The venues and events that contribute to Idaho’s concert scene

Photo by Taya Power-Thornton

Clink — the Instagram notification pings your phone and it’s just what you have been anticipating. Your favorite musical artist just posted, and it’s an announcement of their upcoming tour. Your eyes vigorously scan the six inch phone screen, but soon roll with frustration that once again “Boise, Idaho” is not one of the cities or dates on the graphic. 

Time after time, residents of the Treasure Valley find themselves frustrated that Boise is not a stop artists tend to make when they embark on their tours. 

From 4A high schools, Boise State University athletics and concert venues spanning from Nampa to Boise proper, the Treasure Valley’s prominence in the event industry is expanding. 

But when will the Treasure Valley become a main hub for mainstream, well-known artists? 

Salt Lake City, Utah (339 miles), Portland, Oregon (430 miles), Seattle, Washtington (493 miles) and Reno, Nevada (422 miles) are cities that are typically the closest stops artists make in accordance to Boise. 

There are a few “bigger” artists that have performed in the Treasure Valley as of late. 

Luke Combs sold out Albertsons Stadium in May of 2023. This was three years after Garth Brooks also sold out The Blue in July of 2019. Other notable artists that have recently come to the area are Boygenius, Kane Brown, LANY, Macklemore, Old Dominion and Shinedown. 

Treefort Music Fest also falls under the discussion of music events within the Treasure Valley. This annual spring festival began in 2012, and is a multi-day music festival hosts artists across all genres, held in multiple venues in downtown Boise. 

Treefort is an impactful event, bringing in a large influx of people and money to Boise.  

Carrie Westgard, Visit Boise executive director, said they estimate Treefort brought in nearly $8 million in travel spending. That money goes toward various stores, attractions and restaurants, according to KTVB

There are three main venues in the Treasure Valley area that hold larger scale concerts: Ford Idaho Center, ExtraMile Arena and Albertsons Stadium. Other supporting venues include The Knitting Factory, Morrison Center, Revolution Hall, Treefort Music Hall and the Idaho Central Arena. 

Ford Idaho Center, located in Nampa, Idaho is an event venue home to many events including the Snake River Stampede, Festival of Trees and Monster Jam. 

“Concerts in particular add a great deal to the community for both tourism and recreation as well as fiscal impact from employment and ticket sales,” Jacalyn Hill, Director of Marketing at Ford Idaho Center said. “From food and beverage and hotel stays – the Ford Idaho Center contributes to both the quality of life in the Treasure Valley and the economy.”

The capacity of Ford Idaho Center fluctuates as there are three different venues on the complex. 

“The Ford Idaho Center Arena has a max capacity of 13,067, but varies regularly depending on the set up,” Hill said. “It depends where and how stages are oriented, if there is a seated floor, etc.”

The Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater has 10,500 capacity and the Ford Idaho Horse Park & Sports Center has 2,500 capacity. 

“We feel that we are ideally located for more and more touring artists to visit us in Nampa and the Treasure Valley,” Hill said. “Located on a popular route from Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Reno to Seattle, Portland, Spokane; it’s a worthwhile stop with incredible music fans.”

Some notable artists hold the attendance records for this venue. 

“Morgan Wallen holds the record for our Amphitheater and Zach Bryan recently set a new Arena record,” Hill said. 

On Boise State University’s own campus, there are several venues for live events and concerts. 

ExtraMile Arena, Albertsons Stadium and the Morrison Center all host music events. 

With a capacity of 1,994, the Morrison Center is a smaller-scale venue. The structure recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, and remains an essential venue to the Treasure Valley. 

Just this fall, the Morrison Center brought Brett Young, another popular country artist, to Boise. 

“There are so many events that have brought large audiences. Our Broadway in Boise series often has sell-out crowds. Most recently, classic rockers Styx and the Beach Boys sold out the venue,” Lynn said. “Besides concerts, we have comedians, Broadway in Boise (touring Broadway), dance, immersive experiences and lectures. The possibilities of what we can have on our stage are endless.”

Albertsons Stadium, home of the iconic blue turf has hosted memorable concerts as previously mentioned, such as Garth Brooks and Luke Combs. With a capacity of 36,387 and expansions in place for the future, Lyle Smith field is undoubtedly a great and unique venue for artists to perform at. 

There are concerns when it comes to protecting the integrity of the iconic blue turf when dealing with the weight of stage equipment and a high volume of foot traffic on the floor. 

A perfect example of an artist currently on tour who would be ideal for the Treasure Valley, is Olivia Rodrigo. Embarking on her GUTS World Tour, the demand for this artist was increasingly high as she gained a massive amount of popularity in recent years. 

Despite not aligning with the country themed artists who are previously mentioned, Rodrigo would easily be able to sell out Ford Idaho Center or Extra Mile arena. With the majority of her fan base consisting of young females, the college town of Boise, Idaho would be a perfect fit for the former High School Musical The Musical The Series star. 

Besides Rodrigo fans, the entirety of Boise State’s student population is another prime aspect for concerts to be held here. The BSU student population, as of fall 2022 is 26,162 students —  according to enrollment data. This age group is a large target audience for current artists on tour. 

With Boise’s popularity growing rapidly, it is only a matter of time for this city to become a main stop for musical artists embarking on tours. 

Some notable concerts in the Boise area within the near future include: Hozier, Tim McGraw, Tyler Childers, Mt. Joy and more.

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