The Story So Far: Treefort Music Fest 2016
By Jesii Dee
Day 1: Starting things off with Porches (NY) was perfect. They had a packed house as they started their set, and the crowd was engaged throughout. With most people dancing along to their funky indie vibes (with a few really excited human ping pong balls amongst the crowd). The venue itself made it difficult to actually see fully what was happening on stage, but at least I was able to hear it all clearly. From what I did see, the lead singers blonde hair and purple jumpsuit fit in well with the sparkly background of the stage.
Having been given the advice that when in doubt of what to see next, go with the band that traveled the furthest distance, I was off to see Acid Mothers Temple next. I don’t think anyone traveled as far as them, having come from Japan. Arriving there to catch the last few songs of Orphan Goggles (loud fuzzy rock n roll), and just in time before it seems the rest of the city had the same ideas to see AMT. I was fortunate to have a front of the stage spot as they started setting up. The benefit of Treefort is that I don’t know a lot of the bands, so it’s a surprise what they are going to sound like. They set up drums, guitars, bass, keyboard, and a mini moog, and then came on stage with some truly funky outfits. I heard from others in the crowd a few times “what is about to happen here??” and they launched into what I can only describe as the most loud, fast and intense 30 seconds of music I’ve ever heard. With a sudden stop, they switched to more laid back but still intense sound. Their description involved the term psychedelic rock, and that is really the best way to describe it. I felt like I was on a neon canoe, floating down a glow in the dark river with mythical creatures playing all around - and I was sober.
After that whirlwind, the night was coming to a close and I discovered that the prime spot in the very front was fortunate, as the venue had been at capacity for the majority of their set.
Day 2: Something we tend to miss out on in Phoenix is real weather other than sunshine, case in point being that it’s been sunny then pouring rain off an on all day so far. It makes getting dressed to be out and about a bit more of a challenge… but once that was settled, it was off to the events of the day!
I’ve got a bit of a different twist on the start of my Treefort day 2 than a normal "enjoy the festival" stuff, as I’m actually playing music tonight as part of it all. I will say, I can’t compare it to any other experiences since this is my first festival, but so far everyone has been super nice and helpful. Checking in was easy, I got some really fantastic treats in a personalized gift bag, and the entire process has been well organized and communication with the coordinators has been abundant & informative - surly no easy feat with over 450 bands to coordinate.
I was nothing short of mesmerized by the 208 Ensemble - with a marimba, piano, cello and more. Playing a variety of songs and captivating the entire crowd. (photo - 208 Ensemble)
The crew at the District coffee house hosted a quiet green room upstairs and it was a wonderful little space to step out of the fray for a few minutes before playing my own set. Quick shout out to my family, friends and the folks who stuck around while I played music. I appreciate it!! And of course to the awesome Treefort team as well for the opportunity.
After catching a few songs of the next act, Adam Joseph Wright, I went and checked out the formal artist lounge located at the Treefort HQ. I was greeted with all sorts of snacks and drinks, along with plenty of chairs for relaxing and socializing. Being on the 7th floor also provided a great view of the surrounding city. Then the next round of fun began with catching Hinds! The venue was PACKED and the energy was nothing short of electric.
With a stacked schedule it was off to venue #2 to watch Geographer. Starting things off with the song "Kites", bringing in the attention of the massive crowd. Playing through their discography over the course of the next hour, I literally didn’t want to leave until the very end. A must see band when the opportunity arrises from here on out for sure. (photo - geographer)
The next few stops were more of a whirlwind, catching part of local Boise favorites, LED before taking another quick break. Walking around a city a few times over throughout the day had caught up to me! The after party silent disco was a really cool experience closing out the night, with three different DJ’s playing on their own frequency that you can change via color changing head phones.
This was a relatively light day for my festival going, have had 2 very late nights in a row, but while the volume of bands seen was minimal, it was a great afternoon and evening.
Day 3: Being welcomed by a full street of vendors both local and national, as well as a variety of food trucks, the entrance to the MainStage for Treefort was abuzz. Being a little early in the afternoon, there weren’t too crazy of lines anywhere, and it was easy to swap money for future drinks via tokens and find a great spot to enjoy the kick ass tunes of La Luz. It was defiantly colder then it has been, and the lead singer remarking at one point “i’m just cold!” but it didn’t seem to effect their ability to play a great set. Oh, and I realized I’d been standing next to the guitar player for Built to Spill the whole time as well. Which made sense as they were up next.
They are definitely the biggest band out of Boise that I know of, and they have been an integral part in supporting Treefort from the beginning. They have played every year thus far, and this year was extra special as they played during a beautiful sunset as well. It was the biggest crowd I had seen yet, and a highlight of the weekend thus far.
Up next, another “never miss” show if you have the chance to see it: Charles Bradley. Seriously, this man is an inspiration. One of these most emotionally energetic performers I’ve seen, and he truly gave his heart to the audience last night. Tossing out a flower from his matching red coat toward the beginning, and had every person dancing along fur the duration of his amazing set.
I was disappointed that Thundercat wasn’t an option for me personally, since the line was SO FREAKING LONG! But I heard from a few people that went that it was crazy awesome. And I believe them. Instead, I rounded out the night with a rock n roll/sweaty set was the Nashville based Diarrhea Planet. Holy sh*t they were fantastic. And I was off to bed with buzzing ears and excitement for the packed day 4 & 5 ahead.