If you’re only now ducking your head into Treefort Music Fest, which plugged in and started cranking two days ago, you have an advantage over the full-festival diehards: You’re fresh.
With hundreds of indie-leaning bands on 25 official stages — not to mention subforts and free unofficial performances to distract and entertain — you’ll need all the energy you can muster to survive the fun.
Mainline a Red Bull. Let’s get started.
Buy a wristband
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Saunter over to the heart of Treefort at 12th and Grove streets, where you’ll be drawn to the enticing aroma of food trucks and the unmistakable, omnidirectional sound of joy. You could hang around there all day exploring subforts — many are free and open to the public — or trading band recommendations with strangers about free “2nd Chance” concerts nearby. (More on those later.)
But you really should attend real-deal Treefort concerts, meaning you’ll need to cough up some coin.
If you’re doing all three remaining days of Treefort — Friday though Sunday — it makes financial sense to buy a festivalwide pass for $179 (plus fees). Otherwise, you can purchase single-day passes for $89 (plus fees) Friday and Saturday or $79 (plus fees) Sunday. Main-stage-only single-day passes cost $30 (plus fees) in advance, or $40 if you walk up. The festival box office is at the Main Stage. When capacity allows, individual music venues will sell entry passes for prices ranging from $10 to $30.
Download the app, Gramps
Got a smartphone? Definitely take advantage of the free Treefort app, which features a customizable schedule, helpful information and a search function.
Slightly more old-school? Surf over to the Treefort website, which similarly includes schedules, last-minute updates, band videos and more.
Raised during the Great Depression? Pick up a Treefort Trail Guide, which is made out of actual paper. It’s distributed at the box office and includes a pull-out schedule and map.
Support local music
It’s easy to get excited about out-of-town bands. Not to mention the 24 bands from outside this country.
BUT ... Treefort is a great opportunity to catch up with the Boise music scene. There are nearly 180 local bands at Treefort — “so many good ones these days,” Treefort director Eric Gilbert says.
Three quick suggestions:
▪ Thick Business: More Boiseans are catching onto this group, which utilizes male and female vocals and playfully describes its sound as “future classic rock.” Thick Business unofficially kicked off Treefort with a collaboration with Ballet Idaho. Catch them on their own during this excellent time slot. 10 p.m. Friday, El Korah Shrine
▪ Magic Sword: The mysterious electro-rockers recently signed a record deal with Size Records, which is Steve Angello’s label. (Formerly of Swedish House Mafia, Angello is a major name in the international dance world). This performance will be a spectacle — guaranteed. 8:10 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage “area.”
▪ Youth Lagoon: In a surprise announcement, Youth Lagoon, aka Trevor Powers, recently revealed that he plans to retire the biggest Boise-band breakout story of the past decade. Treefort will be the final American performance for Youth Lagoon. 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage.
Let’s pretend that you don’t enjoy watching live music. (You freak.)
You’re in luck. Treefort also offers community-celebrating subforts, which explore a variety of other artistic realms.
The festival’s popular brew festival, Alefort, will be packed with fans of Idaho-brewed beer for the next three days. New this year is Foodfort, a culinary mecca for local eats. Other subforts include Hackfort, Storyfort, Comedyfort, Filmfort, Kidfort, Yogafort, Skatefort and Performance Artfort.
Party for free
We all know someone who is too cheap or broke to buy a ticket to Treefort.
Give them a taste of the experience for nothing.
In year five, there’s more free stuff to do than ever at Treefort. And not just subforts. There are dozens of “2nd Chance” concerts that feature everything from intimate, informal performances to full-on ear-blasting sets. They happen at Downtown places such as PreFunk Beer Bar, Woodland Empire Alecraft, Bittercreek Alehouse, Record Exchange, Neurolux, The Olympic, Boise Brewing and Boise Art Glass.
Also, don’t miss “Band Dialogue V.” At least 15 bands, including Boise indie-rock act Built To Spill, plan to set up equipment on Grove Street in front of The Modern. They will unleash a song composed and “conducted” by Seth Olinsky of Cy Dune. It happens at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. It’s truly a unique experience.
Take the rugrats
A perception of Treefort sometimes is that it isn’t kid-friendly.
That’s true if you’re hitting an over-21 venue. But the Main Stage not only welcomes children, it’s free for kids 12 and younger.
In addition, you’ll find the free Kidfort teepee outside the Main Stage. It features hands-on musical performance and art fun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Main Stage also will hold a Kidfort Easter Egg Hunt at 9:30 a.m Sunday.
Two bands will offer kid-focused concerts that last about 20 minutes on the Radio Boise Campfire Stage located inside the Main Stage area. Play Date will perform at 1:40 and 2:40 p.m. Saturday and 3:50 and 5:05 p.m. Sunday. Jeff & Paige will perform at 1:40 and 2:40 p.m. Sunday.
Watch hoop hilarity
Who needs the Final Four? Portland band And And And has rigged a hoop on the back of its tour van for a three-on-three, band-vs.-band tournament known as “Rigsketball.”
It’s scrappy but way-friendly. Action runs from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at 12th and Grove streets.
Do an industry panel
Treefort will get serious — well, sort of — at hourlong music-industry panels Saturday at The Owyhee, 1109 Main St.
They are “Grow Your Audience: Practical Approaches to Developing an Artist’s Fanbase” (noon), “How to Get Heard: What Tastemakers are Looking for in 2016” (1:30 p.m.) and “Recording Contract Basics with Samantha Rhulen” (3 p.m.)
Need more convincing? The first 15 people who arrive at each panel will get a drink token for a free bloody mary.
You’ll find videos, photo galleries and more throughout the festival at IdahoStatesman.com/festival. Follow the action on Twitter using hashtag #Treefort2016.
WHEN: March 25-27
WHERE: Various Downtown Boise venues. Outdoor Main Stage is at 12th and Grove streets.
TICKETS: Festivalwide passes cost $179 (plus fees). Single-day festivalwide passes are $89 (plus fees) Friday and Saturday, $79 (plus fees) Sunday. Main Stage single-day passes cost $30 (plus fees) in advance, or $40 if you walk up. The festival box office is at the Main Stage. When capacity allows, individual music venues will sell entry passes for prices ranging from $10 to $30.