From film and comedy to music, your complete guide to Treefort Music Fest 2017
Courtesy of Treefort Music Fest

The excitement is building as the Treefort Music Fest, one of the country’s premier springtime music festivals is about to open in Boise, Idaho. Taking place at various venues in Boise’s downtown area, the festivities will take place March 22-26 and include hundreds of showcases by nationally-known, regional and local acts.

It’s not just the fans who are getting all hot and bothered waiting for opening day, performers too are anxious to gas up the van and point it toward Boise. Bands that have been to the Treefort Music Fest in the past always seem to want to come back, and that sentiment is shared by Patrick Phillips of Los Angeles band Water Slice. “Treefort is my favorite festival hands down,” Phillips told “I got to be best friends with two of my band mates by hanging out, playing music and attending Treefort shows with them.”

Of course, not everyone has previously experienced the fun of the Treefort Music Fest, so we’re offering a bit of guidance because we wouldn’t want anyone to be, well, stuck up a tree.

Q: Will I miss anything if I can’t climb a tree? I never was very good at that.

A: Relax, the Treefort thing is just a metaphor. The festival takes its name from the playful notion that every tree is unique and so is every festival-goer, every band, every festival, etc. You get the idea.

Q: I hear that the Treefort Music Fest has a lot of different forts, but I have no idea what that means.

A: Again, relax, you unique one. The various “forts” are just the areas in which you’ll find the thing that the fort is named after. For example, the Alefort is where you’ll find beer and plenty of it; of the local and craft brew sort. Here’s the scoop on the other forts:

Comedyfort – If you’d like to take a break from the music or squeeze in some laughs before bedtime, there’ll be more than 20 shows to tickle your funny bone. Some of the laugh masters in attendance will be Lady Bizness, John-Michael Bond, Amy Miller, Tamer Kattan, Kwasi Mensah and Boise’s own Emma Arnold. Most of the comedy shows take place at Liquid Lounge.

Filmfort – This fort will be open every day with multiple films screening over the course of each evening with some screenings being followed by a Q&A session. If you want to see “Toad to Nowhere,” a documentary about a psychedelic toad, hop to Owyhee by 4:00 p.m. on opening day March 22. It’ll be groovy, man.

Foodfort – Really? We have to explain this one? Actually, there is something special going on here and it’s called Tastes and Talks. Two separate events, Tastes is an opportunity to sample goodies whipped up by the best area chefs; Talks is a chance to hear the chefs talk about their creations.

Hackfort – Not just for techies, Hackfort will feature presentations from about 35 clever folks like Paul Reynolds of Vertex Labs, Ghostly International recording artist Michna, Marianna Budnikova from Microsoft and Brooke Lacey of Tech Savvy. It all happens March 24-25 and festival-goers can get a head start on the Hackfort fun at the kick-off party at Woodland Empire on March 23.

Storyfort – Authors of fiction, poetry, rock history, memoirs and many other genres will appear to read from their recent works and take questions afterward. A typical presentation will feature an author like Lizzie O’Leary, Shawn Vestal, Val Brelinski and more notably, Willy Vlautin. Vlautin, author of “Motel Life,” “Northline” and “The Free” is also a musician known for fronting Richmond Fontaine and the Delines. He’s also a very personable fella; meet him at Owyhee, March 25.

There will also be forts dedicated to yoga and performance art, and there’ll be events for skaters and plenty of things to occupy children at Kidfort.

Q: Wow, that’s a lot of stuff to do. How can I take in some of these things and still see the Meat Puppets, the Album Leaf, Angel Olsen, the Bouncing Souls, STRFKR, Gringo Star and Dead Meadow?

A: Oh come on, you’ve got five days.

Q: But aren’t these things spread all over town? Can I see more than a couple shows per day?

A: Events do take place at different venues but they’re all in downtown Boise which is very compact and easy to walk.

Q: I don’t get paid until the week after the festival takes place. Are there shows that are easy to sneak into?

A: Well now, they’ll be watching for you! Wristbands are required for some shows but there are free shows and presentations going on every day. Just look at the day-to-day schedule that’s online.

For answers to all of your other questions and a full listing of the concerts and events taking place at the Treefort Music Fest, go here.

Find out about the other fun things to do in Boise here.