UPDATE, March 24
▪ Street closures: Grove Street is closed from 14th to 11th Street, but the intersection of Grove and 13th streets is open for north, south traffic. So, look both ways before you cross.
▪ You’ll find Treefort buskers on ValleyRide’s free Treeline shuttle that runs on a loop along Idaho and Main streets, between 5th and 14th streets from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
UPDATE, March 23
Don’t drive and sweat parking during Treefort Music Fest. ValleyRide is offering free shuttle and bus service in Downtown Boise from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, March 23, to Saturday, March 25.
▪ The“Treeline” shuttle makes six stops on a loop along Idaho and Main streets, between 5th and 14th streets. You can also show your wristband to any ValleyRide bus operator and ride for free during the fest.
▪ Boise GreenBike — the city’s share bicycle program — added more bike hubs for easier access to cycles. GreenBike is offering $5 toward your rental. The code is: BOIS55822.
UPDATE, March 23: Entertainment and experience strategist Kathleen Cohen has stepped in to replace Dex Torricke-Barton for the Friday, March 24, Hackfort keynote address.
UPDATE March 22: Hackfort is sold out. You can still attend Hackfort events if you have a Treefort wristband if space is available.
UPDATE: Former SpaceX and Facebook communications manager and Mark Zuckerberg speech writer Dex Torricke-Barton was scheduled to give the Hackfort keynote at 9:30 a.m. March 24 at JUMP. He canceled because of a family emergency. He will be back in Boise for a presentation at TEDx Boise on Saturday, April 8.
Treefort is just around the corner — and yes, it’s all about the music — but the scene surrounding the music fest is vital and dynamic. And in year six, it’s a more challenging juggling act to strike balance between the more than 400 bands that are playing on Downtown stages and everything else.
It’s year six for the Treefort Music Fest, the all-out celebration of music and much more that takes over Downtown Boise from Wednesday, March 22, to Sunday, March 26
Treefort 2017 features more than 400 musical acts and an increasing number of alternative “subforts” and satellite happenings that span themes from literary arts and film to technology and yoga. This year, more visual art, theater, dance, performance and collaboration are being added to the mix.
The fest is coming into its own, says co-founder Eric Gilbert.
“The whole shebang is gaining traction, and there’s a lot of interest in the crossover stuff. Collaborations are becoming more natural,” Gilbert says. “It feels like we’re settling in.”
The subforts follow the same model, bringing in headliners this year such as FiveThirtyEight.com founder and editor and chief Nate Silver for Hackfort, celebrity chef Hugh Acheson for Foodfort and American Public Media’s Marketplace Weekend’s Lizzie O’Leary for Storyfort.
Silver particularly is a coup for Hackfort and for Boise. His method using hard data to analyze sports, politics and other real-world events won him a legion of listeners and fans. In 2009, he made Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people. He and his production team — including producer and host Jody Avirgan, and senior political writer Clare Malone, will do a live podcast from Boise’s Egyptian Theatre for the popular tech-savvy political website. (There still are $25 a la carte tickets available at the Egyptian box office.)
With all that’s going on, there’s no way to experience everything. So file your FOMA away and just enjoy. The full schedule is now online.
Download the Treefort app at the Apple App Store and Google play. You can use it to get more information on what’s happening where, and make your own Treefort plan.
This year the Treefort footprint expands into more Downtown venues: Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP), 1000 W. Myrtle St.; The Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St.; Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 Fulton St.; a second stage at Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., and The Basque Center, 601 W. Grove St.
The Boise All-ages Movement Project, a new Boise nonprofit, is producing an all-ages music venue in the former Pollo Rey at 8th and Idaho streets.
The Treefort Main Stage will again be on Grove Street between 13th and 12th streets. Other music venues include El Korah Shrine, Linen Building, The Mardi Gras Ballroom, The District Coffee House, Neurolux, The Olympic, Reef, Tom Grainey’s, Fattys, The Shredder, Hannah’s, Spacebar Arcade, Crowbar and Pengilly’s.
How it works
As usual, if you have your five-day wristband, you have access to all music events and subforts, the latter on a space-available basis. People with fort-specific badges have priority for seating and access to subfort events. Some events, such as Storyfort and Alefort, are open to people without a Treefort badge.
