One of Wisconsin’s biggest summer music festivals is on the move. We’re breaking down this year’s big changes.
Country Jam, one of Wisconsin’s largest and longest-running country music festivals, has relocated for 2023. This year’s event runs from Wednesday through Saturday.
After 32 years in the town of Union, just outside Eau Claire on its southwest side, the new 135-acre site is about seven miles north, in the Chippewa County town of Wheaton, nestled on Eau Claire’s northwest side.
New Site: From Cornfield to Concert Grounds
“This was a cornfield a year ago,” Country Jam USA General Manager Kathy Wright said, pointing to the new festival grounds. “We’ve been looking at this on paper for 18 months and to actually come and see it–it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Country Jam co-owner Nels Gunderson says it’s been exciting to see the beautiful, rural setting come together so quickly. “The crew, contractors, everyone has done about fifteen months of work in about nine months.”
The new site, dubbed the Eau Claire Event District, also includes space for more than 1,000 campsites to pop up during the three-day event.
Also new this year: a couple of special event centers within the new venue.
“The Crescent” and “High Country” will host major special events like weddings, conferences, corporate events, and other festivals. Wright said, at the previous site, there were no options for business growth or off-season events.
“Our kitchen was built on dirt,” Wright explained. “Everything was temporary, from the kitchen to the beer tents. Each year, everything had to be built and taken down.”
Now, “The Crescent” will house the on-site catering company, KP Catering, as well as its own kitchen.
“High Country” contains a 7,000-square-foot pavilion and will serve as Jam’s main bar area and festival storage facility, but will be fully usable year-round.
RELATED: Check Out Keith Urban, Jason Aldean playing at Country Thunder in Twin Lakes
The new site will have easier access, located along County Road “T,” between Highway 29 and Eau Claire’s North Crossing (Hwy. 312).
“With two highways bookending the site, we’re hoping for more accessibility than having to drive through a residential neighborhood,” Wright told us.
Wright says for fest-goers, the only way to get to the grounds is to travel on “T,” and not go by any other GPS instructions, as nearby roads may be closed. She encourages fans to take shuttles that will be available from more than 20 nearby locations. You can find those on the Country Jam website.
If you’re going to this year’s fest, you can’t bring in umbrellas or any outside food or drinks, although you can bring in an empty water bottle or mug, and a chair, without the bag.
Jam is also cashless. Fans must use a wristband or credit card for all purchases.
This year’s headliners include Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, and Lee Brice. To see the whole lineup, you can go here.
Not able to make it? Mark your calendar for next year: Jam returns July 18-20, 2024.
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