Why A Portland Music Critic Calls Boise's Treefort Fest 'Refreshing'

Mar 27, 2015

The 2015 Treefort Music Fest ramps up Friday with the opening of its main stage in downtown Boise.  By the time the event ends Sunday, more than 400 bands will have entertained thousands of indie music fans.  One of those fans is journalist David Greenwald.  He writes about music for the Oregonian newspaper.

Greenwald is attending Treefort for the first time this year. He says he went to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin for five years and decided this year he needed a change.

“By last year, I was just so overwhelmed by it," he says of the huge Texas festival. "There were too many crowds, bands were cancelling shows, things were happening late. It was just a complete mess to me.”

He says the Austin event had forgotten its roots. Rather than focusing on new bands and independent bands, acts like Coldplay and Lady Gaga were being featured. He says Treefort was the alternative. 

Greenwald calls the Treefort atmosphere "low key and less insane."

By comparison to the Texas mega festival, Treefort is still in its infancy.  And Greenwald says he's noticed another difference in the two events. He laments the intense and sometimes pressure-packed shows bands play in front of huge South by Southwest crowds. He's not seeing that in Boise. 

“Here [at Treefort] it’s been kind of refreshing," Greenwald says. "Bands are so low key, some of them are playing their first festival ever. They’re not always singing in tune. It’s just a very laid back, different experience. So I’m really enjoying seeing bands not under pressure, just having a good time.”

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