Treefort Music Fest shines the spotlight on local Boise businesses

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Boise Valley Economic Partnership leaders said the annual five-day event brings millions of dollars to the local economy.

BOISE, Idaho — Now in its tenth year, Treefort Music Fest continues to garner more attention nationwide. That attention is paying off for local businesses in downtown Boise, as people between performances look for ways to spend their time and money.

“We’ve already sold a ton of our beer that we didn’t expect,” said Woodland Empire President Rob Landerman.

Landerman said Treefort’s week is still the busiest week for his downtown Boise brewery, as crowds filled the indoor and outdoor areas Friday afternoon. Woodland Empire has a music scene in its parking lot — which anyone, at any age — can watch for free.

“There’s a lot to put together something like this,” Landerman said. “A lot of infrastructure on our end, we’re kind of changing the way we operate day-to-day during this week, like how we serve and sell beer. Everything is different.”

He calls this time of year a stressful week, but kind of fun stressful, due to exposure and new faces coming to his business.

“It brings in a lot of people from out of town and introduces them to Boise and our brewery. It also provides a lot of density here that we don’t normally have,” Landerman said.

RELATED: Treefort Music Festival 2022 Guide: Bands, Yoga & More

It’s not just Woodland Empire that gets excited about the annual music festival. Treefort takes over downtown Boise five days a year, which Boise Valley Economic Partnership (BVEP) leaders say has positive revenue impacts for many local businesses.

“In 2019, the last time we had [Treefort] before COVID-19 hit, it brought in $4 million to the community,” said BVEP Executive Director Clark Krause.

According to Treefort, the festival welcomed over 25,000 people in 2019. The event saw a decline in 2021 with just over 15,000 attendees.

However, Krause said with more relaxed rules both with Treefort and in the city of Boise compared to 2021, numbers could return to pre-COVID levels or even better.

“We get a lot of people staying overnight, we certainly get a lot of people eating, enjoying our bars and other things that are available,” Krause said. “They did a great job with the event in September [2021], but it’s nice to see things open again for business and entertainment. We can come together again, be part of this community and connect with each other.”

Krause said events like Treefort shine a light on Boise and attract businesses that could help the local economy and the city continue to grow.

“Tourism and hospitality are the ‘gateway drugs’ for economic development,” Krause said. “You have to have a great welcome mat to attract business, because even as they look at the facts about where they’re going to expand next, they’re like, ‘Is this somewhere I want to be?’ or “Is this a place where people want to live?” and I think Boise is better positioned than anyone else in the country to do that.”

While Treefort and other events could have long-term effects on Treasure Valley’s economy, places – like Woodland Empire – said they were just happy to have the immediate exposure it brings to their business.

“Occasionally [Treefort] can be a lifesaver, you know?” Landerman said. “Without Treefort, there could be a big missed opportunity for sales, but it’s also just been a really fun week that we only have one times a year. When you miss it, you really feel it.”

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