Discover The Best Brooklyn Live Music Scene Where To Catch The Coolest Gigs

Hello, music lovers! If you’re looking for a vibrant music scene, then Brooklyn is the perfect spot for you. It’s like a melting pot of cultures, and the music here reflects that. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into Brooklyn’s live music scene, explore some of the best venues, and introduce you to some of the local talent. So, if you’re ready to experience the magic of music in Brooklyn, keep reading.

After reading this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of Brooklyn’s live music scene. You’ll discover new artists, learn about the different genres, and get a taste of the unique energy that makes Brooklyn’s music scene so special. We’ll take you on a journey through some of the most influential venues that have shaped Brooklyn’s music landscape, and we’ll give you tips on how to find and experience new music. Our goal is to give you a deep understanding of what Brooklyn has to offer, and to inspire you to explore the local music scene.

If you’re a music lover looking for your next adventure, look no further than Brooklyn’s live music scene. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the tools you need to fully immerse yourself and discover the endless possibilities that await you. We’ll guide you through the best venues, introduce you to the must-see talent, and share some insider tips to create a truly unforgettable experience. Our information is not only proven to work, but it’s guaranteed to leave you feeling inspired and ready to embark on a journey through Brooklyn’s vibrant music scene.

The Best Venues for Brooklyn Live Music

Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs of New York City, is a hotspot for live music. Being a cultural melting pot, the borough is home to a diverse range of music genres. The Brooklyn music scene is as active as ever, with hundreds of concerts happening every week. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, it’s hard not to find a performance that suits your taste. In this article, we will highlight the best venues for Brooklyn live music.

The Music Hall of Williamsburg

Since it opened its doors in 2007, The Music Hall of Williamsburg has become one of the most iconic venues in Brooklyn. Located in the hip Williamsburg neighborhood, the venue has a capacity of 650 and offers state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. The venue caters to a variety of music genres, from indie rock to electronic.

  • Pros:
    • State-of-the-art acoustics
    • Spacious and comfortable interior
    • Wide range of music genres
    • Great sightlines from every angle
  • Cons:
    • Limited seating
    • Can get very crowded
    • Drinks are on the pricey side

The Music Hall of Williamsburg hosts both established and emerging artists. In recent years, notable acts such as Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, and Anderson .Paak have performed at the venue. The music hall’s sound system is one of the best in the city, and its spacious layout ensures that concert-goers can enjoy the show comfortably. The venue also provides an added feature of an excellent outdoor space on the roof deck for live performances during warmer months.

One particular event that draws crowds to The Music Hall is its monthly “Party Like It’s 1999” dance party. The event is a tribute to the late pop icon Prince, which features his music alongside other hits from the ’90s. The party attracts a diverse audience, from hardcore Prince fans to casual club-goers, and is guaranteed to be a blast for anyone looking for a great night out.

Attribute The Music Hall of Williamsburg Other Venues
Capacity 650 Varies
Sound Quality Excellent Varies
Seating Limited Varies
Location Williamsburg Varies
Crowd Size Can get crowded Varies

If you’re a music lover, The Music Hall of Williamsburg is definitely a venue you should check out. With its excellent acoustics and comfortable setting, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.

Exploring the Roots of Brooklyn’s Live Music Scene

As Brooklyn continues to take its place as a hub of culture and creativity, the live music scene has played a significant part in its emergence as a must-visit destination. Brooklyn’s roots in live music are long and varied, spanning multiple decades and different genres. Today, it is home to a diverse music landscape comprised of venues, festivals, and performers.

The Birth of a Scene

Brooklyn’s live music scene emerged in the early 20th century when it was a hub for jazz and blues artists, pulling in performers from across the city and beyond. The borough’s reputation for nurturing talent can be seen in the emergence of legendary jazz musicians like Max Roach, Randy Weston, and Jackie McLean.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Brooklyn saw the rise of folk music, with performers like Bob Dylan making frequent appearances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In this period, the folk scene was blossoming in Greenwich Village, but Brooklyn was a hub for those less well-known artists.

