This was my second Treefort, I’m glad I was able to attend this year. I’ll try to breakdown how it works. The festival does not work like most summer festivals do, but a lot of format similarities are clear. With a lot of summer music festivals you can show up and camp or get a hotel (if you don’t live in the area) and the festival will have multiple stages to visit when your favorite bands are playing. the bands are generally mainstream or at least have a strong national / international following. Those festivals usually go over a two or three-day weekend.Treefort works a little differently, there is no camping and it goes over five days. There are multiple stages and those stages are located in established music venues. Most the bands are independent musicians and won’t necessarily have a strong following in Boise, Idaho. There is a large stage in the middle of the festival at a large parking lot with plenty of standing room. This stage is generally used for more popular national acts or local music heroes.
There is an app for the festival.
This year Treefort put out an iOS and Android app instead of paper schedules. It was fantastic. The app had a couple of shortcomings, but I suspect those bugs will be worked out in the coming years.
The app is pretty easy to navigate, you scroll down to the time and day that you want and look for an event that sound interesting and you tap the + and it stores into your personal list. There is another feature I like, you can share your schedule with friends. It generates a link that you can send via SMS or any messaging app you wish. This really streamlined my festival going. Once you choose a show, it gives you a lot of information about the band and when you tap on the venue name, it opens Google maps and tells you how to get there. It seems like a small thing, but for an event this big every bit of help is nice.
There were a lot of people at Treefort this year, a few crowded venues and some long lines. I already had one Treefort under my belt, so I had experience in the pre-planning. Sadly, there were times when I had to prioritize the shows I wanted to see because of that timing. I set out with a goal to see as many local Boise acts as I could. I managed to get to see a few big acts as well as some Portland bands.
There were, also plenty of free unofficial Treefort shows. That was nice a treat for people without a ticket or to even catch a band you may have missed. I got to see Dressy Bessy a second time, Laura Hopkins side project, Blackwater (Holylight) and a friend’s band from Denver, Male Blonding.
Treefort is a music festival worth attending, especially if you like independent music. There is more than music. I caught a play, and it was fantastic. There were food trucks outside of the main stage, there was a great beer tent, and let’s not forget Rigsketball!
I had a fun time and I’m certain I was not the only one.
The bands that I caught:
Fulton and Hunt • Meat Puppets • Trout Steak Revival • There’s Chinese Tunnels Under Boise! A Play • CJ Boyd • Skinny the Kid • Cult Bride • Bryson Cone • Death Valley Girls • And And And • Toy Zoo • Dressy Bessy • The Coathangers • Hollow Wood • Sonny & the Sunsets • Southtowne Lanes • Sun Blood Stories • The Still Tide • a.k.a. Belle • Brent Cowles • Jonathan Richman • Nick Delffs • VCR • Sama Dams • The Dig • Marco Benevento • Brett Netson • the Raven and the Writing Desk • Spirit Award • ECSTATIC VISION • Creepoid • Dead Meadow • Chanti Darling (DJ set)
Unofficial Treefort Shows
Blackwater (Holylight) • Male Blonding
Tom Chamberlain is a photographer and content creator. He was a junior-high / high-school band-geek and later studied classical guitar. He studied commercial photographer in art-school and eventually found a love for music photography. Tom has photographed musicians all over the country, but has a special love for the music scene in the Pacific Northwest. Tom is a photographer, writer, blogger, video maker and all-around image creator. Lover of all things analogue.