2016 Treefort Music Fest


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by Chelsea Chambers

It’s early spring – the days begin to grow longer, the trees pull themselves from their winter freeze, flower buds peak through the cold and Boise native Kat Rainer stands among the crowds with a shining grin. She makes her way to the stage to see Rose Quartz perform and is enveloped by the sights, sounds, and congenial atmosphere that makes up this festival in our beloved City of Trees.

“I love how the community of Boise, and so many others, come together for the common greatness of live music,” says Rainer, on her experience at Treefort last year.

Treefort 2016 brings promise of even more entertainment as the festival expands with the addition of Foodfort and continues to grow and develop all the rest of the many fort themed stages and events.

The idea for Treefort was concocted in late 2011 by a group of friends who sought to broaden the Boise art scene. One of the group members, Eric Gilbert, joined forces with Lori Shandro of Duck Club and set to work organizing what would soon grow to become one of the most attended events in Boise history. The groups moved quickly and planned for the first Treefort event in March of 2012, which boasted 137 acts and over a thousand in attendance. The festival continues to be an efflorescent part of Boise, fueling the local economy and bringing in visitors on a global scale.

While bands, participants, and attendees come from all over the world, Treefort is proud of their roots and has a diverse array of local bands and events that continually incite the Boise art scene.

The Western Mystics – Brent Joel, Riley Johnson, Nik Kososik, Travis AbbottWesternMystics
Many of the members of The Western Mystics have been part of Treefort since its formation and all agree that it has an incredibly positive influence on local artists. “I one hundred percent believe that Treefort and the team behind it are the biggest reasons that the Boise music scene stays exciting,” say baritone guitar player, Nik Kosonik.

The band describes themselves as post-progressive world, but are not too keen on genres. The Western Mystics is representational of the idea that there will always been a group of people who come together to create something that help the world move forward in a progressive direction. Drummer, Brent Joel, and guitarist, Travis Abbott, started the band as a project that played purely intuitive music, meaning they play with an openness to all possibilities and the idea has prevailed with the addition of Nik Kosonik and keyboardist, Riley Johnson. While all the members have their own projects and endeavors, they’ve really come together to create some amazing music with The Western Mystics. Although Brent plays in various other bands, he expresses that, “Playing in TWM has been a very liberating experience. In this band I have total freedom of expression.”

Currently, they are working on writing sets exclusively for live performances. They very much value music as it happens in the moment and fully believe that the best way to experience The Western Mystics is to see their lives shows.

Hollow Wood – Adam Jones, Hayden Jensen, Jeff Bull, Bryan Konkol, Micah StevensHollow
The band mates of Hollow Wood all met in their mid-teens and have been working on various projects together for years. They’ve combined their interests and shared experiences to create incredible music that speaks both to and from the soul. Hollow Wood has grown up with Treefort and performed since the beginning. The festival has been undeniably important to the development of their band and each year marks another mile stone in which they can reflect on where they’ve been and where they are heading. The band describes Treefort as, “a warm hug from all your friends once a year.”

Each member is highly diverse in their talents and abilities and they all share other projects and work collaboratively in some of their many other endeavors, including guitarist and vocalist, Hayden Jensen’s project Mixed Mediah and drummer, Bryan Konkol’s project Aged Ex Champion. The band is currently working on recording their new record, to be released later this year.

Toy Zoo – Jason Burke, Chessa Lilly, Cory Hentrup, Devin McComas, Lara HarperToyZoo
The members of Toy Zoo have been experimenting with a mash up of 80’s new wave and punk music, combined to create what is known as double bass doom pop. The band incorporates a large bass (Cory) and a small bass (Chessa) into their music, along with a keyboard (Devin) and drums (Jason). This eclectic mix, accompanied by Lara’s vocals, coins Toy Zoo with their unique style that is guaranteed to entice and intrigue listeners of all varieties.

The band formed in the summer of 2013 but were joined by Devin and Jason later that year in the fall. Toy Zoo moved from Twin Falls to Boise shortly after the formation and they’ve enjoyed the transition. Each member is involved in various projects and other bands, but this has only aided in the creativity for Toy Zoo, and their other endeavors. The group is currently working on their second album and they hope to debut some of their new music at Treefort this year.

Patrick BenolkinPatrick
Patrick is a self-taught musician who has been playing since high school. In 2000, he began trying out production as well as mixing and the creation of his own music; this became a catalyst for the rest of his undertakings in assorted genres. Patrick continued to learn, practice, and experiment in all areas of music including hip-hop, melodic, ambient, and many more endless variations. After years of diligence, he landed a regular spot at the Neurolux where he played alongside Noah Hyde, Matt Allen, and DJ Revolve for nearly eight years. Patrick continues to try out new styles of music and production, which is what makes his performances so captivating, no matter the genre.

Patrick has played Treefort since the fruition in 2012 and enjoys every moment, “It is an awesome outlet for local artists, whether already well known or just coming out into the scene, and a wonderful opportunity for artists to get their stuff heard at a time when so many people come together at once for the purpose of listening to and discovering new music.” Patrick remains active in the artistic industries of music, production, and film and has a long list of projects to look forward to. He has many different monikers, including Lamont Kohner (who is soon to be releasing a record under Portland label Will Ru), but will be playing as Patrick Benolkin at Treefort this year.

As Treefort Music Fest continues to grow, it brings with it the promise of entertainment and excitement for all who attend. For more information and a complete lineup list, visit their website at treefortmusicfest.com. The festival will be held downtown from March 23rd to the 27th.