The Grammy Awards' 2012 best new artist winner Justin Vernon and his team are taking a decidedly old-school approach toward building the buzz for their inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival: They’re announcing the first round of performers via mail. You know, the kind that requires a stamp. What are the chances the U.S. Postal Service is one of the sponsors for the two-day music and camping marathon, happening July 17-18 on the same site as the popular Country Jam festival just outside Vernon’s native Eau Claire, Wis.?
Fans who bought the limited number of pre-sale tickets to Eaux Claires last month started receiving letters late last week with a single artist’s name listed on them. The fans were encouraged to share the names via Twitter. Names issued so far include many of Vernon’s associates in Minnesota and elsewhere as well an eclectic mish-mash of other innovative or experimental indie acts. Here’s a round-up of who’s been confirmed as of Monday morning:
Low / Doomtree / Lizzo / Polica / Haley Bonar / Allan Kingdom / Marijuana Deathsquads / Blind Boys of Alabama / Tallest Man on Earth / Charles Bradley / Sylvan Esso / Boys Noize / Field Report / Melt-Banana / Aero Flynn / Colin Stetson / Liturgy / S. Carey / Phox / Frances & the Lights / Sam Amidon / Megafaun’s Phil Cook
Some of the bigger names on the lineup – probably including Vernon’s own Bon Iver – won’t be revealed until the full lineup is formally announced via the more modern service known as the Internet on Wednesday morning. While Vernon’s main vehicle seems like a shoo-in, the bigger question is whether or not his partner in curating the festival, the National’s Aaron Dessner, will be bringing his band.
Here's part of the message that accompanied those band announcements mailed to fans:
Eaux Claires is more than just music. It will be an experience including and celebrating art in a multitude of forms — from the paintbrush to the pen, from the plow to the plate, from local brews to local bootstrappers. Above all, we want to share this place — the Chippewa Valley that has been so good to so many of us.