2016 Eaux Claires fest lineup includes Erykah Badu, James Blake, Vince Staples

You couldn't forget where you were at last year's Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

You couldn't forget where you were at last year's Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

Woodsy splendor will again meet live music 90 miles east of the Twin Cities for the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival. The sophomore lineup for the August 12-13 fest curated by Justin "Bonny Bear" Vernon and the National's Aaron Dessner was revealed Thursday.

Among the big names hitting Eau Claire, Wisconsin: R&B/soul godess Erykah Badu, U.K. electronic maestro James Blake, dream-pop heavyweights Beach House, rising hip-hop force Vince Staples, proto-Bon Iver songman Bruce Hornsby performing 1986 album The Way It Is, grunge-metal heroes the Melvins, indie-rock standout Phosphorescent, rootsy rockers Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, indie-folk star Jenny Lewis, reunited Twin Cities faves Fog, and R&B/gospel legend Mavis Staples.

National bros Aaron and Bryce Dessner will throw the first and only performance of Day Of The Dead, their star-studded Grateful Dead tribute act. Bryce and Bonnie “Prince” Billy are also set to collab with Chicago classical outfit eighth blackbird. Vernon's beloved, Grammy-winning band from Eau Claire, Bon Iver, will presumably headline yet again (the group is not winding down, Vernon recently reassured Billboard).

In terms of rarity wins, Badu hasn't played Minnesota in a dozen years, and Blake has no other U.S. dates booked in 2016. See the complete lineup below. 

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, February 12, via Two-day passes run $169, with "Enhanced Chippewa Passes" (which include food/drink) going for $300. $165 camping passes also go on sale tomorrow. The campground — dubbed Camp Eaux — has been relocated to a "magnificent piece of Wisconsin farmland" twice as big as the 2015 site. Free shuttle rides to the festival grounds will be provided. 

By most accounts, last July's first-ever Eaux Claires fest was an overwhelming success. Our reviewer loved it; the scheduling conflict with Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival proved a non-factor, with 22,000 lovers of indie rock opting for a weekend at scenic Foster Farms. Pitchfork goes down July 17-19 this year. 

Says Bonny Bear in Thursday's press release: "Our mission for Eaux Claires is to create a deeply meaningful experience of togetherness and expression. We feel like everyone, whether interested in the fashion of popularized music or not, will be entertained, moved, and surprised by our festival. The inaugural edition proved that Eaux Claires can inspire and generate power beyond just the big names. We believe that every single artist will bring an equal amount of importance and uniqueness to the culture we've created. We're excited to grow in that spirit and push ourselves forward every year, to grow with our audience and celebrate art in all of its forms."

Bon Iver mythology very much informs this poetic and pastoral video clip announcing Eaux Claires 2.0: 

Here's the complete lineup for Eaux Claires 2016: 

Alpha Consumer

Andrew Fitzpatrick

Beach House

Bon Iver

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers performing “The Way It Is”

Buke and Gase


Cornelius performing "Fantasma"

Day Of The Dead



eighth blackbird with Bryce Dessner and Bonnie “Prince” Billy

Erykah Badu



Francis and The Lights

Har Mar Superstar

Jacy Catlin

James Blake

Jenny Lewis

Jon Hopkins

Jon Mueller

Kill The Vultures

Lisa Hannigan and Aaron Dessner

Little Scream



Mavis Staples


Midnite Express

My Brightest Diamond

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Phil Cook's "Southland Revue"


Prinze George

Richard Reed Parry/ Quiet River of Dust



Sam Amidon

Sarah Neufeld


Shabazz Palaces


So Percussion

Taggart & Rosewood


The Staves and yMusic

Tickle Torture

Thomas Wincek


Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Vince Staples

William Tyler