Cincinnati Live Music Scene Discover The Best Venues And Up And Coming Artists

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Hey there music enthusiasts! How has your weekly music search been going on? Are you tired of the same old music routine? Well, we got you covered! In this article, we’re going to delve into the heart of Cincinnati’s local live music scene. Yes, you heard that right! Live, energetic music created and showcased by the people in your own backyard. Here in Cincinnati, there’s a thriving music scene that’s waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a lover of jazz, pop, rock, or country music, Cincinnati has something to offer for everyone.

By reading this article, you’ll get a sneak peek into what Cincinnati’s live music scene has in store for you. You’ll learn about exciting venues that play host to some of the best musicians and bands in the region. You’ll also discover the best places in town to catch live music performances that will keep you entertained all night long. Plus, we’ll share some tips on how to enjoy live music to the fullest and make the most of your experience

So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to immerse yourself in the electrifying world of Cincinnati’s local live music scene. Trust us, we guarantee you won’t regret it! In this article, we’ve researched thoroughly and have gathered enough information to give you a comprehensive guide on how to enjoy the best live music performances that Cincinnati has to offer. You’ll discover what makes Cincinnati’s music scene so vibrant and unique, and how it can enrich your life. Are you ready? Let’s explore Cincinnati’s local live music scene together!

The Best Live Music Venues in Cincinnati

If you are an avid music lover and happen to be in Cincinnati, Ohio, then you’re in luck because this city offers plenty of live music venues that cater to all musical tastes. From blues and jazz to rock and roll and country, Cincinnati has it all. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best live music venues in Cincinnati, what makes them unique, and what makes them stand out from the rest.

Location Matters: Venues Near Popular Cincinnati Neighborhoods

One of the most critical factors to consider when choosing a live music venue is its location. Hence, it is no surprise that many of Cincinnati’s best live music venues are located in popular neighborhoods, making it easy for music lovers to experience local culture and entertainment. The following are some of the best live music venues in the Cincinnati area that are located near popular neighborhoods:

  • Memorial Hall: Located in the heart of Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Memorial Hall is a beautifully renovated 1908 historic venue that hosts a variety of musical genres, from jazz to classical music, to contemporary and unique performances. If you’re looking for a live music venue that captures the essence of Cincinnati’s cultural heritage, then Memorial Hall is the place to be.
  • Bogart’s: If you’re a rock music fan, then you’ve probably heard of Bogart’s in Clifton Heights. Bogart’s is one of the most famous live music venues in Cincinnati, having hosted some of the biggest names in rock music over the years, such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • The Woodward Theater: If you’re looking for a venue that offers a more intimate vibe, then The Woodward Theater in the cool, eclectic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is the perfect option. Its art-deco-inspired interior and intimate setting provide the perfect ambience for live music lovers to enjoy concerts by emerging and established artists.
  • The Southgate House Revival: The Southgate House Revival located in Newport, KY, provides a unique and eclectic atmosphere for live music. It’s a converted mansion and church complex with multiple stages, including a restored chapel, tavern, and outdoor patio, making it an ideal spot for concerts of various genres, from folk to blues and everything in between.

Size Matters: Venues for Every Crowd Size

The size of a venue can significantly impact the experience of a live music performance. Small and intimate venues can offer an up-close and personal experience with the musicians, while larger venues can provide a more enthralling and captivating atmosphere for a large crowd. Here are some of the best live music venues in Cincinnati that cater to different crowd sizes:

  • The Ballroom at Taft Theatre: The Ballroom at Taft Theatre is a stunning 1928 historic venue that offers both intimate and grand concert experiences. The ballroom can accommodate up to 500 guests, making it the ideal place for more intimate live music shows.
  • Riverbend Music Center: For those looking for big-name acts, Riverbend Music Center is a perfect venue. Located just 16 miles east of Cincinnati in the community of Anderson Township, Ohio, Riverbend is an outdoor amphitheater that can accommodate around 20,500 guests, making it the largest concert venue in the Cincinnati area.
  • The Madison Theater: The Madison Theater located in the popular Covington, KY, neighborhood, the Madison is a 1000-capacity concert venue that hosts both local and national acts.
  • Northside Tavern: If you’re looking for a small, relaxed venue that specializes in local artists, then Northside Tavern in the popular Northside neighborhood is the right venue for you. It’s a local dive bar that hosts live music shows, trivia nights, and comedy events.

