Treefort Stays Sturdy in 2019

By Katy Dang with photos by Nathan Dang


Everyone has their own Treefort. That’s part of the fun; running into folks you don’t usually get to see, sharing bands you’ve seen or are seeing, finding out where they have been and are going, and then charting your own course through the embarrassment of riches offered over the course of 5 days. Sure, there are things to complain about, but far, far fewer than you would expect from an undertaking this size. As we’ve learned over the last 8 years, the folks running Treefort always want to make it better; tell them what doesn’t work and you’ll likely see a change.

That’s what makes Treefort special: as a truly grassroots effort, everyone tries because they actually care. Even the volunteers tasked with manning the beer & drinks fiasco at the Main Stage tried to make it okay. Boise is all about things being okay. We’re all in it for the good of the common experience, and we all waft along, enjoying our own particular Treefort.

Although we only caught about 7% of the available shows, that’s still 28 bands in 5 days. Here is Rockerzine’s take on the 2019 Festival.


Lisa Simpson, Blood Lemon

Lisa Simpson, Boise’s 2nd greatest guitarist with a voice that can shatter walls. She took the stage 2x at the Linen Building Thursday, once with a new 3 piece, Blood Lemon, and once at the farewell show of Boise’s favorite curated covers review, Mostly Muff. She’s a treasure.

All-ages clubs: awkward, kind and chaotic, these places remain important. You need a place where the bathroom line waits next to the open kitchen, where the sodas for sale at top dollar out front beckon to be grabbed gratis; no one does, because you don’t mess up a good thing. New York-based pretty punks Fruit and Flowers took the stage late due to a van breakdown, but put on a spirited show replete with uber-metal guitar licks and a saxophone a-la Fear.

The way the guitarist for Brazilian trio Orua cradled his guitar to his heart when he played was something to behold.

Freeforts: Kinder and gentler than the official venues, these neighboring spots did a good thing and kept it simple. Special shout-outs to Pre-Funk and Archie’s Place/Manfred’s for food & FAVX.

Txotx at Alefort

Txotx at Alefort; A traditional Basque cider party with a wooden barrel spouting cider into the waiting glasses of a fast-moving line of people? Oh, yes; yes, please.

FAVX at the Radio Boise Stage
FAVX at Grainey’s Basement

Festival Find: Spanish punk rock band FAVX slayed at PreFunk and reminded us what music can do. Furious and fabulous, these lads mean it. Never saw the Clash? Try these guys. They played 4 times over 3 days. It was a relief to have some anger expressed during these times that we live in (See Tommy Orange, below).

Lori from Acid King

What a great time it was talking with Lori from Acid King about Say You Love Satan, long-lost documentaries (“Do it! Do it! Do It!”) and getting book recommendations. 

Acid King played to an appreciative audience and harkened back to SF in the early 90s. I guess you didn’t have to be there.

She is a rock goddess.

The vast, thundering sonic-scape of Yamantaka was unlike anything else. Their theatrically made-up band backed—no, lifted—their two main singers as they absolutely roared indigenous-influenced vocals in a truly unique and powerful sound.

Tommy Orange, reluctant author-of-the-moment from Oakland and writer of the truly fucking great “There, There,” answering a drawn-out audience question at the Egyptian with the single greatest reason for writing something that I have ever heard: “Shit’s fucked up.” It is, indeed.


El Korah. This venue was a real treat for the first few years, as music fans and Shriners alike delighted in experiencing each other’s worlds. Not any more: rudeness reigns as the almighty dollar looms. Constant lines made one wonder what capacity will be for Treefort. It sure would have been nice if tokens bought last year were honored. Greed is bad, even if it’s nominally for a good cause.

Reserved Seating at the Knit

Knitting Factory: Please. Just. Stop. Being. Such. Assholes. The Knitting Factory experience always kind of sucks, but the non-existence of sound support for opening bands is just mean. And reserved seating? At a festival? Naw, man; just let the people sit. (Note: it was funny to hear the girl in the stall next to me puking and then having the automatic toilet flush after each retch). Amateur photographers abound and their self-importance is piercing (and blocks the view, y’all).

Just let me get this one shot…

Jesus, what does it take to get a drink around here? All of the wristbands at all of the venues and all of the lines for tokens and site-specific cups and then you go to the Knitting Factory and they just cut every single other venue’s hard-earned wristband off while lecturing you on bringing in cups that the last place made you buy. The lack of cohesion pissed everyone off this year, each and every time.

Overall, Treefort, like Boise itself, seems to get more and more attention every year. Luckily, the growth has been embraced and allows the festival to continue to flourish.

We’re a flower in the desert that keeps coming back every year, blooming once again, surprising everyone just how lovely it can be.