“Treefort is for Everyone!” (Boise, Idaho)

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… everyone is smiling, wearing funky outfits, sipping craft American beers, filling trendy taco shops and restaurants, and spending time out and about with their friend-groups or cute little ear-muffed nuclear families. Something special—full of stoke—fills the spring air. Many of the streets are closed down, the city seemingly doubles in population, and literally everyone gets involved. Restaurants set later open-hours, posters advertise special deals for festivalgoers, hotels sling “SLEEPFORT,” and copy/print stores post signs promoting, “PRINTFORT.

One could easily spend the entire Treefort week(end?) tasting the best local food and brew at Alefort and Foodfort. Rightfully named, “Fresh AF,” local Boise brewery, Woodland Empire, was freshly canning and labeling craft American IPAs. Their mobile canning unit poured, capped, and labeled the freshest head you’ve ever put to your lips, right in front of your eyes—legendary. After a little intoxication, many people emptied their unfinished beers to open their minds at Yogafort. There was amazing energy in the rainbow-colored room as musicians looped the classes’ OM chanting into their melodic mantras. Standing together, 300 people joined hands and swayed back and forth as a forest in tree pose. Instructors reminded us that it’s important to stretch through your body, but also through your mind… to breath and expand into all your “space.”

With over 450 artists in 5 days, it’s impossible to get bored, but very easy to get lost. However, in getting lost, you’ll often find a new band that absolutely blows your mind with the amount of creativity they muster. In fact, going into Treefort without a plan or schedule is almost the best way to go. You’ll stumble upon some of the best sets you’d never expect if you hop around in this way. No plan is the best plan in order to make way for happy accidents.

In one night at the festival, you can go from head-banging and throwing people around, to droppin’ it low to booty-pop, to eyes welling up with emotion and angst, to jumping around like you’re House of Pain, to frolicking like you’re at a festival in the summer sun, to a much-needed mental/movement break characterized by prolonged gazing at your shoes… then right back to head-banging again. This year I was pleasantly surprised by the energy brought by Luca Lush, the hip-work enhanced by The Russ Liquid Test, the contrast of chill-out and trap-out at Sol Rising, the countless costume-wearing hype men (and woman) of George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic, the positive messaging at Oddisee & Good Company, the amazing crowd-vibes at Magic Sword, the command to dance at ill.GATES, the one-man-band Clarke and the Himselfs, the raw emotion brought by TYPHOON, and the absolute waviness of Connan Mockasin.

The Boise All Ages Movement Project (B-AMP) is also an exciting new addition to the constructive atmosphere that the Foothills seem to shelter. This organization’s mission almost moved me to tears as they offer free use of studio space, lessons, instruments, and recording equipment to children and veterans. I covered this venue for BOYO’s set on Friday, where people of all ages linked arms in the audience. While the band played, locals were setting-up, testing mics, and crashing symbols in a little tented area to the back left of the stage. The crowd paused in search of the commotion, but the show went on. It was unique to see, though a concert was in session, the space was still being used for its original purpose—an all-inclusive community music space.

Even with all the amazing activities and freakishly fun forts, somehow, the People of Treefort are always my favorite part. Everyone is so distinctive and different, yet something about this festival draws them all together. After 8-months of traveling the world, I realized something pretty cool about home. In many other countries, you could look at people and say, “They’re Dutch,” or French, Swedish, Irish, Italian, etc. Something that dawned on me in the middle of the multitude that’s so special about Boise (and America in general) is that you could never look into a crowd of people and say, “They’re American.” The gang’s all here—a collective sea of multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-faithed individuals! TREEFORT is truly for EVERYONE!

My only suggestion for next year would be to offer a “RECOVERYFORT,” since I know ya’ll didn’t show up for work on time Monday morning. Here at Recoveryfort, you can go drink some water, cuddle a teddy-bear, visit an oxygen-bar, and receive a full-body massage for the sore muscles you’ve accumulated from dancing-your-ass-off over the last 5 days. From the outside looking in, five days of festival seems like almost too much. However, once it’s all over and they take down the stage, it seems as if it only lasted an instant, and a sort of post-party depression sinks in. All we have left in our minds are fond memories, one helluva hangover, familiar faces, fun stories, and a hope that Treefort 2019 will somehow triumph over this year’s spectacularities.

Until next year,


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