Rounding Up Outsiders’ Perspectives of Treefort
When you put on a party, you always wonder which guests will show up. And for those that do, you wonder what impression they leave with. In Boise and Idaho, it's no secret that many of us have agita over what those beyond our state think of our home. Often, we're just excited if people can find the state on a US map, let alone locate our capitol city.
But five days after the latest incarnation of Treefort Music Fest brought thousands to the Boise Metro for a celebration of music, technology, arts, food, creativity and culture...it's clear this annual convergence of creative expression is putting our metro on the map like no other experience has to date.
As one astute author noted, "When Treefort assembles, the entire city puts on the festival wristband."
"In only its fourth year Treefort Music Fest in Boise was something to behold. With 430 acts at 29 stages and forts over four days, this year's festival was a feast for the senses. Festival goers tasted exciting new (and often odd) local beers and ciders at Alefort; bands plugged in at Skatefort while skateboarders ripped the street section; live beats flooded from the Yogafort; perfectly placed jump shots rained down from the pop-up garage rock 3-on-3 basketball tournament; and a seamless racket blasted from a closed side street where a dozen generator-fueled full bands played in unison with the help of conductor Seth Olinsky....
Local food trucks were on point, smiles on faces and cranes in the air. Both Treefort and Boise continue to grow and one visit any day of the week will make a fan out of anyone."
"For a fourth year festival, Treefort is pretty mature. Over a five-day stretch, some 400 bands play about a dozen venues throughout downtown Boise, from impromptu outdoor stages to small clubs and arcades. The lineup is strong, the organization is admirable and, perhaps most importantly, the city loves to play host. The result is a fishbowl scenario wherein bands and fans are constantly running into each other, exchanging remarks, ideas, cigarettes and contact info in Idaho’s delightfully compact capitol....
Every corner of the city wants to be a part of this growing phenomenon...
When Treefort assembles, the entire city puts on the festival wristband."
Only in its fourth year, Boise's Treefort Music Fest has become the Northwest's preeminent introduction to festival season and an institution adored by both bands and fans. For bands, playing the festival is a symbol of being on the rise. For fans, it's a fairly priced festival where every show is within walking distance, there's always a good band to see, and the drinks are cheap. Recognizable members of nationally touring acts feel at ease wandering around Boise checking out the scene, and importantly, the festival feels far from reaching a critical mass where venues become unbearably crowded and corporate sponsors invade every inch of free space. And we didn't get a single parking ticket.
"1. It's possible to book a 400-band festival at venues across a city and have almost every show be accessible, enjoyable and on time. That's a real achievement. There was a capacity crowd at one or two venues a night, but that's it....
24. There's public art everywhere in Boise, from alley street art to electrical cabinets. It ranges from dinosaurs to Martin Luther King Jr.'s face depicted in glass fragments."
Reading the accolades from outsiders had me revisiting a post I wrote in 2013 after attending my first Treefort. Full disclosure, I'm not really a music person. But the event won me over for many of the reasons hinted at by the above authors,
It was about convergence…. of musical, culinary and creative expression. Visual artists, dancers, crafters, brewers, mobile chefs and dance troupes blended together to create our own distinct celebration.
It was about co-mingling… the casual melding of all walks of life that tends to happen in Boise so easily that we often forget how unique it can be. Six degrees of separation does not exist in our city or state. The streets and sidewalks surrounding Treefort vividly brought this to life in real-time, in moments that will be indelible to those who experienced them.
It was about honoring our city’s past…. (tip of the fez to the El Korah Shriners) through brick and mortar icons and local music legends, while pushing the envelope on how a city’s personality can be showcased through the intangible nature of an event. Life and vibrancy after hours. Sidewalks as gathering places. Crosswalks as conversation hubs. Strangers connecting digitally, then sharing an analog moment.
As the Festival matures and grows along with all its progeny (Hackfort, YogaFort, StoryFort, AleFort, ComedyFort and FilmFest) I'll admit to feeling a sense of pride as it snags regional and national recognition, all while maintaining its freakishly friendly Boise vibe.
Here's to #Treefort2016!