Treefort is for Everyone Boise, Idaho – April 3, 2018 TREEFORT MUSIC FEST is a tickle of joy, to the Treasure Valley’s universe. It’s truly for everyone as a surge of Boise natives and new blood takes over the town for this 5-day festival. I’ve never seen a celebration seize a city quite like Treefort does… […]
The sunshine was absolutely glorious for one of the first days since it was officially considered Spring. It was hard to sit still at my desk knowing that first Thursday, one of the best monthly events in downtown Boise, was already happening while I was stuck working. I made plans to meet my new Craigslist roommate for first Thursday activities because we figured, what a better place to meet than mingling with free alcohol, free food, fun in the sunshine, and incredible community art?! When I met up with her, she told me I needed to “catch up” since she had been partaking in free wine and gallery activities since 3:00pm.
She took me to a place that allowed us pour our own glasses of wine (one thing I learned from being in college/a sorority was how to pour a hefty glass of vino). While I drank my first Malbec of the evening, we waited in line for a “free photography session.” I’ll confess that the singular glass of wine was not nearly enough to loosen me up for how awkward I felt with an elderly man snapping my photos. I feel like posing in front of somebody that’s taking your picture is one of the most unnatural things you could possibly do with your body. I was probably trembling and sweating in my suede dress, so the guy looked at me and said, “honey you’re beautiful, why are you so nervous?” Obviously I proceeded to feel even more uncomfortable/nervous after this statement was made.
Next we made our way to Mixed Greens, the cutest little souvenir and trinket shop in all of downtown Boise (in my opinion). Here there were two bulky bearded men handing out full-beer pours from Odell brewery. We tried their blackberry sour as we perused the wrapping paper isle and sampled too many different scents of lotion. Without reading the label on a bottle, I accidentally squirted shampoo all over my hands, so I soapily sulked out of Mixed Greens. We then snuck into what looked like a “private party” at a newly established architecture firm downtown. Everyone was wearing suits and ties, and we were just awkwardly loitering around the wine-bar. People were definitely throwing some shady looks our direction, but nobody said anything, so we took a nice glass of wine “for the road.”
We sampled several sweets with very inventive flavors at the Chocolate Bar, and ran to City Peanut Shop to get some savory flavors on the palate. There is really nothing quite like the beer/nut combo, it’s a match made in heaven, but the nut shop ended up being out of beer-samplers. By this time I was feeling quite tipsy, and confident enough in my chances of success, that I asked the guys that were packing up if we could have free beer tokens to Boise Brewing Company since they had run out of samples before we made it in. I figured it was a bold-ask, but I’ve also come to realize that if you don’t ask, you’ll never get what you want. Sure enough, they whipped out five free-beer certificates for my friends and I. Always worth the ASK because you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!
The last gallery we walked into, I recognized the “BABE DON’T” guy that makes all those stickers you’ve seen allover town. Nobody really knows exactly what it means, but it’s provocative and hilarious for some reason. He gave us some new BABE DON’T stickers as well as a bust of Kanye West with the saying, “adhesive messages of misdirection.” My friends were all googly-eyed that we were finally meeting this local celebrity that has star-status without even being known to the public. Again we got full beers and walked out with them in-hand, but this time the bouncers caught onto us. They were super pissed and yelled at us until my new roommate (with the most adorable freckles you’ve ever seen), asked for their forgiveness. Freckles are legitimately a superpower.
Parking is FREE at the Owyhee building on First Thursdays, but when I Ubered back to my car in the morning (figuring they wouldn’t start ticketing until 8:00am like the signs read), I had accrued a parking ticket. I called the ticketing company to see what had happened and they noted that the “free parking” only lasts until 10:00pm. However, I think the good vibes of First Thursday continued into the early hours of Friday morning because they wiped my record and let me go unscathed. I figured they let me off not only because they were happy that it was Friday, but also because I chose to Uber home that night. ALWAYS PLAN TO UBER HOME ON FIRST THURSDAYS. Shit gets wayyy too LIT!!
For the last two years I’ve been volunteering at Treefort so that I can get a $30 festival-pass, and for the last two years, honestly, volunteering has been one of the greatest things about the festival! You get to assist in a wide variety of tasks while meeting a lot of really cool people that are obsessed with music, having fun, art, food, beer, volunteering and fellow festivalgoers. Treefort is one of the only music festivals that doesn’t pride themselves strictly on having the “most popular” lineup. They like to find up-and-coming musicians that are not super prevalent to most of society, however, the talent they display is extremely artistic—migrating to Boise from all areas of the musical world. Another aspect that sets it apart is that Treefort is not solely a weekend event, but a full-time-festi that runs from Wednesday through Sunday, attracting a mostly-local crowd but also those from comparable cities like Portland, Boulder and Missoula. I also really relish their employment of local bars and venues rather than setting up in a completely random field somewhere like many festivals most often do.
