If you’re staying in Boise for the break, there happens to be a little festival that transforms Boise into a celebration of the arts for five days.
This is Treefort Music Fest’s 8th year, and it just keeps growing. This year’s lineup has some big names like Toro Y Moi, Liz Fair, and Vince Staples, but some would argue its main draws are the hundreds of artists you’ve likely never heard of, sprinkled throughout bars, coffee shops, and traditional venues across Boise.
If the music scene isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry—there are many other smaller “Forts” guaranteed to offer something you’d be interested in. Check out Yogafort, Hackfort, Storyfort, Kidfort, Foodfort, Alefort, Filmfort, Comedyfort, and new this year – The Fort of Drag.
Each fort offers something unique. The lineup of awesome things at Treefort are too long to list, so explore the Treefort app (seriously, it’s really good) that lets you “favorite” artists or events you’re interested in, and puts them on your own personal calendar so you won’t miss a thing. There’s even a feature that recognizes gaps in your schedule and suggests things going on at the time.
Here are some highlights going on at each Fort:
Yogafort is three days of classes and live music. It sells out every year, but if you need a place to relax during the festival, consider checking out Yogafort. You won’t want to miss Cristi Christensen, East Forest, and Bibi McGill (Beyonce’s lead guitarist and musical director for almost a decade) to name a few.
Speaking of games — Be sure to check out Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, veteran video game writers who worked on games like Mass Effect and Assassins Creed, and a live Boise State Esports League of Legends match against University of Oregon Esports to close out Hackfort.
Read more about Hackfort in this Boise Weekly article, and listen to their new theme song.
Storyfort offers a huge lineup of authors and storytellers- Tommy Orange (There There), Camille Acker (Training School for Negro Girls), NPR’s Kirk Siegler, Boise State Public Radio’s Frankie Barnhill, Jaime Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), and many, many more. Listen to stories of immigrants, spoken word artists, podcasters, poets, and basically any other type of storytelling form you can imagine.
This year’s Foodfort hosts“A Night at Kachka” with Chef Bonnie Morales, co-owner and head chef of Kachka in Portland and James Beard finalist. They will also feature local chefs from popular destinations like Madre, The Wylder, Zee’s Rooftop Cafe, Lime & a Coconut, Petite 4, and Camel’s Crossing. For those that enjoy delicious food, you can’t do any better than this.
If you’re 21+, check out Alefort. This year they’re focused on organizing their beers on flavor and story rather than by brewery. Experience Basque cultural cider and go to unique beer showcases. Plus, there’ll be alcoholic beverages at various 21+ plus stages throughout Treefort. This is your chance to enjoy good drinks alongside music, comedy, and films.
Filmfort is at the new Hilton Garden Inn downtown this year. They’ve been apart of Treefort since 2014, and continue to showcase excellent independent films. They’re bringing films like Ham on Rye, In Reality, Long Lost, and Minding the Gap (nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the 2018 Academy Awards).
Get all your laughs and giggles out during Comedyfort. There’ll be standup comedians at Liquid Laughs and other locations during Treefort. Some of the headliners are Jackie Kashian, Emma Arnold, Sam Tallet, and Yedoye Travis, but there’s plenty of other great comedians that you’ll want to see.
The Fort of Drag
New this year is The Fort of Drag. You’ll get the chance to experience Boise drag culture and see some popular drag queens like Mayham Miller and Farrah Moon. There’ll be a drag ball, lessons on how to drag, and more. Whether you want to be a queen or watch the drag queens do their thing, The Fort of Drag should be something on your list to check out.
Kidfort (sometimes referred to as Freefort) is free for kids under 12 years old, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult with a Treefort pass. This year, the YouTuber/magician Stuart Edge will perform. He has appeared on late-night talk shows and has more than 3 million followers online.
Oregon Shadow Theatre will perform a shadow puppet play called Jack and the Dragon, and local YouTuber Jared Jacobs (AKA goldyeller) will teach a Lego stop-motion video production workshop.
So, are you convinced to go to all of the Forts? Be sure to snag your tickets soon – they might be selling out.
By Mike Taylor