Treefort Music Fest

Travis Olson

Boise’s Treefort Music Fest is well underway and events like Hackfort, Storyfort and Filmfort are just part of the fun. This year, Kidfort will once again bring concerts, crafts and interactive events to a younger audience. New this year is an idea dreamed up by one Boise man who wants kids to put down their electronics and start building things out of cardboard.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

The Treefort Music Fest has begun. The annual Boise music-and-arts event runs through Sunday. Each year it seems to get bigger, which festival organizers welcome, as long as it stays true to its roots. There are definitely business challenges to managing growth.

Drew Lorona, one of the co-founders of Treefort, points to the streets outside The Owyhee in downtown Boise as "the festival hub."

Matthew Wordell / Treefort Music Fest

The sixth annual Treefort Music Fest starts has begun in downtown Boise (March 22-26). The festival will once again showcase indie music from around the region and beyond. In total, 420 bands will take over more than 20 venues around downtown -- not to mention all the mini forts. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

About a dozen teenagers are helping set up a stage in a burrito shop in downtown Boise. (The salsa bar is stage right.) Some are stringing decorations from the ceiling and walls, in preparation for the slew of bands they'll host during Treefort Music Fest.

Gus Marsden is helping run this new venue as a leader of the festival's all-ages volunteer team.

FiveThirtyEight / via Hackfort

Podcasts are taking over Treefort Music Fest this year. The annual festival – which will host 420 bands – is giving podcast lovers some immersive opportunities during the March 22-26 event.

Have you heard? We’re living in the Golden Age of Audio. Or maybe it’s more like the Wild West. Podcasts are popping up in all corners of the media landscape, bringing new listeners to audio storytelling through their smartphones.

Treefort Music Fest

Boise’s Treefort Music Fest has announced its last group of musicians set to play the March festival.

The festival, now in its sixth year, has several big name indie acts on the billing. One new addition to the list today is Angel Olsen, who has played Boise before – but on a smaller stage. The musician’s latest album has been hailed by music critics, and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Peter Lovera / Treefort Music Fest

Brace yourself, nerds.

The tech portion of Treefort Music Fest has dropped their lineup of all-things-nerdy coming to Hackfort March 24-25. The top billing will be familiar to those who love podcasts and/or data journalism: host Nate Silver is set to record a live FiveThirtyEight podcast on stage at the Boise festival.  The podcast follows national and local politics, using data to dissect elections and policy. It's regularly in top 100 podcast lists and has a devoted listenership.

The latest announcement from Treefort Music Fest adds some powerhouse female voices to the five-day Boise event, including that of Minneapolis rapper Lizzo. Her song “Good As Hell” was something of a summertime anthem, and landed on NPR Music’s best of list for 2016.

Lucy Dacus / Facebook

It's that magical time of year when the NPR Music crew puts out their "best of" lists.

Although there aren't any Idaho bands on the list, Boise music fans may recognize a number of artists featured on the critics' 2016 lists. High on Bob Boilen's list is the first album from Lucy Dacus. She performed a solo set for Boise State Public Radio and Storyfort last March, and then played to an enthusiastic crowd at Treefort Music Fest that night.

Peter Lovera / Treefort Music Fest

Get your headphones ready, Treeforters.

The first bunch of bands set to play Boise's sixth-annual Treefort Music Fest is here, and features a mix of well-established and emerging bands.

screengrab / Refinery29

This year's Treefort Music Fest may seem like a distant memory already, but luckily you can relive some of the magic with a new video from New York-based fashion and culture website Refinery29. The online zine interviewed Spanish rockers Hinds during their visit to Boise this March.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

With this year’s fifth Treefort Music Fest came the third installment of Storyfort, a mini fort whose main focus is the literary arts scene in Boise.

Founder Christian Winn, a local writer and adjunct professor at Boise State, says the main idea behind Storyfort is to bring great narrative in a variety of compelling genres to the crowds already gathered and coming out for Treefort.

Alex Hecht / Treefort Music Fest

Despite some cold nights and cloudy days, thousands of people attended the fifth annual Treefort Music Fest. Festival director Eric Gilbert says organizers have learned from past mistakes to make the event easier to navigate and enjoy.

“Attendance is definitely up but our lines have been better," he says. "I feel like we’ve spread the lineup out a lot better, so it made harder choices for folks but that also led to a better line experience.”

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

Lucy Dacus is an up-and-coming musician from Virginia. NPR Music's Bob Boilen called her his favorite new artist of 2016, tipping his hat to her lyrics and songwriting.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

James Lloyd draws castles and woodsy creatures for a living.

The 32-year-old illustrator moved to Boise from Eastern Idaho in 2011. Hungry for work, he put an ad on Craigslist. Pretty soon after, somebody reached out to him asking if he could make some posters for a small weekend music festival planned for the spring of 2012. Lloyd said yes -- and quickly found himself working on posters, t-shirts, a website and print ads for a festival that had grown to almost 140 bands. Treefort Music Fest was born.

Rase Littlefield / Treefort Music Fest

Today is the first day of Boise's Treefort Music Fest. The five-year-old festival has become the heart of the indie arts and culture scene in Boise, showcasing talent from different genres – including writing and the culinary arts. Reporter Frankie Barnhill talked with Morning Edition host Dan Greenwood about this year's festival, which runs through Sunday.

The Treefort Music Festival is preparing for what will likely be its biggest year since it began in 2012. And as it grows, new elements of the festival continue to emerge.  This year attendees will see another branch of the festival with a focus on food issues.  Tara Morgan is one of the organizers of Foodfort. She says that aspect of the festival will feature two components.

“For the taste component we have 10 local chefs that are utilizing mostly local ingredients to create small plates, and then talks which is a series of panels and discussions related to food,” Morgan said.

Francis Delapena / Treefort Music Fest

Happy #Treefort2016, intrepid music voyagers.

 

Michael Smith / Treefort Music Fest

Of the 450 bands that will perform at Treefort Music Fest this week (March 23-27), 25 are international acts. That is the largest number of bands from across the pond to play at five-year-old festival. 

According to festival director Eric Gilbert, the increase in groups from around the globe is in part because the reputation of Treefort has travelled beyond U.S. borders. 

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