Near the end of Baltimore musician Dan Deacon's festival-ending DJ set in the wee hours of Monday morning, he told the crowd something that hit exhausted Treefort Music Fest director Eric Gilbert like a Red Bull filled with civic pride.
"He just sort of captured the spirit of the whole festival," Gilbert remembers. "He just went on this cool monologue. 'I hope there's one thing you learned this weekend: Whatever you do, don't move to Portland.' And the whole place just erupted, fists in the air."
What Deacon said had nothing to do with Oregon. It had everything to do with the inferiority complex that small cities often struggle to shake.
"He was saying make cool s--t happen in your own town," Gilbert explains. "Build this. Get involved. There's no need to move elsewhere."
Then Deacon led the pumped Linen Building crowd in a singalong of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Boise's music scene has yearned for relevance for decades. Respect. For at least four days of the year, Treefort suddenly feels like the answer.
More than 100 attention-starved local bands were exposed to out-of-state press and engaged fans: "I thought the local bands did a really good job stepping up their game," Gilbert says proudly.
Visiting bloggers and musicians couldn't get over the fact that Treefort, held March 21-24 in Downtown Boise, wasn't like other music festivals. Even in a year when it doubled in size - 280-plus acts, 14 stages and an estimated 6,000 people milling about each of the final three days - it never felt overcrowded. Or corporate.
Do you think these bands and fans had ever bought beer tokens from Shriners before?
Musicians who had performed a week earlier at the overwhelming South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, must have felt like they were visiting Grandma's house here.
Goody bags decorated by Boise Rock School students? Actual meals provided by Treefort?
Festivalgoers appeared equally smitten. Aside from long lines to get into popular club gigs, finger-numbing nighttime temperatures and that official Treefort beer (no line for that pour at Alefort, which was busy and fun), there was nothing to even grumble under your breath about.
OK, if you aren't a blog-savvy connoisseur of "emerging acts," Treefort wasn't as musically accessible as you might have wished. And if you actually agree with that silly photo of Paulie from "The Sopranos" cursing "G---amn hipsters!" (it's pasted on a newsrack outside The Record Exchange), you've probably seen enough beards for another year.
But anyone who pretends that Treefort II was anything but a grassroots miracle of organization and awesomeness is lying to themselves. The sheer quantity of live music was a giant peacock feather in Boise's cultural cap (photos, page 15 - and lots more at IdahoStatesman.com.) It was a four-day boon for tourism - assuming that Idaho is interested in attracting a few Millennials. It was a business bump for Downtown hotels, restaurants and bars, too.
Treefort felt like a true community event. The scene at El Korah Shrine Center on the first night - where the perhaps-slightly-caught-off-guard Shriners ran out of canned beer by about 9 p.m. - was priceless.
Initially, the Shriners were a little hesitant about this Treefort thing, admits Gilbert, who approached them last year about renting their venue. But now that Treefort is over, El Korah is posting on Facebook about the "hundreds of visitors who enjoyed our facilities" and calling it a "great success" on Twitter. (El Korah Shriners on Twitter? Watch for a follow from @pitchforkmedia.)
Gilbert says it's too early to know if Treefort made money rather than lost a little, which was the case last year. Festival headliners do not come cheaply. Main stage act Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, for example, cost tens of thousands of dollars.
But the festival did well enough that "I can't imagine that we're not going to be doing it again," he says.
Maintaining the magic will become increasingly tricky as Treefort almost certainly grows. The qualities that made year one feel so exciting managed to hang around for year two - but those qualities won't be easy to replicate and sustain.
"People seemed so full of joy the whole weekend," Gilbert says. "People from out of town are like, 'What is wrong? Everyone it just happy?' Which is awesome."
"I keep joking about it," he adds, "but part of me - I hope we can keep that spirit for at least a few more years.
"Until everyone is just jaded. Probably inevitable," he jokes.
Only if Boise lets it happen. Outsiders like Deacon seem to think that the power is in our hands.
Michael Deeds' column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He co-hosts "The Other Studio" at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM "The River."