Student Voice


May 26, 2024


Summer music festivals bring variety of artists to western Wisconsin

Falcon News Service

April 19, 2017

Music fans in western Wisconsin will have no shortage of music this summer.

In recent years, the region has started to fill the summer months with music festivals featuring artists from genres all over the popular music spectrum, including rock and roll, country, metal and folk. Despite a crowded summer market, area festival organizers have managed to bring in national performing acts while drawing large crowds. This year’s festivals are expected to be no different.

Two of the summer’s most popular festivals are located at the Somerset Amphitheater, one of the largest outdoor venues in the Twin Cities area. Holding anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people, each year the amphitheater bloats the small town population of Somerset, Wisconsin, to the size of a small city.

This year, the venue will host two popular events, the Northern Invasion Festival and the Summer Set Festival. Northern Invasion kicks off the summer on May 13 and 14. The festival typically features national touring metal and hard rock performers including Slipknot, Korn and Disturbed. However, this year organizers are branching out to appeal to a more mainstream audience with performances from Soundgarden, Kid Rock and Godsmack topping the bill.

Tickets for the event include single day general admission passes currently going for $64.50, but the price is expected to go up to $79.50 closer to the event. Other weekend, VIP or hotel packages are available at a variety prices. Those interested in the event can find more information online at

The amphitheater will also be hosting the sixth annual Summer Set festival, which features several popular hip hop and electronic dance music (EDM) performers. The event draws people from all over the area to see some of the biggest names in the genres. Last year saw performances from now Grammy Award winner Chance the Rapper and EDM fan-favorite Skrillex. This year, from Aug. 11-13, the event is bringing in marquee names such as Die Antwoord, Run the Jewels and RL Girme.

Hip hop and EDM fans will have to pay anywhere from $189.50 to $229.50 for a regular ticket or $495 for a VIP pass. More information is available online at

After years of rock and country festivals in nearby Cadott, the city of Eau Claire is enjoying its own success with three popular music festivals including the Blue Ox Music Festival, the Eaux Claires Festival and Country Jam U.S.A.

From June 8-10, the third annual Blue Ox Music Festival will give music fans the chance to see performances from nationally touring bluegrass, folk and Americana artists including Sun Volt, Drive-By Truckers and the Punch Brothers. According to organizers, the festival brings in around 4,000 people each year and has grown to attract music fans from 49 states.

Jim Bischel, president of the Blue Ox Festival and Country Jam U.S.A, said that during the busy festival season, Blue Ox is able to stand out through its unique rural setting.

“Our fans really appreciate trees and nature and the beauty of the landscape that we have,” Bischel said.

Bischel said the festival is also expanding its reach by adding more genres to the fest.

“We tried to mix it up a little bit, rather than just straight bluegrass or straight folk,” Bischel said.

Single day tickets to festival are available for $90, while weekend passes are available for $165. More information about the Blue Ox Music Festival can be found at

The third annual Eaux Claires Festival continues Eau Claire’s summer of festivals with fans from around the world flocking to the festival on June 16-17. Run by Justin Vernon, a Wisconsin native and frontman of the highly successful indie band Bon Iver, the Eaux Claires Festival is sure to be remembered this year with a bill filled with legendary acts including Paul Simon, John Prine, Wilco, Chance the Rapper and Sylvan Esso. The festival is quickly becoming one of the most popular music festivals in the country. Single day tickets start at $90 with two-day passes at $169. Further information is found online at

Eau Claire’s festival schedule is rounded out by the summer staple, Country Jam U.S.A.. For 28 years, the festival has brought in the biggest names in country music. From July 20-22, the festival will bring in popular acts including Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan. More information for the festival can be found at

The city of Cadott, Wisconsin, also will continue its tradition of bringing in thousands of people for both Country Fest and Rock Fest. From June 22-25, music fans will travel to the city to see country superstars including Blake Shelton, Eric Church and Thomas Rhett. Fans can purchase a four-day pass for $175 with additional fees for parking.

From July 13-15, Cadott will switch gears for Rock Fest. The festival will bring in thousands of hard rock fans for performances from Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie and Insane Clown Posse. A single day ticket is available for $79. More information on these can be found at

No information has been released yet on the popular local concert series “Chill on the Hill,” organized by UW-River Falls and the City of River Falls.