The Treefort Festival Diaries: Friday Fun-Day Roadtrip


The MFW crew roadtripped out for the first day of the inaugural Treefort Fest in Boise, Idaho. We don’t get much in the way of festival action up here in the Northern Rockies, so suffice to say we were stoked with the buffet of over seventy bands. Too much happened in one day to sum up in a single article — but I’ll try anyway.

There’s nothing more rock n’ roll than a Honda Element.

7.30 am: The day kicks off with a flat tire an hour outside of Bozeman. Lucky for us, our photographer happens to own a nearby fly fishing lodge (this is Montana after all). We patch up the tire and are back on the road in under an hour.

1.00 pm: Word of advice. If you’re running low on supplies in southern Idaho, stop at the Garden of Eden Truck Stop. Follow the gigantic creepy snake to the gigantic not-creepy walk-in beer cooler. Another word of advice: Don’t eat Mexican food in Pocatello and expect to make it to Boise without more than a few stops.

5.15 pm: The crew arrives in town and realize that our hotel location blows. We scramble and end up at the Red Lion situated between two of Boise’s infamous bikini only strip clubs. And even though our swanky pad boasts a windowed patio, I just know that it’s a terrible, terrible idea that there’s easy access to the hotel roof. And to The Torch.

6.10 pm: Coco needs to transform herself from grungy ski bum into hipster hottie, so Nick and I head over to Treefort central to pick up wristbands.  The Linen Building, built in 1910 and Boise’s most eco-friendly building, serves as the main venue for the sprawling Treefort festival. I also have my first run in with Boise’s food trucks which are parked all over the city. I scarf down a pork slider and perhaps the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich of my life.

Coco and The Soft White Sixties

7.00 pm: While Coco and Nick interview The Soft White Sixties from San Francisco, I take a quiet stroll around downtown Boise. And that’s when the screaming starts. I follow the source to The Crux– a coffeehouse transformed into a mosh pit with a teenaged band of punk rockers called 1d tearing the place a new asshole. There’s also a group of older folks in the back fully supporting Boise’s punks which brings a tear to my eye.

8.40 pm: The Treefort main stage is a family friendly outdoor street festival with local artists, food, and beer (and PBR of course). We settle in to catch the beginning of a set from Why?, the Friday night headliner from Cincinatti, and enjoy one of the first warmish evenings of spring.

Did I mention how much I love being outdoors on a warm spring night?

8.55 pm: On the way to see The Parson Red Heads, we encounter a shirtless dude wearing jean short cutoffs who is doing handstands and chanting, “punk rock isn’t dead!” That’s how we meet the drummer from Tim Blood and the Gut Panthers, a local Boise punk band. We duck back into The Crux for some head banging. True to the promise on their Treefort bio, they do like wearing tiny shorts and they put on a wild live show.


9.30 pm: It’s getting later and crazier at Treefort Fest. The Maldives came on after The Parson Red Heads and both bands are just killing inside the Neurolux venue. The room is sweet, but getting packed for the upcoming Blitzen Trapper show. We split for the Red Room.

Sweet beer coozie at Neurolux

10.55 pm: Alt country rockers, The Sons of Guns, finish up their set and give it up to Hot Bodies in Motion who set the whole place grooving. True story, Hot Bodies in Motion describe themselves as “baby-makin’ mammal funk, laced with old-school blues roots.” The Red Room has a storied history in Boise having hosted some of the biggest acts to pass through Idaho. The space is jammed with bodies, the music is deafening, the well booze is terrible, and the whole joint looks like it might collapse. In other words, my favorite bar in Boise.

Hot Bodies in Motion

12.10 am: The Soft White Sixties sound even better live and put on one hell of show. The Red Room is packed, the drinks are flowing, and boots are dancing. This is where we sign off. Just don’t worry about what happened to us past 1:oo am in Boise, okay?

The Soft White Sixties rocking the hell out of Boise

Born during a backstage Bonnaroo downpour, Vito's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to all the great festivals that this wide world has to offer.