To say that the inaugural Belfast Free Range Music Festival was a success would be a major understatement. The 700 passes for the multi-venue event — in hindsight, organizers thought this number could have been larger — sold out on the morning of the show. Festival organizers had to turn away bands that wanted to come play music in a city that doesn’t appear on many touring bands’ itineraries.

Belfast and Waldo County have never been starved for good music, but we’re also not so inundated with choices that we develop exclusive tastes. So when a big music extravaganza comes to town, as happened last Saturday, it’s not so much about who’s playing and whether it’s something we’ve heard of before. It’s just exciting.

The audiences at the festival’s 27 performances — composed of people of all ages and musical persuasions — betrayed this wonderful, wide-eyed outlook, showing up at the venues and taking in whatever was on the bill with enthusiasm.

The festival organizers and musicians rewarded our willingness to listen, offering a weekend’s worth of inspiring and challenging music jammed into a single day. If only we could have seen it all.

Conversations with the organizers suggest that next year’s festival — no one questioned whether there would be another one — will include more venues, more musicians and may stretch beyond a single day. In fact, the first Free Range Music Festival was so successful that it’s easy to make the imaginative leap to a time a few years from now when the latest version of the Free Range Music Festival overruns the city, drawing national attention, like some Western ski town with a film festival.

Whether this would be good or bad remains to be seen, but for years, various zeitgeist-chasing national publications have been practically begging for Belfast to be overexposed — how many times has Belfast been referred to as a “cool” town — and it hasn’t happened yet. Meanwhile, as the Free Range Music Festival reminds us, we have a lot to be proud of.