An Instamatic Account of Treefort Music Festival

Words by Hannah Oshin
Photos by Jake Hanson

If Boise, Idaho is a foreign locale to you, the idea of a growing music festival and an abundance of booming venues might seem odd at first. As it turns out, Boise is a hidden gem in this regard, offering a plethora of unique venues, welcoming local bars and mom & pop style establishments that served as a gathering space for the 400 musical acts and nearly 18,000 music loving attendees at Treefort Music Festival. Hoping to come back with a head full of new jingles and a fistful of tangible memories, we took a weekend road trip with the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat and some Fuji Instax Mini Film and came back with the keepsakes below.

Treefort featured one main outdoor stage and nearly two dozen indoor venues of various sizes, all scattered throughout buzzing downtown Boise. On the main stage, we caught a mellow afternoon set by Andy Shauff and an incomparable performance art set by Kate Tempest. In the evening we were laughing and singing along with Mac Demarco, and later were completely taken by Angel Olson, whose dreamy yet powerful voice filled much more than the proverbial room.

Bouncing between the additional local venues to catch some smaller acts (read: El Korah Shrine, Nuerolox and Hannah’s), we stumbled across Triptides – a band we had to catch twice during our stay. Showing support for Seattle bands is easy these days, thanks in part to a thriving music scene. One stand-out was SISTERS, the up and coming pop duo with catchy hooks, soothing harmonies and excessively fun facial expressions. The evening was further improved thanks to a private show by Moon Darling, a Seattle psych group from local label, Freakout Records, and of course by Thunderpussy – a flock of ladies that rock so hard that their viewers often suffer from hearing loss and absolute hysteria.

Live music wasn’t the only aspect of Treefort that brought in the crowds. Festival founders have continued to improve the festival each year by adding new features, including YogaFort, AleFort, ComedyFort, FilmFort, FoodFort, HackFort, KidFort, StoryFort and SkateFort. Founders even helped to coordinate admission-free shows as a part of what’s become known as FreeFort, a selection of events at all-access venues. Even the free bus shuttles had performances for passengers to watch!

This time around, music brought us to Boise, but the city itself also has us itching to return. Our long weekend in the City of Trees consisted of repeat breakfasts at our new favorite spot, Big City Coffee, whose food, decor and perfectly roasted coffee (all sold for a great cause) were more than enough to get behind. If Boise is in your sites, we recommend a walk through charming Veterans Park, a drive to the top of Boise Heights to take in the view, and a stroll through the boutiques and restaurants in Hyde Park.

By the end of the weekend, it hardly felt like we had scratched the surface of all that Boise had to offer, but it was easy to tell that the folks behind Treefort and the Boise community at large had the right idea. In many ways, this was the kind of music festival we dream of – big enough to draw some well-known headliners, yet small enough to feel hassle free. 2018 marks year 7 for Treefort – we’re coming back for you Idaho!

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