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Treefort shines a spotlight on Boise, local businesses

Leaders with Boise Valley Economic Partnership said the annual five-day event brings millions of dollars to the local economy.

BOISE, Idaho — In its tenth year, Treefort Music Fest continues to attract more attention from around the country. That attention pays off for local businesses in downtown Boise, as people in-between performances look for ways to spend their time and money.

"We've already sold through a ton of our beer that we weren't expecting to," President of Woodland Empire, Rob Landerman, said.

Landerman said Treefort week is always the busiest week for his downtown Boise brewery, as crowds filled both the inside and outside areas Friday afternoon. Woodland Empire has a music stage in their parking lot -- which anyone, at any age -- can watch for free.

"There's a lot that goes into putting something like this together," Landerman said. "A lot of infrastructure on our end, we change kind of how we operate on a day to day during this week, like how we serve and sell beer. Everything is different."

He calls this time of year a stressful week, but a fun kind of stress, because of the exposure and new faces that come to his business. 

"It brings a lot of people in from out of town and introduces them to Boise and our brewery. It also just provides a lot of density down here that we don't normally have," Landerman said. 

RELATED: Treefort Music Festival 2022 Guide: Bands, yoga, and more

It is not just Woodland Empire excited about the annual music festival. Treefort takes over downtown Boise five days a year, which leaders with Boise Valley Economic Partnership (BVEP) said brings positive impacts to many local businesses revenue. 

"Back in 2019, the last time we had [Treefort] before COVID-19 hit, it brought in a $4 million impact to the community," BVEP Executive Director, Clark Krause, said.

According to Treefort, the festival saw more than 25,000 people attend in 2019. The event saw a decline in 2021 with just over 15,000 attendees.

However, Krause said with more relaxed rules both with Treefort and in the City of Boise compared to 2021, numbers could return to pre-COVID levels or even better.

"We get a lot of people that stay overnight, we certainly get a lot of people who are eating food, enjoying our bars and other things that are available," Krause said. "They did a great job with the event in September [2021], but it is nice to see things are open again for business and entertainment. We can gather again, be part of this community and connect with each other."

Krause said events like Treefort put a spotlight on Boise and draws in companies that could help the local economy and city continue to grow. 

"Tourism and hospitality are the 'gateway drugs' for economic development," Krause said. "You have to have a great welcome mat to attract companies because as much as they look at facts of where they're going to grow next, they're looking at, 'Is this a place I want to be?' or 'Is this a place people want to live?' and I think Boise is positioned better than anyone else in the country to do that."

While Treefort and other events could bring long-term effects to the Treasure Valley's economy, places -- like Woodland Empire -- said they are just happy to have the immediate exposure it brings to their business.

"Sometimes [Treefort] can be a lifeline, you know?" Landerman said. "Without Treefort there could be a big missed opportunity there for sales, but it's also just a really fun week that we only get once a year. When you miss that you really feel it."

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