Think about the band you’ve known since the beginning. Rumblings of their sound and talent likely spread via word-of-mouth, initially, then the tales continued to build until their story spread through media coverage and trickled to other channels.
Since its inception, Treefort Music Fest has always used the power of music to draw an audience to Boise and expand its reach. From punk to funk, folk to metal and EDM to hip-hop, music (of all genres) is the sturdy trunk of Treefort; but that’s not all there is to explore at the annual five-day festival held in March throughout downtown Boise. And if music is the trunk, then the festival’s branches are the many forts, ever-growing and reaching beyond the music, connecting the community with an impressive array of art, beer, comedy, film, food, stories, technology and yoga each year.
Started in 2012 and inspired by Boise’s emerging music and arts scene, Treefort draws international, national and regional artists while also showcasing up-and-coming local talent. Regardless of rapid growth, Treefort continues to stay true to its values-based, mission and vision, persistently refining and evolving the festival while being mindful to ensure it’s a welcoming destination for all. “Treefort is smaller, more approachable and more genuine than other festivals, without a lot of corporate sponsors shouting in your face,” says Treefort Marketing Director Megan Stoll. “It helps that Boise has a wonderful, unpretentious vibe, which makes everybody feel welcome and really comfortable.” This purpose-driven focus led the festival to becoming a certified B Corp in 2015 (and re-certified in 2017) and helped attain its recognition as Cultural Ambassador by the City of Boise for 2015-2017.
In preparation for the 2016 festival, Treefort recognized the need to expand its outreach efforts to help attract more national media interest and coverage.
“We reached a point where we wanted to continue to grow, but we wanted to do it smartly,” recalls Stoll. Until that point, Treefort had been a small festival with no marketing budget. “We were just scrapping things together, drawing coverage from smaller blogs and realized we needed to be more polished and professional to get the results we wanted. It wasn’t long before we realized we needed to invest in an agency with a strong media contact list and who could also craft and pitch stories versus doing it ourselves; so we made hiring an agency a priority and assigned the budget to do it right.”
In 2016, Treefort hired Red Sky for help with media and influencer engagement and content development. Stoll cites Red Sky’s efforts as a key component in helping expand Treefort’s reach to audiences who wouldn’t typically consider attending the festival. “The coverage we’ve received this past year is out-of-the-park incredible, in both quantity and quality, and has taken us to a new level,” remarks Stoll. “The Travel + Leisure and UPROXX articles, which trickled down to other media outlets, have helped put us on the map where we’re now seeing artists, industry folks and press reps commit to Treefort over other festival opportunities — which is a huge boost to ticket sales.”
The growing awareness, combined with the unique vibe nurtured by organizers and embraced by the Boise community, enables both Treefort and the city to explore new ideas, generate additional interest and come together for a week of discovery. It also attracts unique opportunities like having FiveThirtyEight host a live podcast in the historic Egyptian theatre downtown or award-winning directors screen their latest films and then sit down to answer questions with a riveted audience.
While the buzz of the Treefort experience continues to spread far and wide, there is no ignoring the connection it drives for the residents of Boise and the Treasure Valley. On any given night of Treefort, you’ll undoubtedly witness locals (the Red Sky team proudly among them) extolling a particular artist or event with friends, acquaintances or familiar faces as the “two degrees of Boise” (with apologies to Kevin Bacon) play out again and again.
“Watching Treefort grow firsthand has been one of my favorite experiences,” reflects Stoll. “We’re constantly evolving and it’s only going to get better.”
Red Sky is thrilled and honored to help create awareness and coverage for Treefort, and we can’t wait for March to arrive.