By the late 1970s, Brooklyn’s live music scene had evolved into the punk and new wave era. Artists like Television, Talking Heads, and the Ramones performed at clubs like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City, cementing the borough’s status as a hub for independent, underground music.

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Todays Scene

Today, Brooklyn’s live music scene has evolved into a unique mix of old and new. The borough is home to a diverse array of venues, from small clubs and bars to larger theaters and outdoor spaces that regularly host big-name performers.

The music scene in Brooklyn is marked by its diverse genres, with indie, pop, rock and electronic music dominating the landscape. Significant venues in Brooklyn include the Music Hall of Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Bowl, and the Barclays Center, which hosts major concerts from world-renowned performers like Beyoncé, Prince and Jay-Z.


Brooklyn’s live music venues vary in size and character, from intimate spaces for up-and-coming artists to larger, polished concert halls that can accommodate thousands of guests. Some of Brooklyn’s most famous venues include:

  • The Music Hall of Williamsburg : This 18,000 square-foot space was built in 2007 and features a stage area, bar and VIP area. It is known for hosting indie rock and alternative bands, and has featured performers like Solange Knowles, Spoon and MGMT.
  • Brooklyn Bowl : This venue is both a nightclub and a restaurant, known for its fusion of live music and bowling. The space has hosted performances from everyone from Elvis Costello and The Roots to acts like Grizzly Bear and Janelle Monáe.
  • Elsewhere : This warehouse-style venue has a 675-capacity main hall and a roof terrace with views of the Manhattan skyline. It has quickly become one of the Brooklyn’s most popular venues, hosting numerous house, techno and indie events.


Brooklyn is home to a range of festivals throughout the year, including some that are exclusively devoted to live music performances. Some of the top music festivals in Brooklyn are:

  • Afropunk : Originally created to showcase alternative and punk music from African-American artists, the Afropunk Festival has evolved into a celebration of a wide range of music genres from across the multi-cultural community. This two-day outdoor festival takes place in August and has featured headliners such as Janelle Monáe, The Internet, and The Roots.
  • Northside Festival : This five-day festival is held every June and features performances from local, national and international artists across Brooklyn’s numerous music venues. It is known for its commitment to showcasing emerging talent, and past performers have included Grizzly Bear, The Walkmen, and James Murphy.
  • BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! : With the aim of spotlighting the talent of upcoming, underrepresented groups of performers, this open-air summer festival features a variety of musical styles, as well as contemporary dance, theater and spoken word performances in the Prospect Park Bandshell. Past performers have included Lauryn Hill, the Alabama Shakes, and Beck.


Brooklyn’s live music scene has deep roots and has adapted with the times, emerging as a center for creativity and talent in a continually evolving way. From jazz and blues to indie rock and electronic, Brooklyn has been a vital part of America’s music story. As the borough continues to grow and adapt, it’s clear that the city’s rich music scene will only continue to thrive.

Pros Cons
Brooklyn’s music scene is extremely diverse with musicians from different music styles. Depending on the venue, it may become crowded and uncomfortable for some individuals.
Brooklyn has a prestigious history in music which adds to its greatness Some ticket prices are unaffordable to some community members
There are dedicated festivals in Brooklyn for different types of music which accommodates everyone’s preferences There is a possibility that technical difficulties may occur which can cause performances to not be enjoyable

Exploring Brooklyn’s DIY Music Scene

Brooklyn, New York is an epicenter of the DIY music scene, with a plethora of venues, bars, and bands that span across various music genres. For those looking to experience the underground music scene in Brooklyn, this insider’s guide explores the ins and outs of DIY music in the borough.

The DIY Music Scene in Brooklyn

The DIY music scene in Brooklyn is a community-driven movement, where bands and musicians promote and play their music without the help of mainstream music labels or traditional music venues. The community is built upon a love of music and creativity, with individuals and groups coming together to create a one-of-a-kind music experience.

