Virginia’s capital has long been known for its underground punk scene, but recently, the city has become a fit for all types of musical genres.
Richmond is home to a diverse local music scene and is filled with musical talent – from both local bands and nationally recognized artists – on any given night.
For the music traveler, Richmond is the place to visit to catch your favorite artists and discover a new favorite at any of its numerous live music venues.
The National historic theater was built in 1923 and was part of a city block once known as Theatre Row. In 1968, it was converted into a cinema, which closed in 1983. Restored and reopened in 2008, The National is now used as a performing arts and music venue and hosts numerous national acts throughout the year.
The Broadberry is Richmond’s mid-sized venue that brings in everything from local Richmond musicians to touring regional acts. The Broadberry’s location has historically been a place for music. In the 1980s, the space was home to Much More and The Cellar Door, which hosted acts such as The Ramones, John Prine and Pat Benatar.
Historic theaters in Richmond, like the Altria Theater and the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center, once hosted famous musicians such as Elvis Presley, Iggy Pop and Diana Ross, and now bring in big name acts throughout the year as well as being the homes for the Richmond Symphony and the Broadway in Richmond theater season.
Other Richmond music venues include:
- The Camel, which hosts all genres of music from punk to bluegrass to electronic.
- The Canal Club, which features metal, hip hop and electronic acts on a weekly basis.
- Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House, the downtown beer destination that hosts indie rock, country, blues and bluegrass artists regularly.
- Gallery5, an art gallery and community space that has regular performances of various genres.
- Cary Street Café, which caters to mostly jam bands.
- Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which hosts a variety of local indie rock and folk artists.
- The Tin Pan, located in Richmond’s West End, is a sit-down dinner atmosphere featuring big national shows along with local and regional talent.
- The Dark Room at the Hofheimer, which hosts a variety of local artists.
- Wonderland and Banditos, which both cater to underground rock, heavy metal, thrash, punk, and more.
- Vagabond, which hosts mostly jazz artists and DJ dance parties.
- Fuzzy Cactus, which hosts a variety of local rock and folk artists.
- Many more of Richmond’s restaurants, breweries and coffeehouses will also hold the occasional live music.
For larger outdoor shows, music lovers in Richmond can head to Virginia Credit Union LIVE! at Richmond Raceway or the Innsbrook After Hours concert series in Richmond’s West End for major arena-level artists. In the summer, Brown’s Island hosts the popular Friday night summer music series Friday Cheers and the Dominion Riverrock Sports and Music Festival.
The Richmond Jazz Festival takes place in August and hosts nationally known jazz, soul, and R&B artists, while the Richmond Folk Festival in October that brings more than 220,000 people to downtown Richmond’s riverfront with a variety of folk and world music, dance, traditional crafts, and food.
Richmond is also home to a thriving underground rock scene with dozens of DIY venues and house shows featuring local bands. You’ll have to ask a local to find these.
And if you’re looking for a a bite to eat or drink after a show, GWAR Bar has you covered. Richmond band GWAR, known for its bloody stage show, irreverent humor and metal/punk music, opened GWAR Bar for the music lover looking for a late night watering hole. The restaurant features plenty of band memorabilia on display and a GWAR-focused menu that features vegan and vegetarian options, along with craft cocktails.
And no music trip would be complete with a visit to one of Richmond’s many independent record shops, including Plan 9, Deep Groove, Steady Sounds, Records & Relics, Vinyl Conflict, 6131 Records, Wax Moon and others.