Arts & Culture

Meet the people behind the subforts of Treefort

Writer Christian Winn is the forthead for Storyfort, one of the 10 official subforts at the Treefort Music Fest.
Writer Christian Winn is the forthead for Storyfort, one of the 10 official subforts at the Treefort Music Fest.

Founding and running a Treefort “subfort” is more than just organizing a few events. It’s a commitment to creating something engaging that aligns with the mission of Treefort Music Fest — to widen and deepen Boise’s creative community by bring local and national artists together. Here are a few of the “Fortheads,” the folks who organize and produce a subfort.

Jeremy Aevermann, Comedyfort

March 24-27 at Liquid Laughs, 405 N. 8th St.

Aevermann likes to call his Comedyfort a “smorgasbord of funny.”

Day job: Aevermann, 39, co-owns Liquid Laughs and Solid Bar & Grill in Downtown Boise’s BoDo District with his wife and chef Elizabeth Oldencamp.

Why comedy: Since I was a kid I’ve loved standup, and because I was raised by wolves, I was able to watch anything growing up. That’s when Eddie Murphy and George Carlin were the thing. Comedy is amazing. Everyone needs a place to hide from their own stuff. If you’re feeling down, you go to a comedy show and you can forget that stuff and just laugh.

Why a fort: Eric (Gilbert) approached me to do comedy during Treefort three years ago. (The first two years it was called Treefort Comedy Fest.) And it’s good for us. We get great turnouts and there are a lot of people who wouldn’t normally go to a comedy club who give us a try.

James Sharp, Performance Artfort

March 23-27, various locations

Sharp enjoys showcasing Boise’s talent during Treefort. The task has been a perfect fit for this performer with a wild imagination. He brings a touch of wackiness and neo-burlesque, plus the magic of puppetry.

Day job: Sharp, 36, fabricates signage for Boise’s Trademark Sign Company, which made the signs for the Treefort main stage area. Sharp also is the technical director for Red Light Variety Show and heads his own Colossal Collective that builds large-scale puppets that he and his crew take to festivals across the West such as Burning Man in Nevada.

Why performance: I love building things — multimedia construction and large-scale art. When I started working with Red Light, I got into being a kind of dancer. I’ve really developed a passion for flash art and it’s a good fit for the spirit of Treefort.

Why a fort: Drew Lorona (Treefort co-founder) asked me to do it three years ago. We have so much talent here and this is a great time to show it off. And it’s fun. We have this really cool, high-tech, giant puppet that will be hanging around the main stage on Saturday.

Marisa Weppner, Yogafort

March 25-27, The Rose Room, 718 W. Idaho St., and Woodland Empire Ale Craft, 1114 W. Front St., Boise

Weppner taught yoga to musicians and Treefort staff in 2012 to help them de-stress. It turned out to be so popular that it became an official part of the fest.

Day job: Weppner, 37, owns Sage Yoga Wellness in Downtown Boise and teaches several classes each week in Yin-Licious, a feminine yoga-style she developed that focuses on the spiritual side of the practice.

Why yoga: My spiritual path began when I was 15. I started reading books like “The Peaceful Warrior” and meditating. I always had a passion for philosophy. Then in college I started doing yoga on my own, as part of “Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan,” and I found that I was becoming a better person. Then I started taking actual classes and I decided to do something I really loved as a career after I graduated (with a degree in psychology), and that was yoga. Now, my students are my children. Let me guide you into a safe place where you can come into stillness.

Why a fort: I’ve been to a lot of yoga festivals and I love that experience of diving into a practice with a community to live music. I wanted to bring that experience here. I think it helps festival goers find balance, reset and recharge.

Tara Morgan, Foodfort

March 25-27, outside Treefort main stage

Foodfort makes its debut this year. Adding this elevated “taste of Boise” is a natural way to expand the Treefort experience, Morgan says.

Day job: Morgan, 31, began her career as an arts journalist but found herself drawn to the culinary arts. Now she is a freelance food writer and co-owner of Wild Plum Events, a Boise-based farm-to-fork catering company, with her husband, chef Alex Cardoza (formerly of The Modern Hotel).

Why food: My fascination with food started in college when I was a vegetarian. If I didn’t cook, I couldn’t find something good to eat. Once I started writing food reviews, I found I had a real love and passion for it, and it’s grown from there.

Why a fort: Treefort partner John Michael Schert and Alefort producer and Bittercreek beverage manager David Roberts had the idea for Foodfort to add another layer to the Treefort experience. Leah Clark and Idaho Preferred signed on to help emphasize the local angle, and Morgan joined the team to curate the programming and discussions. She ended up overseeing the chefs as well.

Christian Winn, Storyfort

March 24-27, Linen Building second floor, 1402 W. Grove St.

Christian Winn served pizza at Treefort two years before creating Storyfort. “I thought it would be another way for people to connect with Treefort.”

Day job: Winn, 48, is a published author and adjunct professor in Boise State’s English department, teaches kids and adults through The Cabin and curates several other lit events in town.

Why writing: I had a poem published in the newspaper when I was 8 (in Palo Alto, Calif.). I really enjoyed writing all through high school in Seattle. By college it was a romantic pursuit, living like the Beats, hanging out in coffeehouses, vagabonding around talking about writing. Then I moved here (Boise) in the late 1990s, and decided to take it more seriously. I went to Boise State to get my master’s and really learned to craft stories.

Why a fort: Winn approached Gilbert with his Storyfort idea. In 2014, Winn produced the first year with help from The Cabin. In 2015, Boise’s literary organization made Storyfort part of its regular programming. “It really is a nice supplement to the music,” Winn says. “Songwriters are poets, and we all love to tell stories.”

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