The monoculture is over. Niches rule. All hail the long tail!

The monoculture is over. Niches rule. All hail the long tail!

In our customizable society, we cut out what we don't like and bask in what we do. We are walking Facebook feeds, our entertainment consumption painstakingly tweaked without patience for that which does not stimulate.

Perhaps that's why the city's newer one-day festivals - Independents' Day, Parking Lot Blowout, Summer Jam 614 - seem more appealing than the overstuffed behemoth ComFest has become. These events are fine-tuned for a narrower audience, and they satisfy their target demo.

On the other hand, ComFest's target demo is everybody with an interest in local music. And it's impossible to please us all.

Yet ComFest is in the unique position to try. People bitch about the crowds, the bands and the beer prices, but they still show up. With six stages going strong for three days straight, the entertainment committee has a fighting chance to showcase real diversity, right?

No such luck. Our city's music scene is sprawling and vibrant, with countless overlapping cliques making memorable music. Only a handful were represented.

Columbus acts have released more than enough strong records in 2011 to build a mid-year Top 10 list that compares favorably with a national roundup. The artists responsible for most of these albums - Blueprint, Psychedelic Horseshit, Fly.Union, Times New Viking, The Black Swans, Dolfish, The Lindsay, Monster Rally, Tin Armor, J. Rawls, The DewDroppers, Burglar, Stalley and Rashad, Lo-Pan, Survivalist, This Is My Suitcase, Freaky Franz - did not play.

Some of these acts probably didn't apply, and a few are on tour. Fair enough. Instead, though, we got a heavy helping of Americana (a flourishing community, no doubt), also-rans and aging rockers long past their moment of making this city magical night in and night out.

Rappers, DJs, mall-punks, regular punks, metalheads and indie-rockers were in short supply.

It's not like ComFest was devoid of quality. The Ferals slayed. Way Yes threw a transcendent dance party. Bicentennial Bear blasted off. The Floorwalkers again proved their elite status. I dug Wing & Tusk, Maza Blaska and Old Hundred, and I enjoyed my introduction to Descendre, Rees Finley Band and Righteous Buck & the Skull Scorchers. I missed other greats.

Still, I can't help but dream of an event that provides a complete portrait of this city's vast scene.