A Pocket Guide to Treefort Music Fest 2024

Photo by Maggie Grace

Springtime is upon us once again. Which, for a decent amount of us in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, it’s time to start mapping out our schedules for Treefort Music Fest! From its comparatively humble beginnings in 2012, Treefort has grown to completely take over Downtown Boise—to the profound delight of bartenders and Lyft drivers all over Idaho’s capital city—ballooning from around 140 acts to over 400(!). (And that’s just on the music side, not counting comedy, live podcasting, community programs, films, and the beloved queer space Dragfort.) 

For the occasion, our Treefort correspondents for this year — staff reporter Martin Douglas and DJ manager Franny Thomas; colleagues, friends, and music festival buddies — have both made pocket lists of their most anticipated Treefort sets. It’s most certainly not a full accounting of what they plan on seeing throughout the fest (here is the full schedule), but a choice sample of the great music available. If you’re attending Treefort and have a case of analysis paralysis, allow our experts to give you a few suggestions!

Armand Hammer (Wednesday: Treefort Music Hall, 11:30pm)

Photo by Carlos Cruz


If I can offer a little constructive booking criticism, Treefort over the years — while stating the same for pretty much every major PNW music festival since the dissolution of the secretly awesome Upstream Music Fest — has been somewhat light on the kind of rap music dyed-in-the-wool rap fans (like yours truly) actually want to see. They usually have a few strong acts making up for a good evening, however; including the great MIKE and MAVI sets at Knitting Factory last year, the triple bill of AKAI SOLO, Fly Anakin, and Bbymutha in 2022, and the spectacular opening night salvo of Vince Staples and JPEGMAFIA back in 2019

Keeping in line with their “at least one excellent rap act per year” quota, Treefort has landed the critically exalted duo of billy woods and ELUCID, part of an extremely short argument regarding the best rap group currently working. Armand Hammer have already toured extensively to promote their latest masterpiece, We Buy Diabetic Test Strips — their sixth official studio album as a group, all ranging from outstanding to completely flawless — so their Treefort set will be a long-ago-deserved victory lap. — Martin Douglas

Blood Lemon (Thursday: Main Stage, 2:40pm)

Photo by Lila Streicher


Perhaps Boise’s greatest band not named Built to Spill — but sharing a member with the city’s perennial top musical export nonetheless — Blood Lemon is always a solid presence at Treefort (I’ve seen them at least once every year since I’ve been going to the festival) and they are overdue for a breakthrough as the leaders of a new generation of Boise bands putting their best foot forward for big crowds at Treefort. A power trio steeped in trail-stomping psych (think: L7 covering Black Mountain) Blood Lemon has been poised for a long time to become the next majorly significant band to come out of Idaho; this might be their year. Catch them at Treefort so you can say you saw them before they become proverbial world-beaters. — Martin Douglas

Black Ends (Thursday: Neurolux, 8pm)

A great deal of qualifiers have been placed on this grungy (or “gunky” if you’re a real one) alternative rock trio in the five years since their exceptional Sellout EP dropped in 2019. For instance, Black Ends have been called the “best local band” in Seattle for so long that it’s easy to overlook the fact that they’re so much better than so many contemporary bands, regardless of location, that it’s kinda unreal. More and more people have been let in on Seattle’s worst-kept secret, but with a new LP forthcoming, a Bandcamp-exclusive live album imminent, and this year’s Treefort set serving as an excellent preview for what’s in store, Black Ends might be finally ready to snatch the crown and rightfully claim their status as the Greatest Band from Seattle Today and not just the Greatest Band in Seattle Today. — Martin Douglas

Ty Segall (Thursday: Main Stage, 8:40pm; Friday: Treefort Music Hall, 11:40pm)

Photo by Brady Harvey


As an avowed Ty Segall fan since he was putting out albums on Goner Records over 15 years ago, I can say unreservedly that his recent record, Three Bells, is my favorite full-length of his in many years. The album is a beguiling synthesis of his latter-day output (as a singer/songwriter from the ‘70s and… also the future?), the songwriting turns of his phenomenally overlooked 2012 album Twins, and the style that brought him to the dance in the first place (the compact sprawl and weird psychedelic grace notes of his early-career masterpiece Melted). Furthermore, Ty is still one of the most reliable presences on the live scene of whatever we’re calling “indie” music these days, and even-more-furthermore, one of the most enjoyable live acts in all of rock music right now. I’m certain the songs from Three Bells absolutely rip live, but it’s safe to anticipate a couple career-spanning sets, which is no small feat since the guy just released his fifteenth solo album. — Martin Douglas

Rosali (Thursday: Neurolux, 9pm)

Photo by Chris Frisina


It’s the edge of spring and there’s still room for those mornings spent in a chunky sweater, a warm cup in our hands, and a wistful look out a window. The sun is just coming in. That is the feeling of Rosali. I’m hoping this is a huge year for the North Carolina-by-way-of-Philly singer/songwriter: there’s an album on the way (their first with Merge Records), a tour with Mary Timony (also playing Treefort!), and after a few years recording and playing with a fantastic group of musicians (shout out to David Nance and Mowed Sound!!), the time to say you saw them back when … is now. I’ve seen Rosali command a festival filled with grumpy punk rock types and hush a room full of jam band revelers. Let’s see what she can do at Treefort!  — Franny Thomas

The Messthetics & James Brandon Lewis (Thursday: Shrine Social Club, 9:10pm)

One of several D.C. collectives playing Treefort, James Brandon Lewis is a mind-expanding, award-winning jazz saxophonist. The Messthetics have their bonafides too; two members of Fugazi are in there! They got together to record an album that was just released and have already spent some time on the road together, harnessing the power of their live wings. At some point over Treefort’s five days, you oughta have your brains melted — might as well get it out of the way on the first night. This is the set I’m counting on for that, and then scrambling, and otherwise rearranging my innards in the best possible way. This is the set I’m counting on to wipe us all clean so we can start anew and evolve into better people together on this planet. Either that or it’s just going to be really great.  Let’s find out together! — Franny Thomas

Prism B!tch (Friday: Bandshell, 7:40pm; Sunday: Payette Brewing, 9:10pm)

Photo courtesy of Prism B!tch


Sometimes with the hustle and bustle of a festival — running from one venue to another, the agonizing task of Sophie’s Choice’ing competing sets left and right, and dealing with our ears being bigger than our standing legs —  it’s important to ask: have we had some fun yet?  Chances are if you catch one of Prism B!tch’s two sets, the answer will be a resounding YES. Syrupy, sludgy songs that will course through your veins for days served up, sometimes, in A League of Their Own costumes. Dressed up or down, I’ve never left a Prism B!tch show without a smile and a hook or two sunk right in. — Franny Thomas

Mambo Sauce (Friday: The Olympic, 10pm; Saturday: Bandshell, 7:50pm)

Honestly, I’m not sure what will be better: just witnessing this legendary, Washington D.C. go-go band do their dang thing, OR witnessing the people of Boise witnessing this legendary go-go band do their thing. Either way, this is where you come to dance to the sounds of the Nation’s Capital. It’s an election year, so go-go might not be what you first imagine when you think about what D.C. sounds like, but to the people born and raised, the people from there, this is it.  The funky beat soundtracks dance parties, street corners, home runs at the baseball park, and something smokey coming off the grill. It is the sound of Chocolate City. Mambo Sauce has the power to make you want to move your body, to organically manufacture the urge to respond to their calls, and, bless them, will give us all an outlet to sweat off a little bit of any of those festival indulgences we may encounter. — Franny Thomas

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