The news of the opening of the Woodstock Museum got me to thinking about some of the summer events advertised in this area.
This weekend is Sawdust City Days, sponsored by the local paper. I went last year, and it is a carnival with some big music acts each evening. It is really a big carnival or small state fair.
In July, on the same weekend the 17th through the 20th, there are competing outdoor music festivals which are outside the community and include camping as an option. Closest to Eau Claire is Country Jam. It is an open area west of town. Last year the headline act was Bon Jovi who was on tour promoting his new country album. This year's Saturday headliners are Clay Walker and Carrie Underwood (in separate shows).
A little bit away from here Rock Fest in Cadott, Wisconsin. Thursday performers include Boston, Godsmack is on Friday, Saturday includes Goo Goo Dolls and Stone Temple Pilots, Sunday concludes with Matchbox Twenty.
When I arrived in the area 18 or so months ago, I was surprised at the number of outdoor concerts with big names. Part of why it can happen here is the low price of land makes it economically feasible to keep a large enough plot of land to hold these kinds of events. At the same time, it is not outrageously far from population centers. From the Twin Cities to Eau Claire is about an hour and half (depending on where in The Cities you live). Cadott is 105 miles, so under two hours. The flyer I picked up for Rock Fest notes that it is 265 miles from Milwaukee and 340 miles from Chicago. From those cities, Eau Claire is about 50 miles closer.
I guess that the lessons learned at Woodstock (about security, etc.) have paid off.