Alefort, where numerous local and regional breweries get together to trade beer tastings for tokens purchased from the venue, occurred all day Saturday and Sunday. I woke up unseemly early (my body-clock likes to wake me up at 7:00am despite how late I went to bed), and was ready to get going. I texted my TF-buddies to meet downtown underneath the Alefort tent around 11:00am. Festivities were just picking up and we arrived without having to wait in any lines. Saturday was a gorgeous day and we could finally play in the sun without having to holster a jacket. Towards the end of the day (we were probably there for 5+ hours), the volunteer beer-pourers started becoming progressively more lax on taking tokens from us. By closing, we probably had around 23 beers each, mind you they were taster-sized glasses. At one point, we actually got cut off from frequenting a brewery, and the bartender got his pouring privileges pulled as he was giving us too many free drinks and tit-tats.
For my volunteer shifts this year I decided to select a wide array of opposite activities. On Wednesday night, I worked at the admission door at El Korah Shrine checking wristbands and taking payments for tickets. We were at max-capacity almost the entire time, and it was hilarious to see all the drunk-in-publics getting stoked as we slowly let them trickle into the venue. We were cheering and high-fiving people as we let them in. One guy gave me a $10 tip, which the event manager said was absolutely unheard of in the history of Treefort! My final shift was at Kidfort, where we got to watch the merchandise table and the hysterical activities going on under the Kid’s tent. Witnessing “The Noise Guy,” was by far one of the weirdest yet funniest things I’ve ever seen. Basically, a man got on stage with symbols, other noise-making utensils, a book about burps and farts, and took the kids through an hour act of the weirdest performance known to man. The kiddos’ belly-laughter never ceased during the entire act, after all, what 4-year-old doesn’t find hilarity in a full-grown-man making fart noises all over a public stage? The Boise School of Rock also exhibited several incredible teenage rock-band performances, which made me wish there was an extra-curricular like this where I was growing up!
Several of the venues sold out this year for the bigger artists such as Magic Sword, Open Mike Eagle, and STRFKR. The Mainstage never had a line, so it was really the place to be. This year I was most excited about seeing Lizzo because I’ve been listening to a podcast, “on being,” that Lizzo does the interlude-music for. My favorite shows were: Ghost b2b Magic Sword at El Korah Shrine; The Seshen because of the lead singer’s soulful voice, wild hair and stage presence; the Infamous String Dusters and their ability to draw a full house of tie-dye-wearing, barefoot-dancing, hippie-revivalists; Kate Tempest with her powerful spoken-word on love and equality, and watching as the entire audience around me was moved to sobbing tears of joy and understanding; and closing out the show with STRFKR on Sunday night with the most consecutive crowd surfers I’ve ever witnessed during a concert.
I loved how they set up a colorful food-truck-row, “Tastes of Treefort,” where people bustle back and forth deciding on goodies to consume. We tested out Gyro Shack, Poutine Fries, Rice Works, and of course sampled the fine-eats within the Alefort tent. There were cool “thrift-shop” booths offering funky jean jackets, Hawaiian shirts, wigs and fur hats for $5/a pop. Some ladies were giving away professional calligraphy-letter art with people’s names or chosen sayings. This central hub of Treefort was alive and bustling all weekend with flamboyant outfits, beers overfloweth, smiling faces, free-stuff galore, and great music. When the tents were taken down and the roads were clear on our drive to work Monday morning, we felt a weird emptiness inside: PCD—Post Concert Depression.
Overall I must congratulate the people running Treefort on an absolutely immaculate production this year! Though last year was amazing, they have come leaps and bounds just within the last 365 days. Their stage design was absolutely gorgeous, utilizing reclaimed barn-wood, pop-up artist/graffiti locations, birch branches, pops of bright neon colors, and live cherry blossoms. They had a colossal collection of merchandise with hues and prints reminiscent of 90s cartoons, like the Rugrats. They shed light on some up-and-coming/unknown talents, as well as hosting several huge names in the music industry. Their food and beer selection was absolutely delectable with all the restaurant contestants serving only their finest array of locally grown flavors and combinations. And the people—OH, the people of Treefort—every new friend I encountered was just simply MAGNIFICENT!!