For this writer, the story of the year was the city's so-called Promoter Bill, what it threatened to do to the independent music and arts scene, and how independent promoters helped work out a compromise.
Full disclosure: Since 2001, I have hosted events at various venues in town.
The bill was introduced in May by Councilman Bill Greenlee and co-sponsored by Darrell Clarke after a January birthday party for 76ers guard Andre Iguodala at Table 31 in the Comcast Center was oversold by 2,000 tickets, stretching police resources and raising public-safety issues.
But the bill as introduced would have made it difficult for independent promoters to organize events at all kinds of venues, from clubs to theaters to art galleries. It also would have strained police-enforcement resources.
Most venues in town, even if they have an in-house talent booker, will work with an outside promoter to bring in new acts and audiences. If you're a music fan, particularly of the alt scene, you likely were introduced to many of your favorite bands thanks to an independent promoter. That's one way promoters and bands build a following.
The original bill would have effectively shut down that kind of activity here.
In the end, cooler heads prevailed. Notable promoters such as Dancing Ferret's Patrick Rodgers, R5 Productions' Sean Agnew and Johnny Brenda's Brandy Hartley worked with Council on a compromise.
Promoters and venues would not have to notify police unless a venue was turning over security and liquor sales to the promoter, which is more the exception than the rule. Promoters also must maintain a business-privilege license.
In other news, we saw the Khyber say goodbye to live music and transform into a barbecue restaurant with a vibe much like owner Steve Simons' other property, Royal Tavern.
Dobbs returned as the Legendary Dobbs. Though the bleak scene on South Street will present a challenge, it's nice to see one less shuttered storefront there.
Some new bands worth mentioning are the Party Photographers, Far Out Fangtooth, Reading Rainbow, Moon Women, Explosive Head and the Tulanes.
Indie promoters to watch in 2011 include No Wavelength and Alabaster Tongue.