The Best Value: Venues with Affordable Ticket Prices

With live music venues cropping up all over Cincinnati, it’s easy to find a place to catch a live performance. However, ticket prices can sometimes be a bit steep, which can keep music enthusiasts from experiencing a great show. Here are some favorite spots that won’t break the bank:

  • MOTR Pub: If you’re looking for a great live show on a budget, MOTR Pub is the spot for you. Located in the heart of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, MOTR Pub curates an eclectic lineup of performers and has no cover charges at the door, making it a favorite spot for locals and tourists.
  • The Comet: If you’re looking for a live music venue with affordable food, drinks, and free live music shows seven nights a week, then The Comet in Northside is the perfect choice. It’s a low-key hangout spot that features healthy food options and almost nightly live music.
  • The Drinkery: The Drinkery located in the vibrant Main Street strip in Over-the-Rhine is another value venue on this list. It’s designed to look like a 1920’s speakeasy with a modern twist, offering live alternative rock, blues, and indie acts with no cover charge.
  • Stanley’s Pub: If you’re on a budget, Stanley’s Pub is another great option. It’s a music venue and bar that offers a variety of local and national acts with affordable ticket prices, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank.
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In Conclusion, Cincinnati is a city with a rich musical history and a thriving music scene. From large outdoor amphitheaters to small intimate venues, this city offers something for everyone. Using this guide, music lovers can explore some of the best live music venues in the city based on location, size, and value, to discover new bands and artists while enjoying a night out.

Exploring Cincinnati’s Live Music Scene

Cincinnati’s bustling music scene is made up of a variety of genres, from blues and jazz to country and rock. If you’re looking for a night out filled with live music, here’s a guide to finding the best spots to catch a show.

1. Local Venues Galore

Cincinnati boasts a vast variety of venues that host local and touring bands alike. Each offer a unique experience, from intimate bars to amphitheaters. Here are some of the top venues to check out:

  • MOTR Pub: This intimate, laid-back bar hosts a variety of local and touring acts, often with no cover charge.
  • The Woodward Theater: Built in 1913, this historic theater hosts a range of acts, from up-and-coming bands to seasoned professionals.
  • Riverbend Music Center: Located on the banks of the Ohio River, this outdoor amphitheater offers stunning views and a capacity of up to 20,000 people.
  • The Southgate House Revival: Housed in a historic church in Newport, Kentucky, this venue hosts a variety of acts, from rock and country to bluegrass and Americana.

Each venue offers something unique, whether it be the intimacy of MOTR Pub or the grandeur of Riverbend Music Center.

2. Festivals Galore

In addition to local venues, Cincinnati hosts numerous music festivals throughout the year. Here are a few of the most popular:

  1. Bunbury Music Festival: Held annually in June, this festival features over 50 acts across multiple stages. Past headliners include The Killers, Jack White, and Post Malone.
  2. MidPoint Music Festival: This three-day festival, held in September, showcases indie rock and alternative acts across multiple venues in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
  3. Cincinnati Music Festival: Held annually in July, this festival is one of the largest R&B and soul music festivals in the country, with past headliners including Mary J. Blige and Maxwell.

Each festival offers attendees the chance to experience multiple bands and genres in a lively and engaging setting.

3. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

For those looking to experience the beauty of classical music, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra offers a wide variety of performances throughout the year. Founded in 1895, the orchestra has established itself as one of the premier orchestras in the country.

Pros Cons Comparison
Offers a range of classical music performances throughout the year. Can be expensive to purchase tickets. Provides a unique, immersive experience for those interested in classical music.

Whether you’re a seasoned classical music enthusiast or simply looking to experience something new, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra offers a range of performances to suit all interests.

4. Underground Spotlight

While larger venues and festivals may get most of the attention, Cincinnati’s underground music scene offers a wealth of talent waiting to be discovered. Here are a few of the top underground spots to explore:

  • The Comet: This laid-back bar features a variety of underground acts, often with no cover charge.
  • Northside Tavern: This neighborhood dive bar hosts a range of local acts, with a focus on country and rock music.
  • Urban Artifact: Located in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood, this brewery and music venue features a variety of indie rock and experimental acts.

