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Boise State Helps Power Engine, Talent of Treefort

Storyfort, Treefort, Tyler McMahon, MFA writing program, English, Carrie Quinney photo

This year, Boise State students, faculty and staff have even more reasons to stick around town during spring break thanks to Treefort Music Fest – the music, art and tech collaboration that will consume much of downtown Boise March 22-26.

The campus community is connected to Treefort as more than just audience members; over the past six years, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and Boise State alumni have performed on its stages, taken on leadership and planning roles, and otherwise helped grow the festival from a three-day music-centric event to a five-day celebration of local culture featuring more than 400 bands as well as other themed “forts.”

“As one of our largest sponsors, Boise State is helping to support macro efforts, Storyfort, Filmfort and, of course Hackfort, which they essentially helped found,” said Eric Gilbert, one of the festival’s founders.

This year, Boise State students have taken on planning roles as music and Storyfort interns; Boise State students hosted a “prefort” undergraduate literary contest and reading; a group of students will be participating in “alternative spring break” at Treefort, complete with volunteer opportunities and a culturally curated tour of the festival; and 14 COBE students are volunteering their time to re-certifying Treefort as a B-Corp, which applies to for-profit companies that seek to “use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.”

Students are very civically minded but they don’t necessarily know how to develop those skills, so that’s part of the program as well,” said Erin Mahn, assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership, who helps develop the alternative spring break trips.

Photo of local band Lakoda playing on stage in the Special Events Center while Treefort "monsters" dance alongside the band.
Treefort Music Fest 2016 preview concert at Boise State SPEC, Photo Patrick Sweeney

In addition, a number of Boise State students, staff and alumni will appear on Treefort’s diverse stages this year. Boise State Public Radio’s Frankie Barnhill will appear on the Bury the Lead journalists’ panel, as will Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing Greg Hahn, and Patty Bowen, editor in chief of the university student newspaper, The Arbiter. The radio station also is responsible for bringing in Lizzie O’Leary for The Rise of the Podcast, the Toronto-based band Weaves for a Record Exchange performance (which you don’t need a Treefort pass to attend), and BSPR’s Adam Cotterell will present a talk titled Podcasting Place.

Over at Hackfort, Albertsons librarian and head of emerging technologies Amy Vecchione will present the Board Game Makerlab; ethics professor Don Winiecki presents Building Ana; Save Our Planet, Save Our Soil will feature the work of photography professor Jon Sadler; alumna and current Microsoft employee Marianna Budnikova will speak about Hololens; the Steve Swanson-mentored team of all-girl FIRST Robotics entrants, the Chickadees, is teaching a robot build; and School of Public Service Dean Corey Cook will host statistician Nate Silver during a live taping of his podcast FiveThirtyEightLive.

The Boise State English Majors Association helped secure spoken word artist G Yamazawa; Boise State creative writing professor Kerri Webster will read at the Mimosa and Poetry event; and Boise State Public Radio and Boise State President Bob Kustra will feature Storyfort-featured authors Shawn Vestal and Jonathan Evison on Reader’s Corner.

This year, Boise State students and alumni are playing on Treefort stages with bands and artists including Luci Kolada, Hollow Wood, and Edward Stump. For more details and a full schedule of Treefort events, visit the 2017 Treefort website and click on “forts.”

In 2015, Treefort was named the 2015 City of Boise’s Cultural Ambassador for its ability to harness and broadcast the city’s cultural beacons to a northwest, national and international audience. For these reasons and many more, Boise State is proud to be a Treefort Architect this year – the highest level of festival sponsorship.