Eight Virginia Music Towns

by Andrew Cothern | Posted: May 4, 2015 | Updated: Jul 11, 2019

Comments: 23 Comments

— RICHMOND —

Virginia’s capital has long been known for its underground punk scene, but in the past decade, the city has blossomed into a city fit for all types of genres. Richmond is the home of shock rock band GWAR as well as acts like No BS! Brass Band, Matthew E. White and hundreds of others. Every night of the week in Richmond, some type of live music is going on – from the major artist coming to The National Theater to the up and coming act playing at small clubs like The Camel or The Broadberry.
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The Camel

The Camel

 

— CHARLOTTESVILLE —

Known as the home of the Dave Matthews Band, Charlottesville is a go-to destination for fans of the indie-rock scene. Numerous venues along the city’s Downtown Mall have live music most nights of the week. Venues like the Jefferson Theater, Paramount Theater and the nTelos Wireless Pavilion bring in the big name acts while places like the Southern Café and Music Hall hosts the bands you haven’t heard of yet – but surely will. Charlottesville is also home to the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena, which is known to host the major superstars from Rolling Stones to Justin Timberlake.
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The Paramount Theater

The Paramount Theater

 

— VIRGINIA BEACH —

Virginia Beach is home to 20,000 seat Farm Bureau Live, which hosts some of the biggest names in the music industry. The amphitheater has played host to many music festivals, including Crüe Fest, Lilith Fair, Lollapalooza, Ozzfest, and Vans Warped Tour. If smaller acts are your thing, check out Beach Street USA, which produces concerts and events at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, or Shaka’s Live, which hosts up and coming acts most nights.
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Neptune's Park Summer Concert

Neptune’s Park Summer Concert

 

— BRISTOL —

Known as “The Birthplace of Country Music,” Bristol was the location of the first country music recordings made for national distribution. Today, country music murals and monuments line Bristol’s State Street. The new Birthplace of Country Music Museum provides a forum for live performances and also features collections of musical instruments and memorabilia from country music legends Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and Tennessee Ernie Ford, born on the Tennessee side of the street! Bristol is a major city along The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.
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Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

 

— GALAX —

A visit to Galax offers everything from quaint downtown shops to hiking and Old Time Bluegrass Music festivals. It is also home to the largest Old Time Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention as well as HoustonFest, which brings in thousands of visitors to listen to old time country and bluegrass music.
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The Rex. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

The Rex. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

 

— FLOYD —

Floyd is home to world-famous live music and is a popular stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The city is home to the famed Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store, with local and visiting musicians creating a wonderful venue for music, food, dancing and more. Every year, the FloydFest music festival brings in thousands of fans from across the state.
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Floydfest

Floydfest

 

— ALEXANDRIA —

Alexandria draws in both locally-known musicians as well as the chart-toppers. The world-famous Birchmere Music Hall has housed top musicians Johnny Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Ray Charles. And the bars up and down King Street in Old Town Alexandria come alive with music acts every weekend. With its proximity to Washington DC, Alexandria brings in crowds of people to experience a great night of music.
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The Birchmere. Courtesy Photo.

The Birchmere. Courtesy Photo.

 

— HARRISONBURG —

Restaurants in Harrisonburg bring a vibrant nightlife scene to the city’s downtown and many host live local music each week. Places like the Artful Dodger, Clementine Café, and the Little Grill Collective give a chance for Virginia artists to make their mark. Major acts will appear at the nearby James Madison University Convocation Center thanks to JMU’s University Program Board.
>> Upcoming Music Events

The Artful Dodger

The Artful Dodger

 

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23 Comments

Check out the great bands that play year round, 2 stages indoor or outdoor:)
Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar
Colonial Beach, Va 22443
http://www.DocksideTikiBar.com
http://www.PlaygroundOnThePotomac.com

Avatar Robert Powers says:

Why wasn’t Fredericksburg mentioned? This town is chock full of local talent that plays all week long. It’s not by accident that they have four music shops that do brisk business. You can’t throw a rock in Fredericksburg or Stafford without hitting a musician.

Everything you said is true except for the venues. We don’t have them. You look at the venues listed for these other cities and F’burg doesn’t have one that’s even close to being equivalent. If you live here, you can find live music, mostly cover bands. Nobody comes to the burg for live music.

Avatar Jim says:

I live near Harrisonburg and certainly love it, but I think Roanoke, Salem, Bristow, Norfolk, Sterling, Abington and Rocky Mount are all superior in terms of their support for the arts in general and music in particular…not taking anything away from the Little Grill and the Golden Pony which both do their best to support “small-time” musicians and groups.

Avatar Rex Norris says:

The Harvester Performance Center , in Rocky Mount, VA has only been open since April 2014, but has hosted over 500 shows, ranging from The Indigo Girls to Gregg Allman, to Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Drive-By Truckers, Gov’t Mule, Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, Charlie Daniels, TOTO, Boz Scaggs, Don McLean, Leftover Salmon, Marshall Tucker Band, and hundreds more, most of them national acts.

Avatar Dave Smith says:

Atta boy Rex!

The Best Music Venue in the Shenandoah Valley by Virginia Living Magazine this year AND we host more live musical performances than all the venues listed in the Harrison burg.

Avatar Charles F Simmons says:

I can’t believe you left out Bristow, VA. Farm Aid was just there two weeks ago.

Avatar Jim says:

No Roanoke VA here? We have the Berglund Coliseum and The Salem Civic Center hosting major National acts. We have The Elm Ave Amphitheatre and The Q also hosting National Acts. In addition numerous smaller venues hosting local, regional and upcoming acts.

Avatar Paul says:

The Golden Pony in Harrisonburg was voted The Best Music Venue in the Shenandoah Valley by Virginia Living Magazine this year AND we host more live musical performances than all the venues listed in the Harrisonburg category of this article combined. Why weren’t we mentioned. I know tourism is aware that we are here.

Avatar Ruth Kennedy says:

Where is The Lincoln in Marion?