Words & Deeds

Freefort: Soak up Treefort sights, sounds on the cheap

Band Dialogue Fills West Grove Street During Treefort 2016

Watch over 60 musicians perform a musical experiment composed by Seth Olinsky during the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho.
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Watch over 60 musicians perform a musical experiment composed by Seth Olinsky during the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho.

Broke? Or just trying to drag your cheapskate friends out to Treefort Music Fest?

Do some Freefort. Head to Downtown Boise and get the indie-fest experience on a budget.

Treefort organizers are entirely cool with it. Once you get a taste of Boise’s annual cultural event, which runs through Sunday, it’s hard not to get sucked in. Next year, you might feel like springing for the whole wristband enchilada.

That’s precisely why Treefort works with local venues to offer free second-chance shows, day parties, unofficial showcases and other related events.

For more details about free entertainment, check out treefortmusicfest.com/2017-day-parties.

▪ Your no-cover Treefort plan starts (and possibly ends) with Treefunk, an epic, five-day festival in itself at PreFunk beer bar, 1100 W. Front St. Attending Treefunk instead of Treefort almost makes you feel guilty. Treefunk is like walking up to the tattooed sample lady at Indie Costco, scarfing the entire tray of Hipster Hot Pockets, then walking away wiping your beard with your arm.

Thousands of music fans spend hours sipping craft brews and watching 34 acts on the free outdoor stage. Thirty-four! The craft beer selection is massive. (But not free. There’s also a full bar.)

Austin, Texas, hip-hop band Magna Carda performs at PreFunk beer bar as part of a free 2nd Chance showcase at Treefort Music Fest in Boise.

I always spend more time than I meant to at Treefunk. If you have a Treefort wristband, be warned: Treefunk bands rock fairly late into the night, so it’s easy to lose track of time and miss a major act over at Treefort proper.

Treefunk picks: Fans of the hard-charging side of The Hold Steady or Drive-By Truckers will appreciate anthemic Denver bar rockers Bud Bronson and The Good Timers, whose twin guitar leads will rage from 9 to 9:40 p.m. Friday. Oh, and ragtime and retro-country-blues folks should appreciate Portland’s Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners from 3 to 3:40 p.m. Saturday. Yo, Canucks: Following Miller’s set, three Canadian bands — including critically acclaimed indie-pop act The Belle Game — will power a Canada 150 party from 4 to 6:40 p.m.

▪ Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., stays free during the day before going into official Treefort mode at night. On Friday, free bands will perform from noon to 4:20 p.m. — including a 3:50 p.m. set from New York rockers The Dig. Saturday is equally busy, including a 2 p.m. appearance from local favorites Thick Business.

▪ Doors open at noon Friday and Saturday at The Olympic, 1009 W. Main St. The upstairs venue will host showcases from Colorado bands. Expect about half a dozen acts to rock until 4:45 p.m. each day.

▪ The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St., is featuring free in-store performances every day. A classic is already in the past — acoustic Meat Puppets on Wednesday — but can still see Weaves (4 to 5 p.m. Friday), Marco Benevento (5 to 6 p.m. Saturday) and Kishi Bashi, Tall Tall Trees and CJ Boyd (1 to 3 p.m. Sunday).

▪ Music is on the menu at Bittercreek Alehouse, 246 N. 8th St. The pub will host a daily Treefort Brunch, which includes a combination of local and out-of-state bands curated by music-review website Nanobot Rock. Colorado indie-folk band Porlolo — gigging at noon Saturday — had Nathaniel Rateliff contribute to its three-song EP released in late 2014. Over at newbie sandwich shop Even Stevens, 815 W. Bannock St., a regional band will perform daily: Panthermilk (3 to 5 p.m. Friday), Dodgy Mountain Men (3 to 5 p.m. Saturday) and Whippoorwill (2 to 4 p.m. Sunday).

▪ Still hungry? Take your appetite for music and meat to Burning Lamb at Camp Modern, happening at the Modern Hotel, 1314 W. Grove St. The Basque-style lamb roasted on a spit isn’t free, but the music is. Bands run from 4 to 6:45 p.m. Friday, 3 to 6:45 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 to 5:10 p.m. Sunday. It might be worth ponying up for that lamb, by the way. “Seriously the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my life,” writes one Facebook commenter.

▪ Gigs are happening in the lounge of The Owyhee, 1109 W. Main St., where artwork is being displayed. Bands: Battlehooch (6 to 7 p.m. Friday), Everyone Is Dirty (7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday), Psychomagic (6 to 7 p.m. Saturday), Cassiopeia (7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday).

▪ Pro skateboarders will host a demo at 1:40 p.m. Saturday at Rhodes Skate Park, 1555 W. Front St. And, naturally, music will crank: The Band Ice Cream (1 to 1:40 p.m.), Wheelchair Sports Camp (2 to 2:40 p.m.) and Billy Changer (3 to 3:40 p.m.).

▪ Bands will blast next to the beer tanks at Woodland Empire Ale Craft, 1114 W. Front St. The Everett, Washington-based Fisherman’s Village Music Festival will showcase five acts from mid-afternoon to early evening Friday. And Freakout Records (Seattle) will present five more bands on Saturday.

▪ If you’ve never experienced it, definitely check out Band Dialogue at 5 p.m. Saturday outside JUMP, 1000 W. Myrtle St. This yearly Treefort cacophony is driven by dozens of musicians performing an orchestrated, multi-band composition. It’s huge, noisy and one of a kind.

Beyond the music

A few free events previously listed in the Statesman’s Treefort preview:

▪ It’s free to enter Alefort and Foodfort at 12th and Grove streets. You just have to buy tokens for food and beer. There’s also a free comedy show inside the Alefort tent at 7 p.m. Saturday, with comics Mike Coletta, Henry Russell Stoddard and headliner Will Weldon.

▪ Storyfort events, including crossovers, are free.

▪ You won’t have to pay a dime to pull a hammie at Strengthfort, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday on 12th Street, south of Grove.

▪ Most Kidfort events are free, including performances by Boise Rock School, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Charlie “The Noiseguy” Williams and his Sound Safari show.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds