Treefort branches out: At Hackfort, tech talk is music to the ears

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Treefort Music Fest is branching out this year, expanding into the realm of technology.

A spin-off, called Hackfort, is bringing bright minds together to talk about technology and education in Idaho. The technology festival is part of an effort to get more people interested in Idaho's growing technology culture.

"I was looking at Treefort I was actually going to take a girl on a date but she bailed on me, and I randomly stumbled into Hackfort" Nampa resident Brighton Chandler said.

Chandler ended up at a Hackfort seminar. Not exactly a date setting, but he said conversations at the presentation still got him thinking about his future.

"These seminars are so important because honestly that's where most of the jobs are going to be," Chandler said. "That's where most of the money is going to be made."

At Hackfort, discussion about tech culture in Boise is music to the ears.

"Nerds rule the world now," Boise resident Andrew Chason said. "Everything is powered by technology, from your bank account to your car. There's a drought of people, students who are interested in this and I think it is a cultural shift that needs to happen."

It's young people like Chandler, who leaders say they're trying to encourage to take up careers in science, technology, math and engineering (or STEM).

"It's important to the economy of Idaho to have these STEM educated people, these high tech workers," Hackfort panel speaker and president of Idaho Business for Education Ron Gramer said. "High tech workers earn good wages, these are good jobs. We want more high tech in Idaho because it will help our economy."

People at Hackfort say they also want to help create a more welcoming high-tech culture.

"The question is, how do we create a culture of geekiness, of nerds, of getting more females interested in STEM?" Chason asked. "That's what I'm passionate about is taking this, and creating a Treasure Valley culture of geekery."

If you want to sit in on a Hackfort seminar on Saturday, click here for the schedule, times and locations.