“I don’t know where to begin.”
When we started Leav, we came up with a number of phrases that we thought spoke to what the app was all about. These phrases tend to surface at different times, according to the nature of a project. The phrase I found myself repeating most a week ago in Eau Claire, WI was “the power of place.” It was the only way I could describe what I saw at the inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival at Foster Farms festival grounds just outside of the town.
One week later, we still feel the vibrations of Eaux Claires. Not just the sounds we heard, but the vibrations we felt from everyone-musicians, staff, festival-goers. Justin Vernon had it right–something happened at Eaux Claires that doesn’t happen at any other festival. A community came together, but not just the Eau Claire community. The community that was created by Eaux Claires, by all who took in, and took part in, music and art that weekend. A rough, ragged, but still mystical and ready sense of of togetherness coalesced in the Chippewa Valley for two days in July of 2015, and we, the Leav team, were both proud and profoundly moved to be a part of it.
In many ways, Eaux Claires was the perfect distillation of what Leav is, and what it can be a part of. Place has a power all its own, without people there to witness it. But when we are there, when we take part in it, with friends, family, new acquaintances there to sing and dance and play with us, place takes on a new meaning. A meaning that we create. That’s what we saw last weekend in Wisconsin, and that’s what we have to thank Justin Vernon, the Dessner brothers, Michael Perry, all the artists, festival-goers, and staff for bringing to our eyes and ears at Eaux Claires.
And of course, we have to thank all those who downloaded Leav and made it a part of their festival experience. We hope we gave you a window on not only the power, but also the potential of a place in the Chippewa Valley, “That river behind you,” as Michael Perry said. “Runnin’ through the night. Runnin’ through all time.”