As the summer festival season enters into full swing, it’s a good time to reflect on what brings acts to Wisconsin. While we draw plenty of internationally touring acts to the state year-round, the growing number of music festivals - from Summerfest to Appleton’s Mile of Music, to Twin Lakes’ Country Thunder, millions of people will take in an outdoor concert in Wisconsin this year.
While the crowd numbers are smaller, the festival called Eaux Claires brought some well-known acts to western Wisconsin last month. It also brought some bands on the rise as well, including one that made the trip to Eau Claire all the way from Paris, This Is The Kit.
The lead singer and only consistent member of constantly rotating bandmates, Kate Stables, shares why she chose to hop across the pond just to end up in Wisconsin. “We’re here because there are friends of ours that organized the festival.
“It feels like kind of an extension of a residency-stroke festival we took part in in Berlin. Justin from Bon Iver was there and the Dessner brothers were organizing it and that was a nice time of collaboration and just sort of starting projects together. And this seems like a very similar spirit and philosophy - it’s a nice idea of people coming and playing music together,” says Stables.
The collaborative nature of the festival fits perfectly with the basis of This Is The Kit. Stables explains her decision to be a band rather than a solo act: “I didn’t want to be a solo act. I wanted to be able to do a variety of different things. For me that’s the whole point really. To play with different people and have different music grow out of that.”
With constantly changing bandmates, you’d think it’d be hard to define their sound. But current bandmate Rozi Plain has a perfect definition: “We were playing a show at South by Southwest and there was a tweet after our show and someone said ‘Thrift-shop pop.’” Stables explains, “We like charity shops and jumble sales, and all of our instruments have a collective value of 10 pounds. All of our instruments are just bought at thrift shops or found in bins.”