Treefort 2024: Rites of Spring - Oh My Rockness

Festival Guide

Treefort 2024: Rites of Spring

Treefort 2024 Recap

March 27, 2024

Written by Scott Draper

Boise's Treefort Music Fest, held since 2012, is the Holy Rite of Vernal Equinox for fervent devotees such as Team Oh My Rockness Idaho (OMRID). Like monks in our devotion, we get the apps and lineups months ahead, build esoteric playlists which we aggressively peddle to friends, and mark our wall calendars with little X's (shaped like intersecting orange logs, if we're cute and artistically-inclined) through the winter months all the way up to March 20. As the day draws near, we line up our alternate sets of flannel layers, cute mittens, adorable beanies, Patagonia jackets, mustache wax, wigs, and animal costumes, and fantasize about the sweet taste of cider in El Korah's lounge late on a Saturday night, as we put the finishing touches on our spreadsheets showing performance times and walking distances triangulated with free street parking and Pie Hole Pizza.

This spring's festival was blessed by revitalizing music and weather, and we offer the following testaments and counsels for both fellow disciples and future converts.

  • ✸ If it's ecstatic primal ritual you seek: Brooklyn's A Place to Bury Strangers brandished strobe lights, extension cords, drum sets, and freshly-broken guitars during their pulverizing Thursday night set at The Shrine Club. One man stumbling out afterward in a daze shouted to his friend, "That was… I DUNNO! It was like a WAR zone in there!" (He in fact did not need to shout at all, since he was outside the blaring venue by then, but we understood where he was coming from.)

  • ✸ This was the second year during which Treefort has expanded into a whole new part of downtown Boise, a cordoned-off section of Julia Davis Park, including stages, food trucks, port-o-potties, "Ale Fort," vendors, giant interactive sculptures, outdoor games for kids (sort of like actual tree forts), and plenty of grassy space for yoga, naps, hill-rolling, jumping-jack contests, or what have you. Plenty of this is free to the public, adding to the general effervescence.

  • So, it's really rad. But note well: Gone are the days when everything was a short walk away. It's a pleasant-yet-long walk between the Treefort Zone and most of the other venues, made more harrowing by electric scooters and other assorted "Personal Electric Vehicles" whizzing past with riders yelling things like "sucker!" all the time at OMRID for some reason as we plod along and whimper about our shin splints.
  • As great as the Main Stage area is, some of the purest and most idiosyncratic pleasures still come from the weird old downtown spaces, e.g., Neurolux, Pengilly's Saloon, the Cyclops Stage outside the hockey arena, Spacebar Arcade, Basque Center, JUMP, and of course the nefarious Shredder. The walk is well worth it, but plan ahead.

  • ✸ Rhodes Skate Park is another brilliant venue, and its Saturday lineup was chaotically fun, with high-energy bands like Austin's Die Spitz selling it for all it's worth in quick 30-minute shows while local skaters, bikers, and, again, scooterers (Surely they're not just called "scooters"?), bugged-out on testosterone, seemed not only to not be avoiding but in at least two instances actually targeting OMRID's staff. We enjoyed the attention, though, in a lonely world.

  • ✸ London's Dry Cleaning was captivatingly blasé, bored, and amused by it all.

  • ✸ OMRID has been kind of proud and braggy to all our Treefort pals about how we first saw Portland's Spoon Benders way back several Treeforts ago, long before they were the talk of the fest, in a not-very-crowded outdoor venue on a scorching afternoon. This year they performed thrice, at key places and times, filling the large Treefort Music Hall, and ending the festival with a packed and frenzied 12:40 A.M. show at the Shrine Club's downstairs lounge. Did we mention yet that we were already into them, like, years ago?

  • ✸ Vocalists Neko Case (Main Stage), Cassandra Lewis (Shrine Social Club), and – Dear God! – Little Moon's Emma Hardyman (The Olympic) shattered our hearts and made us weep, but totally in a healthy way. Or, dare we say, in a cathartic or new-birth-and-fresh-beginnings sort of way? OMRID feels a sudden inexplicable urge to deep-clean our home and/or make love.

Spring is here, you know?

It arrived last week during the rites of Treefort.


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