Posted: September 6, 2016 The Beat Downtown: Music Scene Thriving in Eau Claire
Summer is an exceptional time for music in Eau Claire, and this year lived up to the hype.
The VolumeOne Sounds Like Summer concert series returned in June for an eleventh year. Drawing hundreds of visitors to Phoenix Park, the Thursday night concerts are a showcase of local and regional talent from across music genres. Tuesday Night Blues also kicked off another season in Owen Park. Presented by the Chippewa Valley Blues Society, the weekly concerts continued to grow this year, featuring local talent such as the Nick Foytik Band, Charlie Parr, and the Sue Orfield Band. Having performed since 1902, the Eau Claire Municipal Band, under the direction of Brad Stoughton, continued their long tradition of weekly concerts at the Own Park Band Shell. Many featured vocalists performed, including Julie DeBoer, Luke Otto, Dan Newman, and Bob Morse.
The 2nd Annual Eaux Claires Festival introduced thousands of visitors from across the state, country and world to Downtown Eau Claire in August. The festival weekend started Downtown on Thursday with the premier of local music on the public speakers that line South Barstow Street. In partnership with Downtown Eau Claire, the South Barstow District, and local musician Paul Brandt, the local music initiative hopes to highlight the amazing, homegrown talent of the Chippewa Valley. Thursday night also saw a sold out show at The Halls at The Lismore for local musician Phil Cook and the Guitarheels. The show served as a kickoff to the festival weekend and the crowd left primed for the weekend festivities at Foster Farms. The Lismore continued to be the focus of activities throughout the weekend, as musicians enjoyed the comforts of Eau Claire newest and hottest hotel.
Eaux Claires also presented a gift, of sorts, to the Downtown art scene. A mural featuring the cover art from Bon Iver’s newest album 22, A Million appeared during the festival week. Painted on the side of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, the mural is a testament to the vibrant music scene in Eau Claire, as well as a reminder of the two-time Grammy Award winner that calls Eau Claire home.
As summer wraps up, the season at the State Theater is just beginning. Shows this fall will feature 1964: The Tribute, a recreation of a Beatles concert from the early ‘60s, an intimate backstage concert with Haley Bonar, country music legend Travis Tritt, and the return of Leo Kottke. Information on these shows and more can be found at eauclairearts.com.