Eaux Claires 2016. Aug 12-13th

I didn't think I would be going to this until a week before. Then the plans just fell into place and I was on my way to Wisconsin.


It all started with some residents of Eau Claire as the campsite I stayed on only allowed one car per site. So I parked my car at this couples house, there were a few other locals doing the same thing taking advantage of the rules and charging to let people park on their private lots. This happened to be the first one I saw, so I pulled in to their lawn and met Gene later I met Roger. They were a kind old couple, I asked them how they felt about the festival and Gene had a positive perspective, she saw it as an economical opportunity and that it brought business in. She also pointed out that she couldn't really hear it and that people complain too much. It was nice to meet them right off the bat and to know that at least some locals had given their blessing for the festival to operate.


I finally made it to my campsite after walking a mile and a half and dropped my stuff off, campers had just started doing group yoga when I got there. I was just scouting out the space taking in the people and the surroundings. Centered amidst the sites was a communal space with lawn games and a general store, then offset were the restrooms and showers. Then everywhere around that were campsites. I was situated beyond the trees in a field. Eventually I left to head towards the main festival space, there was a bus shuttle system and I made it onto one of the buses and met these people sitting behind me, I forgot both their names but they live Knoxville, TN, we were all first timers to Eaux Claires. We discussed the new Bon Iver album and rumors of guest artists and just shot the shit. 


Throughout the festival grounds there was a lot of art instillations and various art based exercises and performances. One of which I attended was writer/poet based. They would rotate the people running the exercise throughout the day and I happen to participate when this married couple were doing it. The premise is there was this tiny house with a line out the door and the only instructions were to think of a word and a two sentence novel would be made from the word. But that was vague and without much direction, so the whole time leading up to the installation everyone is processing what actually is going to happen. With no understanding of what is within and if there was ulterior motives or whether the instructions were even true to the experience or if it was something to throw of what was actually going to happen. These discussions were happening amongst the participants all leading up to going in to the tiny house. Finally me and two other people went in and participated. The married couple were both working writers and asked each of us one by one for a word. The lady, Alissa Nutting would write two sentences while the guy, Dean Bakopoulos wrote two sentences. Alissa's would be the beginning and Dean's would be the end. So I told them my word was Expectation they wrote the following

"Your competitive desires might have been the end of you, except that hope was also your solace. Yes, you understand that what you've been waiting for, disappears before you even know what to name it?"

It almost felt like a fortune telling or something, I find a lot of truth in what they wrote.


It rained a couple times that first day


Then Justin Vernon released is new album, 22 a Million by performing the entirety.



I made some new friends :)


Finally, I bought some uncut toddy from Dogwood coffee and started my seven and a half hour drive home.  It was already 9:30 pm. I drove until 3 am and pulled over at a rest stop and slept until my body wouldn't stay asleep which was around 830 and finished driving the last two hours back to KC. I didn't take as many photos as I wanted, but I also wasn't hired by anyone to do so. No special privileges definitely made it hard to take photos with the measly equipment I was allowed/ barely could bring in. Hopefully next time I'll be attending with appropriate credentials and equipment.

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