  • DIY venues
  • House shows
  • Non-profit music organizations

These are just a few examples of the resources that the Brooklyn DIY music scene has to offer.

DIY Venues Pros Cons
Shea Stadium – Affordable rental fees
– Creative freedom
– Has hosted established bands such as Vampire Weekend and Beach Fossils
– Limited capacity
– Can be difficult for bands to get booked
Alphaville – Cozy, intimate atmosphere
– Affordable rental fees
– Has a bar and food menu
– Limited capacity
– Can be difficult for bands to get booked
The Glove – Creative freedom
– Affordable rental fees
– Open to experimental and avant-garde music
– Limited capacity
– Can be difficult for bands to get booked

House Shows

House shows are a staple of the DIY music scene in Brooklyn, where individuals or groups host live music performances in their own homes. These shows offer an intimate and casual setting for musicians and fans alike, with a focus on community-building and supporting local artists.

  • Low-pressure environment
  • Fosters community
  • Creates unique setting for music performances

Non-Profit Music Organizations

Brooklyn is home to several non-profit music organizations that support the DIY music scene. The Brooklyn Arts Council, for example, provides funding and resources for musicians and artists to create and showcase their work.

  • Provides resources for musicians and artists
  • Instrument and equipment rental availability
  • Access to funding and grants


The Brooklyn DIY music scene offers a unique and vibrant community for musicians and music enthusiasts alike. Through DIY venues, house shows, non-profit organizations, and more, there are countless resources available to support and promote local artists. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or simply looking for a new music experience, Brooklyn’s DIY music scene is not to be missed.

The Evolution of Brooklyn’s Live Music Culture

Brooklyn’s live music culture has been evolving rapidly over the years. From the 1970s until now, it’s been a breeding ground for some of the most unique and diverse sounds in the world. In this article, we’ll discuss the evolution of Brooklyn’s live music culture by breaking it down into four subtopics: The Early Years, The Hip-Hop Era, The Indie Movement, and Present Day.

The Early Years

In the early years of Brooklyn’s live music scene, jazz and blues were the dominant genres. Brooklyn’s jazz clubs were popular back in the 1920s, and they continued to thrive throughout the 1950s and 60s. Live music was everything in those days, and people flocked to venues like the Cotton Club, the Blue Note, and the Village Vanguard. Brooklyn was a hub for jazz musicians like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Lester Young.

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In the 1970s, punk rock had a huge influence on Brooklyn’s live music scene. Bands like The Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads all got their start playing at CBGB, a club that was located in Manhattan, but had a major influence on Brooklyn’s music landscape. One of the earliest punk venues in Brooklyn was The Savvy, which opened in 1976. Places like The Savvy were where local musicians could play a variety of genres, including punk, soul, funk, and reggae.

The Hip-Hop Era

The 1980s saw the rise of hip-hop, and Brooklyn was at the center of it all. This genre of music completely revolutionized the way live music was performed and created in the borough. Hip-hop started out as a grassroots movement that gave voice to people who were marginalized in society. It quickly became mainstream, and Brooklyn became a hub for some of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time.

The emergence of hip-hop in Brooklyn is closely tied to the emergence of streetwear fashion. Clothing brands like FUBU and Tommy Hilfiger owe their success to the hip-hop culture that emerged in the 80s and early 90s. The iconic sportswear brand Adidas started out as a niche brand favoured by hip-hop artists and breakdancers, but quickly became a global fashion phenomenon.

The Indie Movement

In the early 2000s, Brooklyn’s live music scene underwent another major transformation. The indie movement emerged and brought with it a new wave of musicians and audiences. Bands like The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio, and Animal Collective all gained attention nationally and eventually, worldwide. Venues like the Warsaw, the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and the Brooklyn Bowl have all become fixtures in the Brooklyn indie music scene.

