Skip to content
March 18, 2019 – Katherine Johnson

Treefort Music Fest is two sleeps away, and in the words of Jeremy Grey, I’m psyched. But today I’m taking a pause from streaming and building my Treefort playlist, planning my festival wardrobe, and maintaining some serious hydration efforts to think about this amazing five-day cultural event and its connection to the brand behind this special city we love.

“Boise is on the map.” Yeah, I’m sick of hearing it, too. But we’re hearing it so much because it’s true. SNL’s recent shout-out during the “Weekend Update” is one more reminder of how people across the country are now aware of all that’s awesome about the Boise area.

They’re buzzing about jobs, access to recreation, vibrant city centers, housing and educational opportunities . . . beer. Behind this ambitious buzz is a brand that has progressed as Boise has grown and evolved. The Boise brand stands for a community of culture, art, music, tech discovery, family values, health, and happiness.

Among the top in the list of what drives the growth of the Boise brand is Treefort Music Fest. In its 8th year, Treefort has experienced tremendous growth (attendance grew 33% from 2017 to 2018), and there’s no slowing in sight. Exactly how does this rapidly growing music festival reflect and support the Boise brand?

5 Attributes of Treefort Music Fest That Highlight Boise’s Unique Values


As a person who dances through life to a bizarre, no-rhyme-or-reason soundtrack, the variety of music and art featured at Treefort appeals to all my senses. But more than anything, I’m drawn to Treefort year after year because of the friendly, inclusive, and open-minded . . . energy.

I hesitated because I hate that buzzword, but I honestly cannot think of a better way to put it. Treefort has an energy that jolts locals and visitors into an elevated state of kindness, patience, and non-judgmental curiosity that Boise is known for.


While KidFort is not in my own Treefort plans, it’s amazing how many times I recommend it to my friends with young families. It’s kid heaven – tons of yummy food, interactive décor, photo opportunities, creative art activities, fun dance music, best-in-class puppet shows, and more.

Social Responsibility:

It takes a lot of work to be a clean, green festival machine that meets Boise’s high standards for social responsibility, and Treefort nails it year after year. Whether it’s the ongoing trash and recycling duties, the solar-generated power for the Main Stage, the use of recycled materials in festival décor, or the elimination of plastic waste by providing reusable tin beer cups, Treefort’s Green Team of staff and volunteers are the superheroes behind the scenes.

That Idaho Sense of Adventure:

Okay, I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. I hardly know any of the bands featured at Treefort (seriously, no one really does). And that’s okay! The festival is about being brave and trying new things. Much like the way Idahoans tackle new mountain trails and rivers, Treefort requires a sense of exploration. If you’re a proud Boisean, and you have not experienced it yet, what are you waiting for? A Treefort wristband is a wallet-friendly ticket to a five-day staycation of adventure, and you will not be disappointed.


Years ago, during my first Treefort experience, I watched the festival’s co-founder Lori Shandro stand in front of a devoted Sunday night crowd at the Main Stage and share a long message of thanks. I’ve witnessed this same message from that same founder on that same stage every year, and to my surprise, it’s more authentic and genuine each year. I’m always moved to tears.

As a Boise citizen, I share my gratitude by attending every year, proudly wearing a Zipline wristband and experiencing as many forts as possible. One year, I even went as far as hosting a band from Portland at my house. They were the nicest people, and due to my exhaustive hospitality efforts, I was given the nickname “MomFort” (even got a shout-out from the stage).

I apologize if you clicked on this blog thinking you were going to get another “guide to a successful Treefort.” All I can say is, in the adventurous spirit of a cultural event that is as “Boise” as you can get, you do you. Live in the moment. Take it all in. And have a kick-ass time!

This image was originally posted to Flickr by Treefort Photo Dept at https://flickr.com/photos/94031922@N06/33588616333. It was reviewed on by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.