Treefort 2016: A reflection

By Ana Lete

Published in The Coyote at The College of Idaho

Ahhh Treefort. In years prior, I never attended Treefort because of the cost of the 5 day wristband and my broke college student status. It was nothing more than a festival that made a parking spot hard to find in downtown Boise. However, in late February/early March, I received an email saying that I and my band had been given a spot to play at Treefort. And after attending Treefort this year, and getting so much out of the experience, I plan on attending the music festival annually. Here’s why:

For a musician, there is nothing more inspiring than being surrounded by live music. You leave not only wanting to go home and write more songs, but you get to learn from people who are doing exactly what you want to be doing and who have more experience than you. Over the course of the festival, I not only got to be inspired by bands like Mimicking Birds, Eleanor Murray, Mothers, Your Friend, and Charles Bradley, but I got to see how they sound checked, how they moved on stage, what they said in between songs, and how often they talked on stage. I got to see musicians/bands bring out a certain emotion in me as a Treefort festival-goer and think, “Ok. What did they do to make me feel that way? How did they get the crowd to respond that way?”

On Friday, March 25th, my three piece band, Ana Lete (I know, it’s weird to refer to yourself in the third person. It’s me, but I have a band that includes two other phenomenal musicians. Just go with it.), performed at the Linen Building at 5pm. That day, we got to Boise and checked out the Artist lounge on the top floor of the Owyhee building where Treefort volunteers and staff supplied us with a constant supply of coffee, tea, food, and a full bar. It was so great to not have to worry about finding food on the day that we played, and towards the end of the festival, when I was exhausted and worn out, having a place to sit down and zone out while drinking coffee was greatly appreciated. Honestly, for me, actually playing our set went by very quickly and the whole experience of playing for that 40 minutes was a blur. It was afterwards, when a girl named Lee stopped to talk to me, that I remembered why I love performing live so much. She stopped to say how much she loved our set and wanted us to come to Portland. She even went so far as to email a booker in Portland to try and get us a show there for late April, and while that fell through, I was so moved that she would try that hard to get us a gig in her home town after hearing us play.

What I’m about to say is going to sound super nerdy. Yes, I loved being able to listen to music constantly for 5 days wherever I went in downtown Boise. Yes, I loved playing in Treefort. Yes, I loved hanging out with my band-members/friends, Ashton and Gavin, during the whole festival. But the part of the festival that made me the most excited was sitting in on artist panels titled, “What tastemakers are looking for in 2016” and “Grow Your Audience”. Not only were these panels extremely informative, but I got to talk with each of the panelists and give them a download card and a business card.

I met Zeke Howard (Mimicking Birds Management), Chris Robbins (Post-Hoc Management in NYC, the guys who manage Youth Lagoon), Philip Cosores (Editor for Consequence of Sound), Jared Mees (Tender Loving Empire label in Portland), and Matt Jones (Publicist for Terrorbird Media). While at first it was scary for my introverted-self to go up and introduce myself to them, I was so happy that I did. I went up to each of them and said “I wanted to say thank you for doing these panel discussions. Here’s a download card of my single and a business card.” And that opened up the conversation and allowed me to get to talk about music with them. For instance, Kyle Bylin researches how people consume new music and the latest trends in the music technology. I know. I was fascinated too. When I talked to him, he gave me a list of books I should read about the music business and told me about a book he wrote as well (this one: When I talked to Jared Wees, I asked if I could invite him out to a live show in Portland sometime when I play there, and he gave me his business card and we talked about Typhoon, an artist that used to be on Tender Loving Empire. And lastly, talking with Matt Jones, a publicist from Boise who worked with Terrorbird Media, was so incredible. I mentioned how I had actually emailed his company the week before, and he said that the rest of his team mentioned me and said that I was playing at Treefort. I told him about my dreams of going on tour and making music my career, he said that he would look over my music with his team Monday morning. It’s such a great feeling when you meet someone who is as passionate about what you do as you are. Needless to say, I was blown away by how genuinely nice he was.

After leaving the panel discussion room on the second floor of the Owyhee building, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment for reaching out to all of the panelists and felt excited about the opportunities that might come from the knowledge I gained in that room. In that moment, I was closer to realizing and living the dream than I was a few hours before.


Side note: check out for live videos, photos, a music blog, to join my email list if you want, and to follow me on all facets of social media (Bandsintown (a great app for knowing about live shows in the area), Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Instagram, etc.)

And just a heads up: I will be be performing at a benefit concert with Marshall Poole and others on Saturday, April 23rd on behalf of Mitch Kelley of the Birdstop. On May 7th, I will be performing 2-3 original songs and briefly discussing my songwriting process/influences for the student research conference.