The indie movement wasn’t just about music, though. It was also about fashion, art and culture. Brooklyn became a center for artistic expression, and these expressive forms often intersected with music. For instance, The Yes Men, a political-activist duo, used their music to address social and political issues. Additionally, Brooklyn street art eventually evolved into a respected art form embraced by galleries all around the world.

Present Day

Present-day Brooklyn’s music scene is a mesh of all of the borough’s past live music genres. Today, you can find a wide array of music genres from hip-hop, to indie, rock, jazz, blues and more being performed all around the borough. Smaller, intimate venues like The Bell House, Union Pool and Littlefield cater to local indie bands, while the Brooklyn Steel and Barclays Center attract major headliners.

Furthermore, Brooklyn has given birth to a litany of music and culture festivals. The Williamsburg Music Festival and Live at the Garden were just the beginning. Nowadays, the borough hosts internationally renowned festivals like the Afropunk Festival, the Northside Festival, and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

Overall, it’s undoubtedly clear that Brooklyn’s live music culture has evolved and grown over the years. It’s been influenced and shaped by a variety of genres, movements and icons throughout history. It’s difficult to predict where it’s headed, but one thing is for certain – Brooklyn’s live music landscape will continue to evolve and inspire new generations of musicians and fans for years to come.

Key Concepts Pros Cons Comparisons
  • Jazz & blues
  • Punk rock
  • Hip-hop
  • Indie
  • Present day
  • Greater choice and variety for music fans
  • Supports local musicians and artists
  • Encourages creative expression
  • Boosts the local economy
  • Noise complaints and traffic disturbances
  • Loss of charm and authenticity
  • Perceived gentrification of certain areas, pricing out locals
  • Issues with alcohol and drugs
  • Live music vs. recorded music
  • Local talent vs. big name artists
  • Intimate venues vs. large stadiums
  • Older vs. new genres and movements

How to Discover Hidden Gems in Brooklyn’s Live Music Scene

Brooklyn is no stranger to the music scene. Home to many legendary venues such as The Music Hall of Williamsburg and The Brooklyn Bowl, the borough has a thriving music scene that has launched the careers of many famous musicians. However, there are always hidden gems and underground music scenes that are waiting to be discovered. In this section, we will explore ways to discover these hidden gems in Brooklyn’s live music scene.

1. Research local venues and events

Do your research! This is the easiest way to discover new music venues and find out about live music events. Keep an eye out for events listings in newspapers, magazines, and online platforms such as Time Out New York and Brooklyn Vegan. Additionally, follow venues and musicians on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, as they often announce their upcoming shows and events.

  • Check out local publications such as Brooklyn Magazine and the Village Voice for music news and reviews.
  • Follow music pages on social media platforms, such as Brooklyn Vegan and Bandsintown, for notifications about upcoming events and news about the music scene.
  • Look up the websites of local venues in Brooklyn, such as The Knitting Factory and Union Pool, for information on their upcoming shows and events.

2. Attend Open Mic Nights

One of the best ways to experience the local music scene is by attending open mic nights. Open mics are a platform for local musicians to showcase their talent and connect with other artists. Open mic nights often take place at bars and small music venues throughout Brooklyn.

  • Attend open mic nights at venues in different neighborhoods to discover new pockets of the music scene.
  • Chat with local musicians and ask them about upcoming events and where they perform regularly.
  • Take the chance to network with other music-lovers and connect with like-minded individuals.

3. Support Local Record Stores

Record stores are often overlooked as a great source for finding new music. Local record stores in Brooklyn not only carry a variety of music genres and artists, but they also often host live in-store performances and events. By supporting local record stores, you can also support the local music scene.

  • Stop by local record stores such as Rough Trade NYC and Academy Records to check out their selection and ask about upcoming in-store performances.
  • Attend in-store performances and events to discover new artists and support local musicians.

