When Treefort 2016 brought five days of music and partying to the streets of downtown Boise, Idaho, the small town came alive and answered the call! While there were nearly 400 bands to catch and countless other attractions to see and places to check out, here’s a recap of a few of our favorite moments from this year’s Treefort Music Fest.
Jackson Boone’s vibrant, jammy sound welcomed us to Treefort 2016 on Day One. Their psychedelic delays are sometimes slow, but make you want to move all the same. Tinsel and tiny lights covered all of the band’s amps and stands. This must be where Christmas goes between the seasons. They ended their set with the popular tune “Luv Bug”.
Yak Attack delivered authentic, electronic jazz that made you wanna dance! Painted by stripes of laser, their performance brought the Liquid Lounge to its dancing feet. Dave Dernovsek (keys+magic) moves you from hit-the-floor-hard into a funky smooth standard. It’s like he’s programming the music, so articulate, ordered, and satisfying. Rowan Cobb rocks the bass masterfully, deep in the pocket, with Devon Weston on drums and auxiliary percussion. This is not a lazy, press-play electro act. They emulate a sound reminiscent to the Weather Channel music of our youth, but only after candy flipping and making love to the rave club.
Hackfort hosted tech talks such as Pitch Switch, where Garrett Goldberg and Gadiel Morantes listened to audience members pitch their startup companies. Then, the real-life business pros took those elevator pitches to the next level. This role play exercise gave newbie entrepreneurs valuable insights on pitching for investors.
Stonefield’s main stage performance was the last show of their first US tour. Outdoors in the chilly Boise air, Amy Findlay (vocals) mentioned it was the first gig she’d ever played while wearing her coat. But the cold couldn’t hold back her Joplin-esque screams. Or the way she strutted and dove around the stage. Amy collapsed in a worshipful pose as her sisters/bandmates took turns trading solos. One of our favorite discoveries from Treefort 2016, Stonefield sounds like Americana from, Victoria, Australia.
Built to Spill was the must-catch act at the Main Stage (and El Korah Shrine, if you were lucky.) A mother rocks back and forth with her infant in her arms. Turns out that’s guitarist Brett Netson’s baby. He steps off to the side to play some guitar just for his family. Two pre-teen brothers in matching coke bottle glasses watch the show. Their mother probably remembers when Built to Spill started in Boise, Idaho, twenty four years ago. Now, she and her sons are backstage, and their smiles could not be bigger. This is how a favorite band is passed on through the generations.
With community picnic tables and many tasty options, Food Fort and Ale Fort were great places to meet new friends between sets. Payette Brewing has been part of Treefort since the inaugural festival. We sampled a unique Cucumber Golden Ale that sold out while we were there. Chef Richard Langston of Cafe Vicino served up a sensational “Next Generation Corn Polenta” with Braised duck and heirloom tomato sauce.
Chanti Darling has two dancers that anchor either side of the stage. They transfer from fun, improv moves to tight choreography with Chanticleer Trü (lead vocals). Their soulful, electronic R&B makes you want to confess your love to a secret crush, lay them down, get on top, and take total control. We caught Chanti Darling for some late night lovemaking at The Reef on Day 4, then woke up next to them on the Main Stage for Day 5. Oh, and, just so you know, they look just as good in the daylight.
The last day of Treefort was all about Pre Funk. The outdoor parking lot venue and beer bar hosted an all-day bash that showed much love for Portland bands. All the cool kids you know and had yet to meet came to check out Mascaras, Couches, and And And And.
Treefort 2016 felt like summer camp, with goodbyes that couldn’t be said and no one wanting to go to bed. We felt invincible, disregarding sleep and thoughts of the seven-hour drive home. However with photos to edit and words to find, we bid adieu to our favorite music festival and began the trek home. And we’re already looking forward to next year.
Photography by Drew Bandy, Jess Pierson, Graham Bell, Darren Hartman, and Tyler Bertram