Standing at the crossroads of the, now iconic, independent cultural experience that is Treefort Music Fest at 12th and Grove in downtown Boise, Idaho, we took a moment to reflect. The “Upper-Left” United States (as mentioned by Treefort artist Jango) has found a home for the five days of music, art, food, lecture, and everything culture (Yogafort, Kidsfort, and Alefort, to name a few) for ten cycles now. In the midst of the chaos, among the swirl of humanity and art the phrase “Treefort is for Everyone” began to take on a new meaning.
For years Treefort Music Fest has become a pilgrimage for fans from all over the world. The tenth Treefort incarnation was a bittersweet culmination of years of persistence from passionate organizers and fans alike. Overcoming uncertainty, funding, and a global pandemic, Treefort ten showcased a resiliency from stage to pavement. Hidden in plain sight, the army of volunteers and staff executed an amazing experience for, well, everyone. Artists from all over the globe brought the focus of local and independent art to the forefront in one all-inclusive and welcoming experience. From the eviscerating energy of Osees, through the cool blues of Jackie Venson, to the indie assemblies of Fruit Bats, to the crooning soulful prowess of Durand Jones & The Indications the talent was undeniable. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers brought the latest record to life and Smokey Brights illuminated the crowed with their never-miss performance. Memorable standouts were found around every corner. Whether caught up in the power and force of Cat Valley, Lung, or Strange Breed, or the disarming beauty of Shaina Shepherd’s late-night baptism by soul the sonic wave of Treefort is still reverberating over us days later. Kim Gordon delivered a transcending experience that arched decades of musical experience and washed over the crowd of all ages with an equally unforgettable wall of sound. We Were Promised Jetpacks closed out the festival with a highly-anticipated and equally-satisfying final set. Of all the performances, the two that still linger in our ears are The French Tips at Rhoades Skate Park, fulfilling a Tony Hawk Pro Skater experience we never could imagine would happen in real life, and Zeta at The Hideout, which was the closest thing to a high-paced, melodic rock religious experience we never saw coming.
Many will be talking about their favorite sets for years to come, but between the ringing in the ears, the swaying of the bodies, the beat-keeping toe taps, and the pulse-pounding headbangs found across the many stages and venues at Treefort, the diversity of festivalgoers was what stood out more so than ever.
Treefort Music Fest is the most significant event of artistic expression and acceptance in the Upper Left US and it is unrivaled in its scope. In its grandeur, it is back at those crossroads that will be most memorable for us. From this vantage point we could see fans of art from all walks of life, dressed in all various forms of self-expression, moving unobstructed among one another in a general joy and acceptance. From where we stood, we saw people who could remember first-hand musical discovery from before we were born and others who weren’t even born when the first Treefort kicked off. “Treefort is for Everyone” took on a new meaning at that moment and never felt more meaningful.