Attending shows at these smaller venues not only supports local artists, but also provides a unique and intimate experience.

In conclusion, Cincinnati’s live music scene is rich and varied, boasting a range of venues, festivals, and genres. Whether you prefer underground shows, classical performances, or larger festivals, there is something for everyone in this music-loving city.

Subsection 3: Famous Cincinnati Music Venues and Festivals

Cincinnati is home to several impressive music venues that play host to a variety of live music events throughout the year. In this section, we will explore some of the most famous Cincinnati music venues and festivals that contribute to the vibrant music scene of the city.

Cincinnati Music Hall

Cincinnati Music Hall is a historic landmark that has been home to the city’s music events for over 140 years. Built in 1878, it was designed to be a grand spectacle and has continued to be just that. It is the permanent residency of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and is considered one of the top ten concert halls in the world for acoustics. The venue hosts a variety of music shows, from classical to contemporary, and also houses the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

Some interesting facts about the Cincinnati Music Hall:

– The Music Hall has two performance spaces, the Main Hall and Springer Auditorium.
– The Music Hall is an official National Historic Landmark.
– Famous musicians such as Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd have all performed at the venue.


Located in the Queen City neighborhood of Corryville, Bogart’s is a popular music venue that can house about 1,500 attendees. It was once a movie theater, and in 1980, it was renovated to be a concert hall. Bogart’s has seen countless acts of all genres over the years, including Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U2. It is considered one of the most influential independent concert halls in the country.

Some interesting facts about Bogart’s:

– Bogart’s was founded in 1975 and was originally called the “Bogart’s Country Club”.
– The building that houses Bogart’s has a rich history as a repertory theater, a supper club, and a movie theater, going back to 1905.
– When the Red Hot Chili Peppers played at Bogart’s in 1985, lead singer Anthony Kiedis got into an altercation with members of the audience.

Bunbury Music Festival

One of the most significant music festivals in Cincinnati, Bunbury Music Festival, attracts music lovers from all over the country. The event takes place annually in Cincinnati at the Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman’s Cove, overlooking the scenic Ohio River. Every year, the festival brings together more than 60 artists across multiple genres, including alternative, rock, and indie music.

Some interesting facts about Bunbury Music Festival:

– The festival was named after the character “Papillion,” who famously escaped from prison several times in the Cincinnati area in the 1970s.
– The festival started in 2012 and has quickly become one of the biggest and most anticipated music events in the Midwest.
– In 2018, Jack White, The Chainsmokers, and Blink-182 headlined the festival.

Cincinnati Jazz Fest

The Cincinnati Jazz Fest is an annual music festival held in Cincinnati’s scenic downtown. The festival has been a popular destination for jazz enthusiasts from around the world since 1962. It is a three-day event usually held in the last week of June or the first week of July. Some of the best names in jazz music, such as Wynton Marsalis, have performed at the festival.

Some interesting facts about the Cincinnati Jazz Fest:

– The festival has become one of the most significant jazz events in the country, attracting artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and BB King.
– Cincinnati was the birthplace of King Records, which is known for being a major influence on jazz and R&B music in the 40s and 50s.
– The festival has grown to be one of the most popular attractions in the city, drawing in thousands of visitors each year.

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Comparison Table: Cincinnati Live Music Venues

Venue Capacity Established Notable Performances
Cincinnati Music Hall 2,500 1878 Neil Young, Pink Floyd, The Who
Bogart’s 1,500 1980 U2, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Madison Theater 2,500 1913 The Avett Brothers, Warren Zevon, Belle and Sebastian
The Southgate House Revival 400 1814 Tom Waits, Bootsy Collins, Sublime
  • The Cincinnati Music Hall is one of the world’s top concert halls
  • The Southgate House Revival is a historic landmark.
  • The Madison Theater is known for hosting bands and artists from diverse genres

In conclusion, Cincinnati is an essential part of the live music scene in the Midwest. From legendary music halls such as Cincinnati Music Hall to famous festivals like Bunbury Music Festival, the city is an exciting destination for both residents and visitors. With a rich history of music and entertainment, Cincinnati will continue to be a hub for live music events for years to come.

