Top Shows of 2010: A Category All Their Own

I’ve seen some blogs list individual festival sets as concerts on their top shows roundups. But for me, while festivals are full of great individual performances, it’s hard for me to single out any one set from a festival because part of the glory is that it is just so much music, packed into a short time that you are almost overwhelmed.
So instead, here are the top 3 festivals I went to this year. I can’t compare them to individual sets and I can’t break then apart, so here they are in their own list.

Troika Music Festival, Durham, NC, 11/04-11/06 – From Birds & Arrows set to open the festival to Hammer No More The Fingers set to close the festival, it was just a solidly good time. I didn’t see a bad set all weekend. More than just the music, though, this festival was a celebration of local music scene. Well put together and smoothly run. Full-venues while still feeling very friendly. A+ – will attend again. Highlights: Mosadi Music, Django Haskins doing most of his set completely unplugged & standing on a chair, walking from Minor Stars to Dillon Fence to Onward, Soldiers for a great 1-2-3 punch, Free Electric State, Chatham County Line, Last Year’s Men, Hammer No More The Fingers.

All Tiny Creatures, Pour House, Hopscotch, 09/09/10

Hopscotch Music Festival, Raleigh, NC, 09/09-09/11 – It’s been a couple of months since Hopscotch and my favorite thing about it is that no one I talk to about it has the same highlights. The day parties gave great exposure to local bands and had some of the best sets of the festival. It was perfectly diverse with more than enough space to find new favorites and hear old ones. My highlights. All Tiny Creatures, Lucero, The Beast, Bellafea, Hog, Red Collar, Aquarelle, Balmorhea, Bear in Heaven, Tortoise.

Free Electric State, This Machine Kills Cancer

This Machine Kills Cancer, Durham, NC, 06/19 – The morning of this I had a flat and then had too go to work for 4 hours, but still, with a donut on my back tire, I made it to this show for almost the full day. It was hotter than blazes and it was perfect. I didn’t see a bad set. And it can’t really be summed up by listing highlighted sets. This was a day of music about the power of a strong community. It was glorious.

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