Treefort Music Fest
Wednesday, March 22, to Sunday, March 26, in venues in Downtown Boise. Passes are $185 for a five-day wristband; $299 for zipline pass; and $99 for an under-21 wristband. Day passes run $65 to $95; Main Stage-only passes are $35 and $45 at TreefortMusicFest.com. Kids 12 and younger are free with a paying adult at the Main Stage and age-appropriate venues.
This year’s musical highlights include Los Angeles-based Mac DeMarco, California-based The Growlers, New Jersey’s The Bouncing Souls, legendary rockers Meat Puppets and North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Angel Olsen.
Most of the action happens near the Treefort Main Stage, on Grove Street between 12th and 13th streets. You’ll find a fleet of food trucks, Alefort, activities for kids and some fun sculptures. The other music stages are throughout Downtown, with new venues include Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP), 1000 W. Myrtle St.; The Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St.; Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 Fulton St.; and The Basque Center, 601 W. Grove St.
Centered on all things beer and cider, this 21-and-older fort is expanding to include regional brews and ciders in its already packed local mix. Alefort runs Friday, March 24, to Sunday, March 26, under a large tent along Grove Street near the main stage.
Cool highlight: Alefort Nail Pull March 25. Think of it like a barrel tasting for wine, as they pull the nails and let you taste brews from Barbarian, Grand Teton, Odell and Sockeye breweries right out of the barrel it is aging in.
Barley Browns Beer from Baker City, Ore., Lagunitas Brewing from Petaluma, Calif., and Schilling Cider from Seattle are among the regional favorites joining the hometown heroes under the tent.
Also new will be beer from the barrel at the Alefort Nail Pull with Barbarian, Grand Teton, Odell and Sockeye breweries.
And art and ale combine with an exhibit by Swell Artist Collective inside Alefort, a group of area artists who share a quirky sensibility, including including Kelly Knopp, known for his Crooked Fence Brewing labels, illustrators Erin Ruiz and Julia Green, multimedia artist Sue Latta and painter Noble Hardesty. Find a full list of offerings at TreefortMusicFest.com/alefort.
This Treefort laugh fest runs Thursday, March 23, to Sunday March 26, at Liquid Laughs, 405 S. 8th St., Boise.
This year’s Comedyfort features more than 30 comedians, including Austin, Texas, comic Ella Gale, Boston’s Kawsi Mensah, Los Angeles’ Duclé Sloan and Seattle’s Mike Coletta, as well as some of your favorite local headliners.
Cool highlight: Los Angeles comic Dulcé Sloan won the “Standup NBC” in 2015, and she’s been headlining on the circuit since. She will headline sets at 8 p.m. March 24 and 10 p.m. March 25.
No wristband? Then Comedyfort shows are $10 for Thursday and Sunday, $12 for Friday and Saturday.
You can also see free comedy sets at the Hideout Stage inside Alefort.
More info: TreefortMusicFest.com/comedyfort.
This year Filmfort, with its screenings of independent and micro-budget films, will concentrate on the second floor of The Owyhee, 1109 W. Main St. It runs Wednesday, March 22, to Sunday, March 26.
Cool highlights: Meet two-time Oscar and Emmy winner Terry Sanders, who brings his narrative film “Liza, Liza Skies are Grey” at 5:30 p.m. on March 23; and Idaho’s Jaffe Zinn will present his 2011 thriller “Magic Valley” at 2:30 p.m. March 26.
Filmfort will screen more than 20 films, including the five-year retrospective screening of Zinn’s “Magic Valley,” a thriller that Zinn wrote and shot in his hometown of Buhl. It stars Scott Glenn (“The Right Stuff,” “Bourne Ultimatum”) and Kyle Gallner (“Veronica Mars,” “Smallville”).
Filmmakers will be on hand for Q&As. Included are two-time Oscar and Emmy winner Terry Sanders, who brings his film “Liza Liza Skies are Grey,” and director Ribera D’Ebre and artist Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez for the film “Dark Progresivism.”
Photographer Angie Smith will show her “Stronger Shines the Light Inside” that documents the lives of refugees rebuilding their lives in America. The national project began in Boise. You’ll also see filmmaker Ron Tores’ documentary “Rita” about Rita Thara, a Congolese refugee living in Boise.
▪ Filmfort will screen “The Ataxian,” in collaboration with the Boise Bicycle Project. The documentary is about Friedreich’s ataxia sufferer Kyle Bryant who sets out on a long-distance bicycle trek on a specially designed tricycle despite his battle with the neuromuscular disease.
