Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival takes a year off

Published: Dec. 12, 2018 at 5:49 PM CST
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Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and the National's Aaron Dessner have held the Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival since 2015, but organizers say the event won’t happen in 2019.

An announcement was made this week that the event will take a year off to revamp, raising questions about how this will impact tourism in Eau Claire.

Linda John, Executive Director for Visit Eau Claire says the festival is a huge tourism event and brings nearly $7 million in visitor spending each year.

“We get involved by helping people get lodging. We do a lot of promotion about it and we serve the visitors when they come to town," said John

Visit Eau Claire, in charge of all things tourism says the Eaux Claires Festival attracts people from around the globe but it won’t return in 2019.

"They're regrouping and they're going to take a year off to reimagine what the festival will become for the next chapter,” said John.

She adds that it's done an amazing job of putting Eau Claire on the map as the destination to new audiences.

The all ages, two-day event includes live music, artwork, food, and live art performances. It brings thousands of people to the area but also competes with many other well-attended, long-running festivals around the world, making it important to continuously provide music lovers with exciting reasons to attend year-after-year.

Organizers are promising a bigger, better fest for 2020. Linda John says she loves the approach they’re taking. “They want to do it best quality possible so they're taking their time and taking a step back to do it well," she said. While the city won’t see the benefits of the fest in 2019, Linda John says Eau Claire has a lot of other attractions to offer in the meantime.

"We have really strong group program with sports, the new Pablo Center is putting a new spotlight on media and conventions. We have a lot of demand from traveling here as a destination now that may not have been as strong before,” said John.

Part of the revamp plan includes a change of location from the Country Jam grounds in the Town of Union to Downtown Eau Claire. John says the venue change will have an even greater impact on tourism when the fest returns in 2020.