For anxious ticket holders awaiting the return of one of the country's most talked about music festivals, the wait has gotten shorter. The third annual Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival officially begins June 16, but music and art fans can get the celebration started a day early in downtown Eau Claire.
Blugold Radio, along with Downtown Eau Claire Inc., Volume One magazine and The Brewing Projekt have come together to present Prex Claires June 15, taking place throughout downtown. The event will showcase home-grown music of the Chippewa Valley at various downtown locations, featuring artists and groups from a wide array of music styles.
The concept for the Prex Claires event came initially from Kyran Hamill, the communications and promotions coordinator for Downtown Eau Claire Inc., who sees great opportunities to celebrate and promote both the Eaux Claires festival and the local music scene.
"Our goal is to introduce visitors to our vibrant downtown district and all the amazing local music,” Hamill said. “Prex Claires is a great opportunity to get to know our community before spending the weekend at Foster Farms."
To promote the events, Blugold Radio will play tunes from Prex Claires shows, informing listeners of the various shows throughout the week. The station also will provide an exclusive playlist featuring both Prex Claires and Eaux Claires artists which will be played over the downtown speakers during the June 15 event.
What began as simply a series of performances at some of the typical music venues has become much more expansive as this project has developed.
A total of 13 venues have signed on to participate, and with the exception of two shows at The Plus and a sold-out concert at the Oxbow Hotel, all events are free to the public. Several events are open to all ages, and shows at the taverns are restricted to the 21+ age group. Event start times are scattered throughout the evening, but the Back Alley Market at Red's Mercantile runs all day. See the full event schedule here.
Official locations include:
- Red's Mercantile
- Tangled Up in Hue
- The District Company
- Sounds Like Summer
- Riverfront Terrace, Phoenix Park
- L.E. Phillips Memorial Library
- Acoustic Cafe
- The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely
- The Plus
- The Fire House
- The Dive
- The Mousetrap
- Revival Records
“What really drew us to this event is the spirit of collaboration,” said Scott Morfitt, station manager at Blugold Radio. “It’s exciting to get to showcase many of the local bands that we’re proud to bring to the airwaves in the Chippewa Valley. This event is our chance to let folks experience local Eau Claire music before heading to Eaux Claires.”
Morfitt and Hamill set out to promote local music and the richness of the downtown atmosphere without increasing the overall cost to anyone involved. Without adding the infrastructure of a central ticketing element, they hope that their extensive promotional efforts will draw an audience beyond the Chippewa Valley to those people not yet familiar with the vibrant local music scene.
Bluogld Radio, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, has links throughout its website and Facebook page with previews of the artists for both Eaux Claires and Prex Claires lineups. And once again, here is the Prex Claires schedule of events.