▪ Filmfort and Ming Studios screen “Dark Progressivism,” a documentary that explores the history of graffiti, tattoo and other urban art forms in Los Angeles. Co-director Ribera D’Ebre and artist Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez will be on hand for a Q&A. Plus see a display of Hernandez’s artwork, and he also will do a live-draw during the fest.
Filmfort-only passes are $35 at TreefortMusicFest.com/filmfort.
This is the second year for Foodfort. Last year’s seminars were packed with local food fanatics, organic lovers and beer and wine aficionados. Now they’re back for another round of delicious discussions about all things culinary. Find Foodfort inside the Alefort tent at 11th and Grove streets. ▪ Sample Foodfort Tastes from area restaurants such as State & Lemp, The Modern Hotel, Richard’s, Wild Root Cafe and others. Tastes are $3 and $6 in Alefort tokens.
Cool highlight: Celebrity chef Hugh Acheson will be in town for Foodfort. His $100-a-plate Idaho local dinner is sold out, but you can hear him speak about his nonprofit project Seed Life Skills, a curriculum that teaches sustainability skills through hands-on experiences, at 4 p.m. March 24; and hear the State & Lemp culinary team talk about their process of “Inspiration from Ingredients to Plate” at 4:15 p.m. March 25.
Panel discussions are free at The Hideout. TreefortMusicFest.com/foodfort.
This tech-centered fort is honing its mission to become a “digital humanities conference” with this year’s presenters. Hackfort runs Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, mostly at JUMP. Some events will happen at Trailhead, 500 S. 8th St., and the Egyptian Theatre.
Cool highlights: It’s likely that FiveThirtyEight’s live podcast with Nate Silver and company will be a hard seat to get. There are a few a la carte tickets left through The Egyptian Theatre box office. Hackforters get dibs after that, and then Treeforters. It’s at 5 p.m. March 25 at the Egyptian.
Former SpaceX and Facebook communications manager and Mark Zuckerberg speech writer Dex Torricke-Barton was scheduled to give the Hackfort keynote at 9:30 a.m. March 24 at JUMP. He canceled because of a family emergency. He will be back in Boise for a presentation at TEDx Boise on Saturday, April 8. Stay tuned for the announcement of the new keynote presenter.
▪ The new Coffee and Conversation series, more intimate conversations with Hackfort presenters, will happen at 11 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m. March 25 at JUMP.
Hackfort-only badges are $30 at TreefortMusicFest.com/hackfort.
There is a lot more for families this year. This kid-centric fort is expanding its offering with a mix of local and imported fun things to do. Kidfort runs Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26, at the new Nest Stage, in the parking lot at 13th and Grove streets, and El Korah Shrine. Also look for “Kidfort Approved” tags at other Treefort events.
Cool highlights: Head for The Nest area for Fortcraft, hands-on fun for kids of all ages, from noon to 6 p.m. both days. This year, you can see Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespearience production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at 12:30 p.m. March 25 at The Nest.
▪ Have more fun with Bard with ISF’s Shakespearean improve workshop at 1:30 p.m. March 25, and 5 p.m. March 26.
▪ Find out what the next gen rockers are up to at the Boise Rock School Invitational at 5:30 p.m. March 25 at The Nest.
▪ Oregon Shadow Theatre performs its shadow puppet version of “Thumbelina” at 12:30 p.m March 25 and 26 at El Korah Shrine. $8 at the door. This event is open to the public.
Kidfort events are free unless otherwise noted. TreefortMusicFest.com/kidfort.
Cool highlight: You’ll find open skating, demonstrations by pros and a variety of live musical performances.
Skatefort is free and open to the public. TreefortMusicFest.com/skatefort.
This literary fort brings together national and local writers from all genres and platforms for five days of readings, discussions and storytelling performance. It runs Wednesday, March 22, to Sunday, March 26. Its main venue moves to the second floor of The Owyhee, but you’ll find breakout events at 10th Street Station, Rediscovered Bookshop and El Korah Shrine.
Cool highlights: Presented by Boise State Public Radio, Lizzie O’Leary, host of American Public Media’s Marketplace Weekend, talks about “The Rise of the Podcast” at 4 p.m. March 23; and Idaho-raised author Val Brelinsky will read from her book “The Girl Who Slept with God” at noon on March 24. The crew from “That Baseball Show” is back for another live podcast. It’s at 3 p.m. March 25 at the Treefort Art Gallery inside The Owyhee.
