The picturesque location has as much, if not more, to do with the success of Eaux Claires as the music does. Getting out of the city and into the secluded woods on the banks of Wisconsin’s Chippewa River is restorative and relaxing, and the performances reflect that same serene, tranquil vibe. In 2016, the festival co-curated/founded by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the National’s Aaron Dessner struck a fine balance between rock (Deafheaven, Melvins, and Bon Iver debuting their new album, 22, A Million), rap (Vince Staples, Shabazz Palaces), electro-pop (James Blake, Beach House), and industry legends (Erykah Badu, Mavis Staples). The second-annual fest also boasted striking artwork, tasty food trucks, and local vendors, plus random, unduplicatable pop-up performances. The Wilco-centric lineup for 2017 further proves Eaux Claires is hitting its creative stride.
Readers’ Choice: Basilica Block Party