If it walks like a Duck Club, talks like a Duck Club, it must be a Duck Club right?
Boise, Idaho’s pioneering live music production company Duck Club has brought (and continues to bring) the Treasure Valley a wealth of musical events and experiences for over ten years. From weeknight excuses to get out into the city to the decade of Treefort Music Fest, Duck Club cultivates the experience. Their latest endeavor, Flipside Fest, was an “all-ages, outdoor, music and mural festival featuring 80 local and regional bands, live muralists, late night parties and immersive on-foot exploration of the Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District in Garden City.”
The inaugural Flipside Fest lived up to the outdoor, on-foot exploration piece of the pitch before eventually settling into the music and mural festival. Those who have travelled through Garden City, Idaho would be forgiven to know it simply as the 35mph stretch of highway 20/26 before you get to Boise. Yet somehow at the outset of the three-day artistic expression living under the guise of a music festival Garden City began to look much, much different.
Biking and walking came highly recommended by festival organizers, for good reason. Getting your steps in during the event is all too easy, if only from where you’d find available parking to the event itself. For many wandering between the six-plus-blocks of music and art an immersive world was discovered over the course of the event. Beginning as a resentful scoff on “cash only” beverage sales and a lack of food diversity at/near the main stage the mindset quickly shifted into a discovery of musical, food, and beverage oasis out and about. If by design, Flipside Fest was laid out to draw the experience broad rather than a collection of bodies at the Main Stage.
Musically, there was plenty to discover. You could experience AKA Belle pouring their psych-folk evocations out the back of Roots, Afrosonics dancing the early evening away at Barbarian Brewing, or you could cap off the evening with Monophonics’ alluring wall-of-presence. There was a little bit of everything at Flipside from folk at Sandbar and Velvet Underground aggressive punk covers in a local winery parking lot. At the outset the culture of Flipside Fest was apparent…
This is not Treefort.
While the inclusivity and all good things Duck Club culture were present, Flipside Fest reverted back to a truly indie feel. As such, we would be remiss to not reference the obvious hurdles of a festival in its infancy. Minor frustrations over the layout and high expectations of more street art left us desiring more; which isn’t a bad thing. Experiencing the artwork at the demolition house, listening to the music pour through the trees over Boise’s Whitewater Park, and diving into the backstreets of the welcoming beauty that is Garden City made the atmosphere of the event sublime in the end. Flipside Fest would benefit in year two by having more connection between stages, skating events, street art, food/craft options are just a few potential avenues that would make future incarnations absolutely shine.
Incidentally, the meaning of Flipside Fest came to fruition on the closing day of the festival as we stood at the main stage in the parking lot of the Visual Arts Collective (the 17+ year institution for all things Boise Art), watching Floating Witch’s Head (Travis Ward (guitars & vocals) with Michael Mitchell (drums), Eric Gilbert (keyboards)), standing next to Doug Martsch. There is nothing more Boise than that moment and much like the successes of Flipside Fest, it came together organically and without pretense.
Sure, there is room for growth, but that isn’t necessarily a detractor. Deep within their veins is a god-honest love and passion for art, culture, and music. It bears repeating, Flipside Fest is not Treefort Music Fest. The cultures are vastly different, but the heart remains.