▪ Boise Mayor Dave Bieter will moderate “American Lives,” a discussion with refugees from Somalia, Iraq and Bosnia living in Boise, at 1:30 p.m. March 23 at The Owyhee.
▪ The crew from “That Baseball Show” is back for another live podcast. It’s at 3 p.m. March 25 at the Treefort Art Gallery inside The Owyhee.
Storyfort events are free and open to the public. TreefortMusicFest.com/storyfort.
This year’s new addition is Strengthfort, which is from noon to 5 p.m. March 25 on 12th Street, south of Grove Street. Strengthfort will let you flex your brawn and test your physical fortitude with an array of heavy things to lift, toss and hit in a fun circus-like atmosphere from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25, along 12th Street, just south of Grove Street. Look for the white picket fence and the classic midway high striker.
Strengthfort is the brainchild of BodyBuilding.com writer and editor Nick Collias, who discovered the fun of strongman competitions after he started work at the Boise fitness company.
Cool highlight: See an exhibition by strength athletes, including Nampa’s Dani Schwalbe, who is the Strongman Corporation’s current “Strongest Woman in the World,” at 2 p.m.
You can swing a hammer and try to ring the bell on the high striker, test your strength with circus dumbbells of varying weights, lift heavy Idaho “petrified watermelon” stones and compete in the pull-up jam.
Strengthfort is free and open to the public.
Read more about Strengthfort and Schwalbe here.
The original subfort, Yogafort, moves to JUMP this year. The larger space will let this popular fort breathe and accommodate more people for its sessions of yoga to live musical performance. It runs Friday, March 24, to Sunday, March 26.
Cool highlights: Grammy-nominated singer and musician Sheela Bringi and musician and composer Masood Ali Khan will help you connect spiritually through your voice with a Kirtan class, a practice of chanting and meditation, at 1:45 p.m. March 25.
You’ll find more dance-based workouts this year with Celeste Bolin and Sol Rising’s The Dance Commander Experience at 12:30 p.m. March 25, Urban Grooves with CoreVette Dance and DJ Enomily, at 11:45 a.m. March 26, and the third annual Treefort Dance Battle that this year will let Yogafort folk enter at 2 p.m. March 26 at The Hideout stage inside Alefort.
A Yogafort-only badge is $60 at TreefortMusicFest.com/yogafort.
Art and performance
Here are some of this year’s satellite events that aren’t official forts but are cool collaborations with artists and performing arts groups.
▪ You’ll find the first Treefort Art Gallery in The Cafe, the former Kindness Restaurant space inside The Owyhee, 1109 W. Main St. Gallery hours are 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5-9 p.m. Sunday.
▪ Empty Boat Theater will revive its wacky original play “There’s Chinese Tunnels Under Boise!” a satire by Nick Garcia about two metalheads who try to reconcile their lives with their video game personas by entering the supposed underground tunnels dug by Chinese-American business owners back in the early 20th century. See it at 1 and 9 p.m. at Boise Contemporary Theater, 850 Fulton St. Tickets are $20 Brown Paper Tickets and TheEmptyBoat.org.
▪ Band Dialogue VI is on for Treefort 2017. It’s a free-form musical performance-art collaboration between the musicians and composer/conductor Seth Olinsky, pictured above. It will happen at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at JUMP’s Celebration Circle.
▪ The new Treefort Art Gallery at The Owyhee, in the former Kindness Restaurant space, will feature fine art from a cross-section of Treasure Valley artists. Also, check out the local makers store that will go beyond the Treefort swag with a bounty of Idaho-made products.
▪ The Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 W. Grove St, will again produce “Burning Lamb” with roasted lamb on the spit for purchase and laid-back acoustic sets by Treefort performers.
▪ Idaho Dance Theater will perform Sayoko Knode’s “Clips of Calypso” to music by Boise band Lounge on Fire at 6 p.m. March 22 at Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 W. Fulton St.
▪ Ballet Idaho will perform dancer and choreographer Daniel Ojeda’s ‘Let’s Make a Move,” to music by LCD Soundsystem at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at Boise Contemporary Theater.
