Whole Foods isn't even open yet, and already it is diving headfirst into Boise's music scene on several fronts by partnering with Treefort Music Fest and enlisting Go Listen Boise to book local acts at its taproom every Thursday.
"They're being pretty proactive about trying to integrate with the community," said Treefort artistic director Eric Gilbert.
The chain grocer contacted Gilbert about sponsoring Treefort on some level. Gilbert said he was hesitant at first, because the fledgling festival is working hard to avoid the sorts of corporate sponsorships that have been heavily ridiculed at other large music festivals. The festival has opened up a new page on its website, where Boise residents can donate small amounts of money and have their names or the names of their local businesses displayed on a banner at the Main Stage as sponsors. Whole Foods doesn't quite fit that bill.
But Gilbert said he was won over by conversations with the company and with recommendations from a friend who works with Whole Foods in Boulder, Colo.
The sponsorship consists of Whole Foods donating $1 to Treefort for every person that "likes" the store's Facebook page for its Boise location. Whether the store will be further involved in the festival as a sponsor has yet to be decided.
"I feel good about the decision," said Gilbert. "But I'm interested to see what other people think about it."
Whole Foods will also be featuring a lineup of local musicians playing in its taproom on Thursdays at 7 p.m. Those performances will be booked by local music advocacy hub Go Listen Boise, which said that Whole Foods called them.
"They seem really excited about supporting all of our musicians in town," said Stephanie Coyle, a Go Listen Boise co-founder.
Coyle said the free, all-ages gigs are already booked through December and will continue on into the indefinite future.