Treefort Music Fest is truly a tickle of joy to the Treasure Valley’s troposphere. A surge of Idaho natives and new-bloods take over Boise (the City of Trees) every March for this fun-filled 5-day festival. Here, you’ll observe the community coming together to uphold a spirited indie music-scene, and various spotlights illuminating all Boise, Idaho, has to offer. The buzz of live melodies and ecstatic energy literally pulses through the city throughout the duration of the festival. Treefort’s array always bewilders and baffles simultaneously. Over 450 bands, all varying vastly in genre, are hand-selected each season, taking the stage at one-of-60 venues in the Boise metropolis area. A lover of pop-ie tunes with unforgettably catchy lyrics, many featured bands are completely state-of-the-art, strange, and unfamiliar to me. Treefort’s lineup is sure to WOW you, bringing in independent and obscure names from all over the United States and the world at large.
In order to prepare for Treefort, I decided I’d go through the entire artist lineup and give each band a listen through an entire song. Four hours in… I was only through half of Wednesday night’s production-line. Moving on, I began selecting acts similarly to how I buy wine: the coolness-factor of the label. In my personal artistic opinion, if you have a good brand or product you’re selling, your artwork will exude a style that I can’t help but appreciate. Somehow, this method of lineup-selection steered me toward some of my new fav new bands. Obviously, the Treefort App allows you to simply share your schedule with friends, so you can get together and boogie down.
Every year, the festival manages to envision a totally unique event that attendees obsess over. Treefort is much more than a weekend, it’s five-days, even years, packed-full of innovative music, beer-drinking mayhem, and much more. Always hosting an eclectic batch of novel bands, on accident while romping around Treefort, you’ll stumble upon a performance that will (without a doubt) cause you to find a new favorite. If you happen to miss a set on your schedule, (due to max-capacity and wait-lines), don’t worry—there’s always 20 other shows going on at the same time. Missing a show is always a happy accident because you bump into bands like The Nude Party that literally make you want to take your clothes off in the upstairs of the Olympic building.
One of the best occurrences at Treefort that proves the community-mindedness of the festival, is that after each show you’ll see band members from a set you just geeked-out over, walk into the next show you’re attending to check out, cheer from the sidelines, and tune-in with the collective-swaying dance-cycle as an audience member. “Bands are fans, and fans are bands,” is the notable Treefort Festival slogan. By sticking around through the weekend, you’ll bump into all sorts of people appreciating instrumental art-forms while making valuable connections in the music world. Everybody goes to grow, learn, vibe and share when it comes to original music and the production of magic.
Treefort is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that transforms the aggregate of Boise into a music, art and cultural enthusiasts’ sanctuary. Look around and you’ll find “Tattoo Fort,” “Copy Fort,” and “Hair Fort,” painted on windows of tattoo parlors, print centers and barber shops. Foodfort food-trucks go out of their way to provide delectable local cuisine, while at Alefort, mixologists shake up a limited hand-crafted cocktail menu. At Treefort, there’s already “something fun for everyone,” and it’s only getting better, always expanding to include new ideas and offerings from all over the territory. Many interesting modifications of “Fort” include: Dragfort, Filmfort, Storyfort, Yogafort, Artfort, Kidfort, Hackfort, and more. “Mas es mas” when it comes to forts. Treefort is about experiencing music, bettering oneself through courses and classes, learning through talks and presentations, and listening to voices different from your own.
Boise still seems like a small-town, yet somehow a big bustling city. Of course, the moment I finished panicking while parallel-parking my car on Idaho Street (I haven’t driven a vehicle in 6-months, let alone parallel-parking amidst oncoming-traffic), I ran into one of my best friends in Boise whom I had no idea would be Treeforting for the weekend. That’s something high-on-the-cool-meter about Treefort, and Boise in general—you always encounter the loveliest familiar faces, whether or not you’re expecting it. Even when there’s no one you recognize in the room, if you’re vibin’ together to a certain type of music, ask anyone in the audience where they’re planning on heading next. They’ll probably tell you to tag along with them to enjoy another show and share in the fun of Treefort together. Fartin’ around forts is a great way to gather new friends and discover new music.
The DIY vibe of Treefort is raw, yet ultra-professional. I witnessed one man’s entire volunteer-shift at the “Sonic Temple,” spent adding, swirling, and mixing dyes and oils on old-school projector screens to create incredible visuals that appeared to be scattered across the night sky. Some memorable moments for me included headbanging as a member of Prism Bitch jumped off the stage, getting carried around by the crowd as she slammed on her guitar solo; seeing one of my many “bosses” at every electronic club-set I entered (rave rats unite!); a MASSIVE penis and vagina puppet dancing on stage at a Fungineers’ rap show; transitions from the Roaring Twenties to absolutely RAGING with High Step Society; and let’s not forget about when the crowd-vibes were so high, the power literally dropped-off, allowing us a private impromptu Grand-Piano serenade by East Forest. Treefort provides a whole New World of wild, wacky, weird and super-wavy bands, graphics, and production-techniques. Celebrating their 10th annual festival—a decade of discovery—Treefort has now included fabulous drag shows, pop-up celebrations, and silent-discos as part of their participatory-content.
At Storyfort, you can listen and share your own stories. They hosted seminars centered around “writing through grief,” women’s empowerment, refugee-relations and other global issues. Kidfort conducts a wholesome display of fun and exciting activities for you and the kiddos to explore. Here, you can get your finger-paint on, play dress-up, and even make your own Treefort-branded merchandise. Alefort supports the incredible complex of budding craft-breweries found in Boise Idaho, including handcrafted cocktails from fabulous master-mixologists of the area. Sipping frothy cocktails at the Main Stage was an event all on its own, not to mention the absolute babes they stacked pouring for volunteer shifts (was it just me, or was it the beer-goggles talking? **heart eyes**). Also, the peeps at the Ranger Station (Treefort Info-Desk) are just the best, most helpful, and friendliest people you’ll ever have the pleasure of asking for directions and music suggestions.
Teleporting to Boise, even for such a short time, is always a viiiiibe. When the sun sets, and the foothills turn pink with the sinking of each day, and the main stage lights gleam a little brighter, it just reminds me of the gratitude I have for it ALL. I haven’t lived in Boise for over five years, but I slipped right back into how life was when I inhabited this beautiful southern-Idaho city once upon a time. Friendships that were formed never seem to change; they only get stronger, yet feel exactly the same. Everyone’s faces may be getting older, but their spirits are just as bright, and their souls feel all-the-wiser. I literally sobbed the entire 8-hour car-ride home (like a reallllly UGLY cry, snotting everywhere while blasting Robyn lol – thanks, Sinkane), while I thought about the blast-of-a-week Treefort Music Festival and seeing old friends had been. Where is “Hugfort” when you need it? Cheers Treefort, and the Boise-gang for loving and living our lives together and separately for the last 10 years.
Love you always, Y’all be stayin’ wavyyy.
THE WAVY BUNCH