Perfecting a Prodigious Peacock

Treefort Puppet-Tree

Treefort Puppet-Tree

A look back...

In an aging warehouse about a mile west of where Treefort Music Fest was held in Boise, ID, a giant peacock took shape.

Members of the Colossal Collective, a group of Boise artists, designers, fabricators, and dreamers, spent their weekends building an 18-foot-wide, 10-foot-tall peacock prototype – the finished bird was planned to be 36-feet wide and 19-feet tall.

“It’ll be huge,” says lead designer Sam Johnson.

The one-of-a-kind peacock would roam festival venues, delighting and surprising visitors from around the globe during the 5-day, 400-act music and cultural blowout that has grown from a regional festival to a premiere event on the festival circuit in the U.S.

The finished product was made from nylon, PVC pipe, molded plastic, wood, metal, and lights. Software controls the lighting, a sound system belts out peacock calls, and a 6-person crew operates the entire contraption.

Unlike most artwork, the viewer experience of this piece is one of being encountered.

“At its best this art form can put people back into that childlike wonder state,” Sam said.


Like most Treeforters, both of Colossal Collective’s peacocks – the full-size, white Penelopeacock and smaller, blue Henrietta – had quite a busy social calendar throughout the festival.




Penelopeacock performs on the Main Stage with Project FLUX after the George Clinton concert on Friday night at Treefort Music Fest. (Photo courtesy Colossal Collective)

From Kidfort and Band Dialogue, to mural painting and dancing alongside Project FLUX on the Main Stage, Henrietta and Penelopeacock made multiple appearances at multiple venues, surprising and delighting festival-goers along the way.

Penelopeacock makes an appearance at the Band Dialogue event at JUMP Saturday at Treefort Music Fest.

“Those were the best reactions we had – the unexpected encounter,” Sam said. “Just standing in line, waiting for a show, and having the peacock come around the corner, and boom, the tail goes up. It was a pretty fun experience.”

A two-headed Henrietta draws a crowd of kids during Kidfort on Saturday at Treefort Music Fest.

What will be spotted at this year’s Treefort Music Festival?

“They’re just getting started,” Sam said.