Eau Claire, Wis. — The second day of Eaux Claires celebrated the legacy of The Grateful Dead with a special “Day of the Dead” tribute.
Led by Aaron and Bryce Dessner from The National, the first ever “Day of the Dead” tribute featured Will Oldham, Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis, Bruce Hornsby, Ruban Nielson, Lucius, Matt Berninger and others.
The Dessner brothers assembled the five-disc “Day of the Dead” tribute album over four years to raise money for the AIDS/HIV organization Red Hot. An LP boxed set will be released Sept. 9.
The setlist included “Sugaree,” “Black Muddy River,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Shakedown Street,” “Brokedown Palace” and other Dead favorites.
Besides the “Day of the Dead” tribute, other notable day 2 performances included Alpha Consumer, Mavis Staples, Lewis, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lucius and Beach House.
I can’t imagine a better place for a music festival than the upper Midwest.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s wide open spaces and rolling green pastures are a welcome relief from the cramped city parks and perfectly manicured polo fields.
The rural Wisconsin city is also reminiscent of my own hometown, which is actually about 560 miles away near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Luckily, I have Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner to thank for my two-day Midwestern musical escape along the Chippewa River to Eaux Claires, an indie music rock festival situated in Eau Claire.
The festival boasts some of the most popular names in indie rock – Bon Iver, Beach House, Jenny Lewis, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, James Blake and Phosphorescent – and many emerging artists ranging from Little Scream to Tuskha to Alpha Consumer.