▪ Catch LED with its sci-fi dance/music experience at 8 p.m. Friday at the Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St. The a la carte tickets are sold out. Treefort wristband holders should queue up early for the remaining seats. The evening also includes a concert by Magic Sword and members of the Boise Philharmonic.
▪ Boise contemporary dance company Project Flux will perform a collaboration with Los Angeles-based dance duo WhyteBerg (Gracie Whyte and Laura Berg) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at Woodland Empire Ale Craft, 1114 W. Front St., Boise.
▪ Last year, a glowing giant spider puppet appeared at the Treefort main stage. It’s the artist vision of multimedia sculptor Sam Johnson and The Colossal Collective. This wacky bunch of creatives — artists, engineers and Burning Man aficionados — have made the glowing dancing squids, a giant pirate ship and the aforementioned spider at past Treeforts.
This year, they are creating another mammoth creature that will debut at the main stage March 25. Then the collective will take it on the road to other festivals in the region.
▪ Storyfort + Treefort = “Tribute to Rosalie Sorrels: Stories and Music”: Besides her legendary ability to sing, folk music icon Rosalie Sorrels could spin a yarn better than almost anyone. Some of Boise’s top musicians will tell their stories of Sorrels and celebrate her music and career at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 Fulton St. Musicians Rocci Johnson, Bill Coffey, Steve Fulton, Catherine Mericks and a.k.a. Belle, James Coberly Smith, Deborah Day, Rebecca Scott, Kayleigh Jack and Dan Costello will perform their version of her songs they’ve recorded for “Tribute to the Travelin’ Lady: Rosalie Sorrels,” a three-CD set that will come out later this year.
▪ Hackfort + Storyfort = “The Gaming Narratives”: Writers Ann Lemay and Toiya Finley will talk about why story is important to video games such as “Mass Effect 3” and “Fat Chicken” at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at The Owyhee, 1109 W. Main St., Boise.
▪ Jason Morales of Ming Studios, an international artist residency and gallery, brought in film director Ribera D’Ebre and artist Juan Carlos Munoz Hernandez for a screening of “Dark Progresivism,” a documentary about the underground art and tattoo scene in Los Angeles. It will screen at Filmfort at 6 p.m. Friday at The Owyhee.
Hernandez will also have work on display and will do some live drawing while he’s here.
▪ You can find Sector Seventeen painting a live mural on the west side of the Modern Hotel, 1314 W. Grove St. Sector Seventeen, who have created dozens of public art mural in Treasure Valley with a graffiti sensibility. Check out their latest at the Boise City Center.
Hackfort will get into the arts scene with “Skin in the Game,” a virtual performance experience that uses VR technology to put you inside a dynamic dance performance of “Rules of the Game,” a collaboration between New York City choreographer Jonah Bokaer, designer Daniel Arsham, Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams, and producers Ben Paluba and Michael Robinson. Williams co-composed with score with David Campbell, who did the arrangements. Robinson will be in Boise presenting the project. You can dive in at 11:30 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the Pioneer Room at JUMP, 1000 W. Myrtle St.
No wristband? No problem. Here are some Treefort events that are free and open to the public.
▪ See a free comedy show at the Hideout Stage inside Alefort by comics Mike Colleta, Henry Russell Stoddard and headliner Will Weldon at 7 p.m. March 25.
▪ You can get into Alefort at Foodfort without a pass, then purchase tokens to buy food and brew.
▪ Any Storyfort event, including crossovers, are free and open to the public.
▪ Lift heavy things at Strengthfort for free, noon to 5 p.m. March 25.
▪ Kidfort events are mostly free, and those with a fee are open to the public. You can see performances by Boise Rock School, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Charlie “The Noiseguy” Williams with his Sound Safari show.
▪ Some musical acts will also be doing free shows. For instance, head to the Modern Hotel, 1314 Grove St., for “Burning Lamb” and a cool acoustic stage; or PreFunk Beer Bar, 1100 W. Front St.
▪ The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St., will produce five in-store concerts during Treefort. The Secret Treefort In-store will be an acoustic set by Meat Puppets at 5:30 p.m. March 22, and four Second Chance concerts: Another Secret In-store on March 23, The Weaves at 4 p.m. March 24, Marco Benevento at 5 p.m. March 25, a Joyful Noise Showcase at 1 p.m. March 26, and one more to be announced.