Did you know that there is this awesome community of Tango Dancers in Boise Idaho? Did you also know that there is this little festival that takes place in Boise Idaho called Tree City Tango? Well you know now if not before, and there is good reason to know about it, and that is because it’s pretty amazing.
The name is derived from the city, which is called the City of Trees. The name has a bit of a history to it, so if you want to know more, a little searching online can find you many more resources about the history and the lengths it took to reflect the name. Outside of the name, one thing that Tree City Tango has going for it, it’s being run with a very active community in Boise.
Tango Boise Inc, a non-profit has some incredible people involved with it, including Tommy Smith and Christian Wheelihan. Some of the most inviting people to know and friendly dancers who are happy to make your acquaintance and get a dance or two with you (granted they aren’t in the middle of managing the festival). Not just them, but a majority of those in the local community all really chip and and brighten up the whole festival.
The second year of this Festival, and even in the little lull that Tango seems to be having across the states, this Festival really brings a lot. In terms of size, it’s not very large, capped at 120 people, role balanced, and the dance space does make it quite intimate. Some great teachers and activities, fun music, and lucky encounters made things exciting.
Ochos – The Venue
Ochos, the festival venue of choice this year, is just about the standard most places would love to hit. Having a wonderful atmosphere, great decor, a bar downstairs, with an amazing floor and acoustics upstairs, the space has just about everything. The size of the dance floor is a little more compact for the number of people the festival brings, and I think the charm of the downstairs area could be improved. It’s a great space, don’t get me wrong, but the space was indeed still being worked on. There is an outdoor seating area that was still under construction, which with some speakers, could really add to the appeal.
From what I’ve seen of the construction process, things can only get better from here on out. They have the lighting options both upstairs and downstairs on point, the AC was indeed working well, although a few spots on the dance floor felt like you were in a blizzard for those moments you’re dancing underneath it. It feels so comfy, a place I’d love to get some wine downstairs, and head upstairs to dance multiple nights a week!
The downstairs is the only spot I could really see as needing some additional work, which while still being under construction, and the bar being open for the first time just for the festival, made for a great opening, if just a little rough. Tyler Haas was there with his jewelry, selling it right downstairs, which was a perfect accent to this festival and is something that really brings out the elegance of Tango. I look forward to seeing him at even more venues and festivals. Jennifer Olsen was there as well selling her collection of shoes, you’ll see her at a majority of festivals on the west coast, and she has pretty much something for everyone. If you can’t find your right style, but know your fit/brand, she’s happy to get them ordered for you!
The run down…
This festival can only getting better from here on out. For just it’s second year, this festival I can see being a hidden gem, but hopefully not very hidden anymore. I was brought in to do photography at this festival, and I wish I could have spent more time on the dance floor instead of behind the camera. The DJ line up was above board compared to even the bigger festivals, it kept the traditional feelings we’re used to at festivals and milongas, but the energy really did stay there almost the whole time (except one DJs ending didn’t really transition well into the late night DJs set who brought the energy back).
The city has a lot to offer nearby, the gracious hosts, the availability to get yourself around, the people who totally invite you to join them to food/activities outside of tango, the classes and environment, and some fantastic weather brought this festival swinging way higher than weights class.
If you haven’t been to Boise, it is indeed a spot you should visit. Be it for the festival or not, there is some good dancing to be had! I’ve known a majority of those in that community because they also frequent other festivals, and it’s not unusual to see a group of them at other festivals. A shout out to all involved and those who attended, a great time, and a completely unforgettable last alternative tanda.