Treefort Music Festival Rocks On with Strict Pandemic Guidelines


Local art at Treefort in Boise, Idaho, 2021. (Photo by Paige Gardner | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Frank Gardner, Assistant Arts Editor


After more than a year of waiting, Treefort Music Festival is finally back on in Boise, Idaho. With firm pandemic restrictions as hospitals in Idaho become increasingly overwhelmed due to rising COVID-19 cases, Treefort has pulled all the stops to try to make this year’s festival safe and enjoyable. 

The Forts

Nearly a decade old, Treefort now includes far more than just music. The festivities have become increasingly dynamic, this year’s event being a wide-ranging festival of arts and culture. Alefort, Artfort, Comedyfort, Dragfort, Filmfort, Foodfort, Hackfort, Kidfort, Storyfort, Skatefort and Yogafort are unique festivals within Treefort that have their own unique focuses outside of music. The various forts are gaining traction and carving out a place for themselves on a national scale, which is working to put Boise on the map. 


From homegrown, Boise bands like Built to Spill and local artist Eilen Jewell to bigger groups like Japanese Breakfast, the lineup at this year’s festival is one of the best in recent years.

The musical entertainment ranges from indie-rock to hip hop to folk and even classical piano. There really is something here for everyone and more shows than you could ever possibly make it to. For that reason, it might make more sense for festival-goers to buy individual tickets to shows rather than a pass that gets you into everything. 

With over 400 bands and more than 50 venues, it’s easy to get overwhelmed planning out your week in Boise. The Treefort Music Fest app provides the perfect solution to this, allowing you to search for venues, get information about events and even make a schedule for yourself.

Even without the app, navigating the festival is relatively easy. An abundance of volunteers and a relatively small downtown area make for an easy and accessible festival experience. 


Dancers, sculptors, painters, performers and creatives made this year’s Artfort unforgettable. Boise isn’t well-known for its arts scene, but it certainly should be. Permanent sites like Freak Alley aid in showing Boise’s true creative colors and talented local artists are hard at work building a community here for creators. 

With strong roots in Boise and a global following on social media, prolific mixed-media artist Ashley Dreyfus is a huge highlight at this year’s Artfort. Her colorful, alter-ego depictions of funky human figures can be found on permanent display lining the walls of downtown Boise. 

As mentioned before, the Freak Alley Gallery is a can’t-miss not just for Treefort, but anytime you find yourself in Boise. For nearly 20 years, hundreds of graffiti and mural artists have been collaborating on Freak Alley to make it the incredible, vibrant space that it is today. Every year it grows and changes alongside the city and it has become a beloved emblem of local art in the city. 

Pandemic Precautions

Treefort organizers have gone to great lengths to set comprehensive health and safety guidelines for the event. Going beyond state and local regulations, attendees must produce proof of vaccines or a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entrance to the events.

The festival has provided easy-to-use online portals for uploading this information and finding resources on event protocols, and is even giving free beer to those willing to get vaccinated at Treefort. 

Many have expressed concerns that Treefort and events like the Boise State football game, which hosted around 36,000 fans, will only exacerbate current health concerns in the state. The effect of hosting major events like these will be seen in coming weeks, but it is clear people are ready and willing to make the transition back to in person despite the risks. 


Treefort will be hosting events until Sept. 26. Tickets and other information can be found on the festival website