If you’re one of the 450 bands at the indie-rock-focused Treefort Music Fest, you’re in Boise primarily to do one thing: Perform.
But with 25 official stages, there’s only so much opportunity.
That’s where casual, “2nd Chance” Treefort shows come into play. Unbeknownst to many festivalgoers and nonfestivalgoers, dozens of free performances will happen across Downtown Boise during the event Wednesday, March 23, through Sunday, March 27.
Free. As in no Treefort wristband required. Yet the festive, indie vibe and the music are much the same.
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“It gives people a taste if they can’t do it all,” Treefort festival director Eric Gilbert explains.
The largest 2nd Chance showcase is Treefunk, a five-day, outdoor series at PreFunk Beer Bar, 1100 W. Front St. A whopping 37 acts are planned. One of the highlights: jazzy, live hip-hop band Magna Carda (Austin, Texas), which will perform from 8 to 8:45 p.m. Friday before joining the official Treefort lineup 24 hours later at the Knitting Factory.
At least 5,000 bodies rolled through PreFunk’s outdoor showcase over five days in 2015, according to the craft-beer haven’s vice president, Jordan Flynn. With the addition of portable restrooms and a full bar, Treefunk should be even more popular this year. (You must be 21 to enter.)
“It’s going to be a blast,” Flynn promises. “We’re expecting to double the amount of people.”
While 2nd Chance venues aren’t officially part of Treefort, they’re sanctioned and sometimes curated by Treefort. Gilbert says these showcases largely are a result of musicians asking to play more gigs.
“We’ve been really embracing it,” Gilbert says. “As of now, I don’t think it’s undermining the (paid) wristbands. It’s just kind of a cool bonus, too.”
You’ll find a roundup of 2nd Chance destinations at treefortmusicfest.com/news/1076. Specific band schedules sometimes require more sleuthing. If you’re not reading this column online and clicking links to the itineraries, try hitting Facebook pages or paying an advance visit to the venues.
2nd Chance shows vary in size and scale. Friday through Sunday, diners at Bittercreek Alehouse will sit at tables munching breakfast tacos at Treefort Brunch, which will feature bands curated by fan-review website Nanobot Rock. Music blog Apes on Tape will present a showcase of groups flanked by brewery tanks Friday and Saturday at Woodland Empire Alecraft. (Must be 21 or older.)
The Apes on Tape showcase is a chance to catch a buzz-fueled Treefort act such as all-female garage-pop band Hinds (6 p.m. Friday, from Spain), or a notable indie band such as Deep Sea Diver (8 p.m. Saturday, from Seattle).
Some of the other Downtown venues hosting 2nd Chance concerts include the Record Exchange, Neurolux, The Olympic, Boise Brewing and Boise Art Glass. Two days of “Firefort” bands will rock Boise Art Glass, including groups such as artsy Denver act The Raven and the Writing Desk and primal Seattle rock group Sundries.
Bust out your Dr. Scholl’s. It’s time to do some walking — even if you’re not actually going to Treefort.
Of if you just want a musical respite from the official Treefort onslaught? It’s easy enough to hit three major 2nd Chance venues nearby.
“PreFunk, Woodland Empire and Boise Art Glass — they’re right there,” Gilbert says. “Those are some of the three bigger ones that are doing stuff. It just makes sense, because they’re right in the heart of everything.”