The inaugural Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho is a rallying point not just for emerging musicians in the area, but for all smaller indie bands touring throughout the U.S.
We spoke with festival director Eric Gilbert about the new festival, which will take place March 22-25, and how important it was that Boise offers an intimate venue festival a la SXSW and CMJ.
Treefort started as an idea to help find a way to bridge the gap of quality cities to play between the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest for touring bands. It’s also a way to introduce the nation’s music community to the landmark venues in the budding music community. The festival will implement four established venues as well as a main stage built in a parking lot in the downtown area of the city.
But why now? The Boise music scene has been ready to boil over for a few years now.
“Radio Boise just went live in April 2011” Gilbert revealed, “It’s the first time on the air since 1985, when it was co-opted into an NPR station. Students really haven’t been on the air since. It’s the first time that local bands and emerging artists are really getting airplay in the city. It’s provided a lot of general energy for the music scene.”
The radio station is the lynchpin for the festival; it catapulted Gilbert and the rest of the Treefort team to want to help the station provide a home to the Boise scene. The festival was not only influenced by the station, but Treefort will also help support the station’s cause by donating all proceeds from the festival to KRBX 89.9.
“Essentially this is a large benefit for Radio Boise. They’re a key ingredient to everything that is going on.”
So it comes full circle: the festival helps fund the station, which provides an outlet for emerging music; in return the station helps the public hear bands they may have never heard who are currently on tour and now have a city to play in between Salt Lake City/Denver and Portland/Seattle.
Bands have already jumped on the opportunity to help the cause and find a new fan base in what Gilbert calls an untapped market. Typhoon, of Montreal, Blitzen Trapper, Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside, Built to Spill and WHY? were among the first handful of bands announced, and a new batch was just announced this morning. Gilbert expects a rough estimate of 60 total bands to play the festival with the final schedule being announced early- to mid-February.
Before ending our conversation, Gilbert added, “It’s different than a festival like Coachella because here you get to see these great bands play in very intimate venues.”
Below is the current lineup of bands you’ll have the chance to see in Boise this upcoming March:
Built to Spill
Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside
The Cave Singers
Monster Rally & RUMTUM
Hot Bodies in Motion
Sun Araw Band
The Parson Red Heads
The John Steel Singers
The Soft White Sixties