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Eaux Claires Festival Survival Guide

This weekend will be the second Eaux Claires Music Festival, or, if you will, Eaux Claires: Part Deaux. Last year I got caught in a tornadeaux and nearly died, so I think I know what it takes to survive this festival. I have lived and I have learned. Whether this year is your first year, or your return, I hope this survival guide helps you on your journey.


1. A waterproof tarp. (If you are camping)

This was nearly my downfall last year. I arrived at the campsite at 2AM to camp attendants riding in golf carts yelling, “A tornado is coming, please get into your cars!” My co-worker drove, so I had no car and when I arrived at my tent it was thoroughly soaked through.

I wandered around the soaking campsite until 4AM. when I finally found shelter in a friend's tent, at which point I was soaked, shivering, and exhausted. Moral of the story here: you never know if it’s going to rain. Be prepared.

2. Decent shoes.

Learn from my mistakes, friends. Don’t think, “But I want to look cool with these shoes that have no support whatsoever and hardly have a sole.” Go with Skechers if you have to. You are going to be walking A LOT. The space between the main stages and the smaller stage is a scenic one, but it is a hike. It also looks like there will be a fair amount of rainfall in the days leading up to the festival so it might be muddy. Plan accordingly.

3. Sunscreen.

Again, I was too cool for sunscreen and after two days of uninterrupted sun it was uncomfortable to sleep I was so burned. There is no cover from that pounding Eau Claire sun. Heed your inner dad/mom and just go for it.

4. One of these inflatable couch things.

I saw a bunch of people using these at Pitchfork and they looked super comfy. There is a healthy amount of space to lay around and just relax at Eaux Claires. If you are horribly inflexible like me, but still want to relax, this could be a cool thing to get. Link for the lazy. Get your Amazon-overnight-shipping on.

5. A pen.

I suggest theZebra F-301. This was the one thing I brought last year that I used liberally. Last year they gave every attendee a really cool notebook with all the pertinent festival information and a generous amount of blank pages for your own notes. Use these pages! Write down everything you can. Capture your memories, feelings, insights. You are going to be one of the very first people to hear the new Bon Iver album as the band debuts it live at the festival. Write down what you think.

6. A good attitude.

Hey, I almost died last year, but I loved every second and I’m going back this year. Why? Because even though a bunch of crappy stuff happened I still had a great time, saw a bunch of old friends, listened to great music, and made great memories. It’s going to be a great time. Enjoy it.


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