Treefort Music Fest 2012

Kicking off what will hopefully become a regular music and arts festival in downtown Boise, the Treefort Music Festival saw about ten thousand people from a variety of places on March 22-25. Undoubtedly the heavy attendance was due to the phenomenal headliners Built to Spill, Why? and Of Montreal.

Here’s a festival retrospective and live performance starring Why? produced in part by local production company Retroscope Media.

A first-year event can be very interesting to witness, and even better to watch grow in time. In this case, 130 bands played in 8 different venues, which ranged from the large-scale outdoor main stage to mid-sized venues that regularly host live music, like Neurolux and Red Room. Certainly, even in this capacity, the festival had the look and feel of a developing SxSW, in that the downtown Boise area has plenty of local businesses and open lots to utilize. The producers had keeping attendees busy in mind when they packed the schedule with industry panels, interactive art performances, craft beer, food trucks, street vendors, and a daytime in-store performance at The Record Exchange from Blitzen Trapper.

An additional selling point for an out-of-towner such as myself was how Treefort’s lineup really hit a sweet spot. Over four days, the combination of bands covered a great sampling of what Boise’s music scene has to offer, as well as some of the best names in Northwest folk/Americana. However, it was the abundance of San Francisco Bay Area bands that the psychic powers of the festival’s bookers tapped into that were the most appealing. The complete list includes Mwahaha, Blasted Canyons, Tartufi, Appetite, Sister Crayon, Night Genes, The Spyrals, The Soft White Sixties, Maus Haus and the honorary former Oakland resident Why?.

On that note, it’s fair to mention how incredibly well-received all of these visiting Bay Area bands were, even for those who were playing Boise for the first time. K. Flay, Tartufi and Mwahaha all played to large crowds from the festival’s main stage, and Maus Haus played to a packed crowd at The Reef on Friday night, where people were fully engaged in dancing to their set. The general response was heartwarming, and as a result, made me feel both at home as well as surrounded by a bunch of newly-acquired SF music fans.

There’s more. Aside from the familiar faces I know and love (mentioned above), I walked away from this festival really feeling like I witnessed some up-and-coming acts from all over the country and even the world (one band, in fact, was from Australia). Noteworthy names Death Songs, Wild Ones, The Loom, The Dirty Moogs, Yeah Great Fine, were all key parts of my festival experience.

To close, I must thank Festival Director Eric Gilbert and his staff for a terrific first-year Treefort Music Fest, and for welcoming the San Francisco Bay Area to cover and take part in the festival.

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