4. Attend Music Festivals

Music festivals bring together different musicians and artists from all over the world, and Brooklyn is no exception. Music festivals in Brooklyn not only feature well-known artists, but they also showcase local talent.

  • Attend music festivals such as the Northside Festival and the Afropunk Festival to discover new artists and support the local music scene.
  • Check the festival lineup beforehand and research the artists to discover new music.
  • Explore different stages and venues in the festival to experience the diversity of the music scene.
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5. Join Local Music Communities

Becoming a part of local music communities is a great way to discover new music and connect with other music enthusiasts. Brooklyn has several music communities that cater to different genres and interests.

  • Join online music communities such as Meetup and Reddit to connect with like-minded individuals and discover new music.
  • Attend community events and shows to network with local musicians and music enthusiasts.
  • Support local music communities by sharing their events and shows on social media platforms.
Pros Cons
Discover new music Time-consuming
Support local musicians and venues May involve spending money on event tickets and merchandise
Connect with like-minded individuals May involve leaving one’s comfort zone and trying new things

By following these tips, you can discover hidden gems in Brooklyn’s live music scene and support the local music community. Remember, the music scene is always evolving and changing, so keep exploring and trying new things to discover the next big thing.

FAQs for Brooklyn Live Music

What is the best place for live music in Brooklyn?

Brooklyn has plenty of excellent venues for live music, but the best place depends on your musical taste. For jazz lovers, the Jazz Standard is a must-visit, while for those into indie rock, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Brooklyn Steel are great options.

What are some upcoming live music events in Brooklyn?

There are always live music events happening in Brooklyn, but some upcoming ones to look out for include the Brooklyn Music Film Festival, Northside Festival, and AfroPunk.

Can I find free live music in Brooklyn?

Yes, you can find free live music in Brooklyn. Numerous venues have free shows, including Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn Bowl, and Union Pool. Additionally, they often host free outdoor concerts around the borough during the summer.

Are there any 21+ live music venues in Brooklyn?

Yes, there are 21+ live music venues in Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Bowl and The Bell House. Please note that you must present a valid photo ID proving you are 21 or older to enter.

What is the dress code for live music events in Brooklyn?

The dress code for live music events entirely depends on the venue and the event. Some places require more formal attire, while others are more casual. Typically, you can wear what makes you feel comfortable and relaxed.

Is there seating at live music events in Brooklyn?

It depends on the venue. Some live music venues have seating, while others are standing room only. If a seated event is essential to you, double-check before purchasing tickets.

Do live music performers vary by the day or time of the week?

Yes, the selection of live music performers varies by the day and time of the week. Some venues host live music events daily, while others may only have live music on weekends.

What is the average cost of live music events in Brooklyn?

The cost of live music events in Brooklyn depends on the venue, performer, and popularity. Tickets can range from free to over $100. If you’re on a tight budget, check out free shows, or see a lesser-known artist perform.

Are live music events in Brooklyn accessible to persons with disabilities?

Yes, many live music events in Brooklyn are accessible to persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires venues to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. Contact the venue in advance to inquire about accessibility and request assistance if needed.

Can I bring my children to live music events in Brooklyn?

It depends on the venue’s age policy. Some venues allow all ages, while others are 21 and over. If you plan to bring your children, double-check the age policy before purchasing tickets.


Brooklyn is an excellent destination for music lovers, with a wide range of live music events happening throughout the year. From free outdoor concerts to top-tier performances at popular venues, there’s something for everyone in Brooklyn. This diverse array of live music allows visitors to experience a variety of genres and styles. After reading this article, visitors should check out some of Brooklyn’s famous venues, such as Music Hall of Williamsburg or Brooklyn Steel, and attend upcoming events such as the Brooklyn Music Film Festival or Northside Festival. Say goodbye to end the article by inviting readers to check out other interesting places in Brooklyn, such as Brooklyn Botanic Garden or Prospect Park.