Treefort – Freakout Pt. 3

Words by Skyler Locatelli
Photos by Travis Trautt (Digital) // Skyler Locatelli (Slideshow)

One way I end up telling people about Treefort is that it is kind of like what SXSW was like 20 years. But it really goes way beyond that…

The 8th annual Treefort Music Fest came around in late March and the Freakout Records crew hosted a stage for a third year in a row. The stage included 8 x handpicked artists and was held at the PreFunk Beer Bar.  A staple day into the evening party spot, PreFunk has grown to be the perfect place to meet various crews during the 5 x day music and arts festival. With an outdoor stage, beer taps galore and the most humble and entertaining host and MC, known as Yeti, who greets you with a smile and sometimes a lift every single time you see him. Thanks for the love and constant support, YETI!

Treefort is referred to by many northwesterners as the quintessential not to be missed music festival in the NW and the last few years it has spread Nationally and beyond to become a destination festival in the quaint city of trees, Boise Idaho. (pronounced BOY-SEE)

I grew up in the small Idaho town of Twin Falls and spent my youth going to Boise for music experiences from the Vans Warped Tour to Rage Against the Machine inside the Old Idaho Penitentiary and Widespread Panic at Lucky Peak State Park. After seeing countless shows in my youth going back now to experience Treefort makes my appreciation and passion exponential for what Treefort is doing for the community of Boise and State of Idaho. This year I spoke on my very first Industry Panel. It was a discussion how labels support emerging artists and to my surprise the audience was filled mostly with young artists. Other industry panelists included representatives from A2IM, (Association for Independent Music) Portland Label, Tender Loving Empire and a rep from Red Eye Distribution. The experience was very rewarding for me and the panel series is another reason Treefort is doing great work for the industry and the community.

Not only is the festival bringing worldwide talent in the form of 400+ artists over 5 days, they are helping bring a level of much needed progression to what is a very conservative state. One major reason I left Idaho was to seek out city life and more culture. Treefort’s slogan this past year was “Treefort is for Everyone” and it is just that, a place where all are welcome from all cultures and communities to connect with like minding individuals all looking for a place they belong and a place they can share their love for music, culture and an out of the ordinary lifestyle.

During Treefort you get to foray around downtown Boise without a care in the world, skipping from venue to venue, show to show, and to a series of themed “forts” like yogafort, filmfort, alefort and storyfort  to name a few. Treefort is a very family friendly festival.

Not only will you discover a meticulous curated music experience brought to you by Treefort Co-Founder and Festival Director, Eric Gilbert, you will never be disappointed when you stumble across the un-expected like going into the basement the El Korah Shrines (yes the Shriners wear their hats and sell you beer tokens) to find a bustling bar you had no idea was there, or seeing Y La Bamba open up for Boise’s hometown heroes Built To Spill at around a 400 capacity venue, the Olympic.

After a week in Texas for SXSW and a stop in Marfa, Freakout Records fam was thrilled to call Boise their home for five days. Greeted by family and friends in Boise Freakout settled in to another Treefort by catching some shows and connecting with friends. Standouts throughout the week included seeing Liz Cooper and the Stampede close out night 1 at the Nerolux, Cedric Burnside, Cherry Glazer, Bret Netson with Weeed doing a 4 HOUR FACE MELT at the Boise Contemporary theater, side note we didn’t make it the full 4 hours and it was great to see Black Mountain play on the main stage after what seemed to be a long break for the band.

What made Freakout most proud was watching label alums, Smokey Brights play their last few shows of a successful tour. We thought their SX set was amazing, which it was, but when they played their official Treefort at the Olympic the band played what they considered to be their best show EVER, little did they know there was a line around the block to get in!

Freakout’s stage took place for a second year at PreFunk Beer Bar. KEXP DJs Atticus and Sharlese provided our ears with solid selections throughout the day, it was great to have them both back this year. Kicking things off was Olympia/Portland based Oh, Rose. With their blissful version of pop punk the crowd was already filling in for a 2pm set. Congrats to the band on signing with Park the Van Records and an upcoming tour with Yeasayer!

Next up was our Seattle friends Monsterwatch, always rocking, always energetic and even at 3 in the afternoon John has the ability to crowd surf and destroy faces!

LA based Blushh also impressed the crowd with their poppy punk and gritty guitar work with polished vocals. A band that had so much fun they forget a guitar and had their other LA mates grab it for them as they had already hit the road home early the next day.

Our Mexico City friends Carrion Kids once again pushed the crowd to the edge with the punk jams. It was such a pleasure to have supported Carrion Kids with their first ever US tour. It is very difficult for bands from Mexico and any country south of the boarder. They were the kindest of people and played some really fun hard rock. Don’t worry they will back for more future Freakout events.

Prism Bitch hit the stage next. Man we love this band. The newest band to sign with Freakout they put on fantastic and energetic set. With their acrobatic theatrics they’ve become a favorite act to perform Treefort for a couple years in a row now. Even turning the head of Doug Martsch of Built To Spill, which the band has been offered a supporting role for this Fall’s East Coast run for the 20th anniversary tour of Built To Spill’s seminal record, Keep it Like a secret. A quick Rain storm came during Prism Bitch which only a few left the open-air stage, a true NW audience wasn’t going to be phased by some rain drops.

Smokey Brights and Acid Tongue once again kept the energy high level, with smiles all around and ales dripping off lips, these bands continue to prove themselves as road warriors just on the brink of major things. Acid Tongue was backed all tour by the Carrion Kids, and with German born, Mexico City based Jasmina Hirschl on keys we even got a sneak peak of new Acid Tongue material from their next full length record, due out later this year.

The showcase wrapped up with Spain’s FAVX. Describing bands is always an interesting thing to do, to me these guys are like an early Pink Floyd inspired band with elements of heavy psych and punk. Their sound is super unique and their stage presence strong, so much that whoever witnessed them came away saying who the hell was that and where do I find their music? A few different folks told us that was their favorite set at Treefort.

What else can we say, Freakout loves Treefort. We hope to just continue coming back year after year, at the very least as attendees but we’ve built this connection with the festival and every year we leave completely inspired. We turn that inspiration into ideas for our own festival, coming this November in Seattle! Shout out to Wayward for giving us the opportunity to share our stories from the road.

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