The Official Weekend Survival Guide to Treefort

mdeeds@Idahostatesman.comMarch 21, 2014 

  • Ticket details

    March 21-23, Downtown Boise, Main Stage at 12th and Grove streets.

    $30 single-day Main Stage pass, $69 single-day festivalwide pass, $139 four-day festivalwide pass. Kids 12 and under get into any all-ages venue free with parent/guardian.


We're now well into Treefort Music Fest. Maybe you're already hung over. Maybe you're excitedly grooming your handlebar moustache for your first night.

Whatever the case, you're about to get a feeling of deja vu.

You've read this article before. But it's crucial to go over this stuff again. Because in Treefort's third go-round, plenty has changed — notably and predictably, the size and scope of Boise's emerging-artists powwow. It's bigger. Again. We're talking more than 360 acts at 17 venues with as many as 23 stages. Don't look now, but the weekend is about to steamroll you.

So, for the third year, here is our Official Survival Guide to Help You Navigate That Tricky Space Between Party Perfection and a Full-On Skull Explosion:


If you don't, and you're attending the three remaining days of Treefort, it makes sense to buy a four-day festivalwide pass for $139. Otherwise, single-day passes are $69. Single-day passes for the Main Stage only are $30. You can buy tickets at the festival box office at the Main Stage at 12th and Grove streets.

Many Treefort venues will sell less-expensive individual tickets at their doors, too. But you may or may not get in; there are always occasional capacity issues at festivals, and it's first-come, first-served.

Except for Zip Line pass holders, of course, who dropped $299 for front-of-line privileges.


This ain't South by Southwest. (Yet.) But Treefort does pack a dizzying amount of action into a short amount of time. If you don't have a plan, you'll miss something major. It's just too easy to set up camp inside El Korah Shrine at the three-night Built To Spill residency.

The Treefort Trail Guide — available at the box office — will help you form a good plan of attack, but it will be lost or tattered soon enough. So familiarize yourself with, which is extremely useful. Download the Treefort app. It's free.

Don't want to miss an epic shindig? Hit the outdoor Main Stage, which has never been filled to its 3,000 capacity, so you're basically guaranteed entry.

Friday night is hip-hop heavy, which should draw a somewhat specialized crowd. But Saturday's lineup is diverse and sure to be huge. Highlights include up-and-coming locals Hollow Wood (3:05 p.m.) and the funky Budos Band (5:30 p.m.) The place will go crazy when headlining producer/musician RJD2 hits the stage (8:30 p.m.) You can squeal to your mom: "Look, it's the guy who does the theme from 'Mad Men'!"

Get some sleep afterward. Fans are stoked for Sunday night's one-two punch of The Joy Formidable (7 p.m.) and Polica (8:45 p.m.)


There's something beautiful about letting sights, sounds and smells be your guide. (Smells? Yes, about a dozen food trucks will be parked next to the Main Stage, and they're open to the public.) So here's a plan/no plan compromise: Carve out a few hours during the day to walk around and explore, because there will be TOTALLY FREE music that you didn't know about. Examples: And remember, you don't need a Treefort pass for these ...

• The "Apes on Tape" music blog has assembled a 10-act showcase from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Woodland Empire Ale Craft (11th and Front streets).

• Bittercreek Alehouse (246 N. 8th St.) will have touring Treefort bands performing acoustic sets Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at day parties.

• "Band Dialogue II," a "large-scale piece written for 10 bands to play simultaneously." It's from 4:30 to 5:15 Saturday at Rhodes Skate park (15th and Front Streets) — and comes highly recommended by festival organizers. All ages.


Some of the acts that festival director Eric Gilbert says he is excited about:

• The Heligoats (9:30 p.m. Friday, Linen Building)

• Divers (10 p.m. Friday, The Crux)

• Horse Feathers (midnight Friday, Pengilly's Saloon)

• The Cave Singers (4:10 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage)

• Rubblebucket (7 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage)

• Wooden Indian Burial Band (11 p.m. Saturday, Neurolux)

• SW/MM/NG (11 p.m. Saturday, The Crux)

• The Entrance Band (12:10 a.m. Saturday night, Neurolux)

• The Joy Formidable (7 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage)

• Polica (8:45 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage)

• Cody ChesnuTT (11 p.m. Sunday, Neurolux)


One of Rolling Stone's "Must-See Acts" at last week's South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, was Syracuse, N.Y.-based noise-punk band Perfect Pussy.

Rolling Stone called the group "rock's most intense new band, thanks largely to frontwoman Meredith Graves, who's been known to scream so violently during the band's 15-minute noise-assault gigs that she becomes physically ill."

She wouldn't be the first person to hurl on the floor at The Shredder, where the band plays at midnight Sunday.


Treefort's annual beer bonanza — Alefort — will be held on 13th Street right next to the Main Stage again, and it's doubling in size.

There will be beer from 20 breweries; 10 will be local and have their own representatives pouring the suds.

You don't need a Treefort pass to attend. It's free. But you must be 21. Beer samples — generally about 4 ounces — will cost $2.

Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Visit my "Words & Deeds" blog for a list of beers and more details.list of beers and more details


Yoga? Literature? Technology? You have your own personal "subfort" events. Hit the Treefort website for details.

And just like last year, there also will be industry-oriented panels held at The Watercooler, 1401 W. Idaho St.

There's also a Treefort comedy showcase at Liquid Laughs, plus performance art all over the place.


Last year's Treefort Film Festival was more of a "rock doc" affair, Gilbert says. This year, "it's like festival-circuit films."

"DamNation" (3:20 p.m. Sunday, The Flicks) just won an audience award at SXSW. And don't miss the Queens, N.Y., star of documentary "Bending Steel" (7:50 p.m. Friday, The Flicks; 6 p.m. Saturday, The Shredder), as he does his old-time strongman act at Treefort locations. If you don't have a pass, tickets will be sold to individual films, subject to capacity.


Kids 12 and under get into any all-ages venue at Treefort free with parent or guardian.

There will be Kidfort activities at the Main Stage during the day Saturday and Sunday, including side-stage performances there from Play Date, a child-oriented rock group featuring the singer of The Bouncing Souls.


Go to for live coverage, photo galleries and video from the trenches of Treefort. Use hashtag #treefort2014 to join the discussion in a Twitter and Instagram feed at And follow @IDS_Deeds and @Treefortfest for Twitter updates.

Michael Deeds: 377-6407

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