Boise's Treefort Music Fest

Boise's Treefort Music Fest

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 9:39 PM

BOISE -- Four days. 137 bands. 8 stages.  Boise's inaugural Tree Fort Music Fest is expected to be big. 

How big?  Organizers say they expect to sell at least 2,500 tickets per day throughout the four-day inaugural festival.  That means thousands of concert-goers will be roaming throughout the City of Trees listening to music, buying food and beverages, and perhaps making history this weekend.

You've probably heard about the Treefort fest by now -- but in case you haven't -- here's a breakdown:

- 137 bands on 8 stages over four days

- Shows run from Thursday at 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m on Monday.

- Main stage capacity is 1,000 + outside the Owyhee Plaza in downtown Boise.

- All venues are generally in walking distance of each other

- A $79 general admission pass gets you into every show

- Individual concert tickets are also available

- Select venues are open to all ages

- Festival proceeds support non-profit Boise Community Radio

The festival's headline acts include Boise's "Built to Spill," hipster rockers "Of Montreal" from Athens, GA, and Portland-based "Blitzen Trapper," just to name a few.  You can find a full list of acts here.

Don't recognize the names?  That's because many are stars of the current college radio scene, while some are underground celebrities who have developed a niche following in alternative music circles.

Lead organizer Eric Gilbert says many of the shows will appeal to "connoisseurs" of alternative rock, electronic music, and dozens of experimental genres that defy common explanation.

"It's almost nerdy," Gilbert told KTVB with a smile. 

Gilbert plays in the Boise-based band "Finn Riggins." He and several band-mates brainstormed the Treefort festival in 2010 while they were playing to gigantic crowds at the South by Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX.

"The whole idea was to make Boise a stopping-off point for bands returning to the Northwest after the show," Gilbert said. 

Could that put the City of Trees on the music industry's 'radar'?

"Absolutely," Gilbert says.

In fact, if organizers have their way, Boise's Treefort Fest will grow into a massive, annual event with the musical talent and organization comparable to South by Southwest.

Community radio producer Lori Shandro says she hopes the festival will help shape local music tastes too.  Shandro works with KRBX 89.9 -- better known as Radio Boise.  The station will benefit from any cash proceeds netted by the festival.

"We wanted to change the way the Boise music culture becomes educated about emerging bands and artists," Shandro said.

That 'culture' is already supporting many of the bands scheduled to play at this year's festival with some old-fashioned, Idaho hospitality.

Financial organizer Drew Lorona says Treefort is backed by local hotels, restaurants, and bars who want to take a chance on the event's monetary potential.

"Ninety-nine percent of the sponsors are local," Lorona said, adding that many of the bands have been offered free perks like hotel rooms, and even ski and snowboard rentals from local businesses just to sweeten the deal.

How much potential revenue is at stake for these businesses?  It could be huge.

Lorona wasn't shy about saying he expects the overall financial impact to be "in the millions" just a few years from now when Treefort is well-established.  For now, he says organizers hope to at least break even, and be able to cut Radio Boise "a nice check," after the first-annual Treefort Fest concludes.

More highlights:

- A giant treehouse with murals and wooden towers will be built on Thursday for the main stage

- Radio Boise will stream all music from the main stage on its website

- Organizers will hold music industry panels on various topics on Saturday and Sunday

- Several local breweries will will be on-hand with specially-crafted "Treehouse Ale"

- Expect food truck rallies on Friday and Saturday to cater to hungry concert-goers.

- Boise's Rock School will offer music workshops in the early evening on Saturday and Sunday

For more information and a full schedule of events, please visit the Treehouse Music Festival website.

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