potters Pasties & Pies that totally hit the spot at the end of the night. Others raved about tacos, paninis, sliders, grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream (if you had the patience to brave the line).
While I can’t speak to the vibe of other festivals when it comes to the crowd, I can say the festival-goers to Eaux Claires were enough to make anyone want to spend time there. Whether the 20,000 attendees were there because they love the music, or the party scene, or just because they love the friends they were with, the fun-loving, free-spirited, and jovial nature of the crowd left you feeling happy to have experienced the Festival together.
Eaux Claires is more than just a music festival. It really speaks to the metamorphosis our city is undergoing. The city was alive that weekend. The hotels, the farmers market, the bars, the coffee shops. It’s exciting and encouraging to see the effect that a festival like Eaux Claires can have on a whole community, not just on the festival grounds and I was elated to have been a part of it.
So although you might not think Eaux Claires is your scene or aren't a huge fan of music festivals in general, I can tell you first hand, don't judge a book by its cover.