Treefort Music Fest is back for year two - bigger and better than ever.
With nearly 300 acts blasting tunes over four days on 14 stages in Downtown Boise, Treefort has the potential to be the live-music experience of your life. Here's a survival guide to help you navigate that tricky space between party perfection and a full-on skull explosion.
BUY TICKETS NOW
There are few guarantees at Treefort - except that there will be occasional venue capacity issues.
VIP passes - which are selling fast - are your best bet. They come with front-of-line privileges. However, a normal festival pass and basic planning skills should get most fans into the majority of gigs.
Are you a procrastinator? Venues will sell tickets to certain shows at the door for $10 to $20. But this wait-and-see tactic is risky. Festival pass-holders will always get first priority, and some shows probably will be too full to sell any tickets at the door, anyway.
One place that organizers do not anticipate lines? The main stage, which has a capacity of around 3,000.
DOWNLOAD THE APP
The official Treefort Pocket Trail Guide is way cool. But you will lose or shred it by day two. Fortunately, you can get everything you need on your Android or iPhone. The free Treefort app at TreefortMusicFest.com lists venue schedules and has links to music from performers. Another option: Anyone with Internet access can simply visit the way-informative Treefort website - and even print out a schedule from there.
STAY THIRSTY, FRIENDS
For the second year, a beer-tasting tent called Alefort will unleash local and regional brewskies and live music. (Twelve bands!) Open free to the public, this is a separate event from Treefort. But it will be located right outside the Treefort main stage on Grove Street.
Alefort runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 23 and 24. To drink, you will buy tokens - one 5-ounce pour per token. Some of the beers sound wild: Payette Brewing Co.'s Fernets & Peach brown ale, Crooked Fence's potato porter and Sockeye Brewing's Bourbon-barrel fermented Belgian raspberry porter.
The March 22 edition of Scene will have a full preview of Alefort.
BRING AN APPETITE
Last year, the scent of good grub at the inaugural Treefort tempted Marty Marquis of Portland band Blitzen Trapper. He felt like he was at a smaller version of Austin, Texas, festival South By Southwest: "There was good food out on the streets," he said after Treefort, "and there was good music coming from a bunch of directions."
Food trucks are all the rage in the Treasure Valley, and Treefort won't be an exception. A whopping 15 trucks are expected to rally at Treefort - from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 23 and 24. You won't need a Treefort pass to enjoy the rally; it's open to the public.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET
Treefort venues are more spread out this year, so you will hoof it. Plus, you will do hours of standing - and dancing. You'll be unpleasantly surprised how achy your tootsies can get if you don't wear comfortable shoes. Take it from a guy who could barely walk at the end of South By Southwest a couple of times: Dr. Scholl's is your friend at a multiple-day music festival. No flip flops!
SEE A FILM
The Egyptian Theatre will host music-related films that are free for Treefort pass-holders, $5 per day otherwise. Try not to miss the Dave Grohl-directed "Sound City."
On March 22: 1 p.m. "The Taxpayers Go To Florida"; 2:15 p.m. "Palace of the Winds"; 3:30 p.m. "208 Music Video Show"; 4:45 p.m. "Road to Treefort," "Sound City"; 6 p.m. "Memorex." On March 24: 1 p.m. "Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway"; 2:15 p.m. "Bands of 208"; 3:30 p.m. "Best of the 2012 L.A. Music Video Fest"; 4:45 p.m. "Road to Treefort," "Sound City"; 6 p.m. "Skinemax."
CHECK OUT A PANEL
Taking a cue from South By Southwest, Treefort offers the opportunity to learn (and debate) at daytime panels. They're free and open to the public at the WaterCooler IdeaStudio, 1401 W. Idaho St. On March 23: 11 a.m. "To Kickstart or Not to Kickstart: Crowd-Source Funding"; 12:30 p.m. "A Beginner's Guide to Music Publishing and Licensing"; 2 p.m. "Music Video Production"; 3:15 p.m. "Los Angeles Music Video Festival Showcase." On March 24: 11 a.m. "The Politics of Music"; 12:30 p.m. "Building a Local Music Scene"; 2 p.m. "Bringing It All Together: Band Case Study."
KEEP UP WITH THE ACTION ONLINE
Head to IdahoStatesman.com/treefort for live coverage, colorful photo galleries and amp-cranking video from the trenches of Treefort. Use hashtag #treefort2013 to join the discussion in a Twitter and Instagram feed. And follow @IDS_Deeds and @Treefortfest for Twitter updates.
PLAN. YOUR. BANDS.
There's something to be said for floating around aimlessly and "discovering" festival music. But you'll want to plan part of your experience, too. Recommendations: The Sunday night main-stage lineup is a don't-miss: Youth Lagoon, Dan Deacon and the festival's biggest name, Animal Collective, close shop there. Make sure you drop in on one of Built To Spill's three nights at the all-ages El Korah Shrine. Looking for picks from festival director Eric Gilbert? He's excited about Wooden Indian Burial Ground, Rose Windows and Bad Weather California. And three of Rolling Stone magazine's "20 Must-See Acts" at South By Southwest are playing Treefort: Youth Lagoon, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Foxygen.
It's hard work having this much fun, but there are ways to minimize stress. Recover each morning with Yogafort at El Korah Shrine: From 9-10 a.m. March 23, there's "Dance Party Toning w/Celeste Bolin." From 9-10 a.m. March 24, there's "Vinyasa Yoga w/Marisa Weppner." Classes are free to Treefort pass-holders.
Don't forget to sleep occasionally. You don't have to stay to the very end every night. Trevor Powers of Boise band Youth Lagoon has it figured out; he plans to crash in a hotel room Downtown. And remember: If you miss something awesome at Treefort, there's always next year.
Michael Deeds: 377-6407, @IDS_Deeds