Treefort Music Fest, now in its sixth year, is working with Boise State University on a data collection project.
“Since we have been growing this from scratch, we had no means for gathering metrics those first years,” said Cathy Knipe, sponsor liaison for Treefort. “We didn’t know what information to collect or the best way to measure it. Even year-to-year, the things we have looked at have changed.”
The data collection will help Treefort recertify as a benefit corporation, or B Corp.
The festival does know that it had about 15,000 attendees each of the last two years, 14,000 in 2015 and 16,000 in 2016, and more than 20 percent of the festival’s participants came from outside of Idaho.
The number of businesses participating in the festival has grown. In 2015, 70 local businesses took part; in 2016, 140 did.
More than 170 organizations are participating in Treefort this year. More than 100 of
those are sponsors that donated between $500 and $25,000 each, about 30 are hosting events and about 40 are donating food and services. For example, Valley Regional Transit is providing free bus rides to wristband-wearing festival-goers and setting a shuttle route up downtown on Main and Idaho to ease congestion, Knipe said.
Boise State will study the effects of the festival March 22 through 26 to learn exactly how Boise benefits. It will look at the attendance from both local and tourism perspectives and the festival’s impact on downtown Boise businesses, said Marissa Lovell, Treefort spokeswoman.
Treefort is one of several B Corps in Idaho. These businesses are certified by a third party called the B-Lab that requires companies to meet standards in social sustainability and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency in governance.
This story has been edited to show that the Boise State study is also helping Treefort recertify as a B-Corp.