• A comeback for festivals. Success! After a rough couple years for Central Oregon's music festivals, 2010 saw the second edition of La Pine's Jade's Jazz Festival, the revival of the jam-band-friendly 4 Peaks Music Festival (after much last-second scrambling to secure a sitee), and the continued strength of the wonderful Sisters Folk Festival and High & Dry Bluegrass Festival.
And, in what should be a big relief to local music fans, the Bend Roots Revival found what appears to be a perfect fit and a forever home at the new Century Center behind the old Brightwood Mill on Century Drive.
Add in a couple of upstarts — the rap- and metal-focused Phuket Phest near La Pine and the West Wind Ranch Americana fest near Sisters — and you have a pretty solid year on the local festival circuit.
• Make use of the stages. So-so success. The wildly up and down world of music venues is always a mixed bag, and 2010 was no different. The big success was Century Center, a large new venue on Bend's west side that hosted the Bend Roots Revival, Talib Kweli, and a few benefit shows. A more qualified success happened at Boondocks Bar & Grill downtown, where the Last Band Standing competition drew hundreds of people to see live, local music over several weeks. Beyond LBS, though, Boondocks' viable stage stayed mostly quiet. Still, it's better than nothing.
Elsewhere, The Annex remained sorely underused, and the schedule at Players Bar & Grill slowed to a crawl. The Summit Saloon and PoetHouse Art hosted small shows, but not often enough. All four of those venues are great for local and small to mid-sized touring bands, and I wish they'd book more music.
On the other hand, the Tower Theatre was busier (and louder) than ever, thanks to assertive bookings and the new PDXchange Program series. And things are looking up at the former Old Mill Martini Bar, which will host Larry and His Flask on New Year's Eve and a couple of Seattle's best hip-hop groups in early January.
• Cancel the cancellations. Success! In 2009, several decent-sized names canceled gigs in Bend at the last minute, a trend that didn't really continue in 2010. There was a flurry of advertised gigs that never happened early in the year at Mountain's Edge, and Portland metal band Red Fang had to bail on a scheduled performance at the Domino Room in October, but that was two days after they crashed their tour van, so we'll cut ‘em some slack.
• Records and radio. My wish every year is for the continued health of Ranch Records and Bend's community radio station, KPOV, because I believe a strong music scene needs at least one independent record store and radio outlet. Both entities still exist, so we'll count that as a success. Remember to do your part, folks. Support the things you want in this town, or they will go away.
• Finish those albums! Last year, I called on nine local artists who I knew were working on albums to wrap ‘em up and get ‘em out, if possible. Tuck and Roll, Mosley Wotta, Sara Jackson-Holman and Cloaked Characters did just that. As for the rest of those artists, here's hoping you find the time and money to get those projects done in 2011. I think I speak for a bunch of people when I say I'd love to hear them.
And with that, I'll turn my attention to 2011, and what I think needs to happen for the local music scene to continue to grow next year. Look for that in next week's GO! Magazine.