Happy #Treefort2016, intrepid music voyagers.
Boise's annual extravaganza is back, here to celebrate its fifth birthday. Treefort Music Fest organizers have cooked up quite the five-day whirlwind, beginning Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. There are must-see shows, including Youth Lagoon's final American show before Trevor Powers retires the music project. There's also plenty of ways to catch *free* "second-chance shows," including a special prefort show on Wednesday at 11 a.m. with Lucy Dacus – a musician from Virginia dubbed by Bob Boilen of NPR Music his favorite new artist of the year.
But beyond music recommendations – what are the things you need to know to get the best out of your Treefort experience? Whether you're a newbie to the fest from out-of-state (welcome to Boise!) or a veteran Treefort trekker with all the merit badges, we've got you covered. (For more logistics and scheduling info, keep these sites handy.)
1. Download the Treefort app: The development team really went all out with the app this year. Volunteers from White Cloud Analytics have created a customizable schedule with sharing capabilities, and simple ways to listen to or read up on everything going down between March 23-27. And the app is the best way to access the schedule, which will no longer be available in a paper form (the Trail Guide) like in years past.
2. B-Corp status: Treefort is the only music festival in the country to receive the elite certification. Don't know what a B-Corp is? It's basically the equivalent of getting organic and fair trade certification for your business (not my analogy, but it works). Treefort goes through a rigorous accounting process around environmental sustainability, community involvement, and protecting the inherent mission of the festival. It's not easy. But the festival organizers are adamant that they don't want to see Treefort become a place where corporate sponsors take over stage (quite literally – as in the now infamous "Doritos stage" at #SXSW in Austin). It's an uncompromising way of protecting their mission, and so far, it's working. This is Treefort's fifth year, and the festival is beginning to make money – without relying on big name (expensive) bands and big name sponsors.
3. Band Dialogue returns: Get ready for some serious noise, Boise. The beautiful cacophony returns to Treefort for a fourth time, led by musician Seth Olinsky. This year, local rock legends Built to Spill will join in the fun, happening on Grove Street in front of The Modern at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. As the Oregonian described the 2015 Band Dialogue, "There's no hyperbole that could adequately describe the sheer sensory assault . . . It was epic. It was exhilarating. It was beautiful." But why even try to put it into words? Check out last year's Dialogue and see for yourself.
4. Watch: Filmfort is bringing a slew of under-the-radar films to screen again this year. There’s a good showing of Idaho projects as well, in keeping with Treefort’s overall tradition of promoting the local arts scene. One of those projects is “Smoke,” a short film based on the story by Boise author Alan Heathcock. It was shot in different parts of southern Idaho in 2013. After the 6:00 p.m. screening at The Owyhee on Wednesday, filmmaker Cody Gittings and Heathcock will talk about the film. Another film with Idaho roots is “Pelota,” a short documentary about the world of Cuban baseball by a filmmaker who grew up in Ketchum. Another bonus for attending Filmfort? You get to rest those feet and knees after hours and hours of standing/jumping/dancing at music shows. Whew.
5. Eat: The latest branch added to Treefort is Foodfort, an exploration of the Idaho culinary scene. The programming is both about eating and talking (hopefully not at the same time), and includes panel discussions on topics like how to define “local” foods and what it’s like to be a food photographer (featuring Guy Hand of Edible Idaho).
6. Walk/Bike/Bus: There’s a reason why festival organizers make the festival walkable. And as long as the weather holds up (fingers crossed) walking should work out just fine. Be sure to look up and enjoy the early blooming trees around downtown, too. But if you prefer two-wheeled modes of transportation but don’t have your own, Boise Green Bike is a good option. They’re offering a special during the festival; use the code “BOIS34414” to get $5 off. They’ve added new racks in downtown to make it easier to pick up and drop off bikes. Oh, and people with Treefort wristbands can ride the bus for free.
7. March Madness: Rigsketball returns! The scrappy street basketball tourney will be back this year, bringing punk rockers to the blacktop as bands face off against one another. Organized by Portland band And And And, it’s a raucous good time. Check out the video shot last year, and look out for local basketball-loving musicians ripping it up on the court.
Between now and Wednesday? This is the time to hydrate, get restful sleep (you're going to need it!), and put your dance pants on.
Be sure to bookmark "Your Guide To Treefort" for exclusive and unique festival coverage.
Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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