When: March 22-25, 2012
Where: Boise, Idaho
Who: Of Montreal, Why?, Built To Spill, AU, Blitzen Trapper
It ain’t easy being Boise. For years, the biggest burg in Idaho has been overshadowed by its western counterparts, the hipster triumvirate of Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. But now Boise has put itself on the map with the inaugural Treefort Festival. The multi-venue fest not only modeled itself as a mini-version of Austin’s famous festival, Treefort managed to snag SXSW artists roadtripping home from Texas back to the aforementioned cities.
Treefort was more than just a music festival, though. It was a chance for Boise to highlight itself as one of the hip music meccas of the Rockies. And believe me, I’ve been living up and down these mountains for years. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a bluegrass/alt-country band, but gets very sparse here when it comes to indie rock.
We skipped SXSW this year mostly because its hard to get the team anywhere during ski/snowboard season and SXSW has jumped the proverbial shark. Not in a terrible way, but the music has taken a back seat to insane marketing promotions and stunts. That’s where Treefort (and a few other festivals) have stepped up to the plate. A cool festival in a cool town with cool bands. That’s the basic recipe and Treefort followed it to perfection.
Treefort stretched out along Boise’s Main Street, with a mix of viewing options including 21+ bars, outdoor stages, and all ages venues. The family friendly main stage featured the most recognizable names of the show like Of Montreal, Why?, and Built To Spill. Blitzen Trapper at the Neurolux bar had a line around the block and so did a late night show at the Linen Building featuring AraabMUZIK.
Then you have the Boise bands which featured a smorgasbord of musical styles. Classic alt rockers, Built To Spill, filled the main stage Saturday night but the best local acts were the ones that we stumbled across. Infectiously fun hip-hop group Dedicated Servers, punk rockers Tim Blood and the Gut Panthers, and vag rock electronic duo Vagerfly showcased the variety of Boise’s scene.
And now a few days later, Treefort appears to have been a success with the announcement that there will be a sequel in 2013. Looks like we’re skipping SXSW again.