Enjoying Cincinnati’s Live Music Scene on a Budget

Cincinnati has a vibrant live music scene, but enjoying it doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little planning and creativity, you can experience the city’s rich musical culture without spending a fortune. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, country, or hip hop, there are affordable options for everyone. In this article, we’ll share some tips for enjoying Cincinnati’s live music scene on a budget, including finding free shows, checking out local venues, and taking advantage of special discounts.

1. Finding Free Shows

Who said you have to pay to enjoy live music? There are plenty of free concerts and shows in Cincinnati, you just need to know where to look. Here are some ways to find free live music events:

  • Check out local calendars: Many websites have local event calendars that feature free live music shows. Examples include,, and
  • Look for outdoor events: During the summer months, many parks in Cincinnati hold free outdoor concerts. Some popular venues include Washington Park, Devou Park, and Smale Riverfront Park.
  • Visit local bars and restaurants: Some bars and restaurants offer free live music events as a way to attract customers. Check out places like The Comet, MOTR, and Arnold’s Bar and Grill.
  • Join Facebook groups: Many local musicians and music fans use Facebook groups to share information about upcoming shows, including free events. Search for groups like Cincinnati Live Music Fans and Cincinnati Music Scene.

2. Checking Out Local Venues

If you’re willing to spend a little money, there are plenty of local venues that offer affordable live music shows. Here are some of our favorites:

  • The Southgate House Revival: Located in Newport, Kentucky, the Southgate House Revival hosts a variety of local and national acts. Prices range from $5-$20, depending on the artist and day of the week.
  • Madison Live!: This Covington venue hosts a variety of genres, including rock, country, and hip hop. Tickets usually range from $10-$15.
  • Taft Theatre: While the Taft may be known for hosting big name acts, there are also plenty of affordable options for local musicians. Check their website for a calendar of upcoming shows.

3. Taking Advantage of Special Discounts

There are plenty of ways to save money on live music shows in Cincinnati. Here are some options:

  • Student Discounts: Many venues and events offer discounts for students, so be sure to bring your student ID with you.
  • Membership Discounts: Some local music organizations offer discounts for members. Check out Music Resource Center or the Cincinnati Music Accelerator.
  • Happy Hour Shows: Many bars and restaurants offer live music during happy hour, and some even offer a discount on drinks during the performance.

4. Comparing Prices and Benefits

When it comes to live music shows in Cincinnati, there are many options to choose from. It’s important to compare prices and benefits to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Here are some things to consider when comparing live music shows:

Pros Cons Price Range
Large Venues -Big Name Acts
-Lots of seating and space
-Can be pricey
-May not have a true “local” feel
Small Venues -Intimate setting
-May feature up-and-coming acts
-Limited seating or standing room only $5-$25
Outdoor Events -Beautiful scenery
-Many free options
-Weather dependent
-May not have seating
  • Do you prefer a large venue with big name acts or a small, intimate setting with local up-and-comers?
  • What is your budget for a live music show, and how much are you willing to spend?
  • Do you prefer outdoor events or indoor shows?
  • What are the reviews of the venue or event?

Finally, it’s important to remember that enjoying Cincinnati’s live music scene on a budget is all about having fun and being creative. With so many free and affordable options available, there’s no reason not to explore the city’s musical culture. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to experience everything Cincinnati has to offer.

Why Cincinnati’s Live Music Scene is a Must-See for Music Enthusiasts

Cincinnati, Ohio may not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking of a bustling live music scene, but it certainly should be. The city is home to a variety of genres, from indie and alternative to jazz and blues. With its unique musical atmosphere, both locals and visitors can enjoy the sounds of Cincinnati’s live music scene year-round. Here are five reasons why Cincinnati’s live music scene is a must-see for music enthusiasts.

1. Diversity of Genres

One of the most significant advantages of the Cincinnati music scene is its vast array of genres. Regardless of your musical tastes, there is sure to be something in Cincinnati that speaks to you. The city has a strong tradition of jazz and blues music, with many local venues featuring live performances of these genres. In addition, indie music lovers can catch performances at iconic venues such as the 20th Century Theater, and the Woodward Theater.

Jazz and Blues

Cincinnati’s jazz and blues tradition dates back to the 1920s, when the city was home to thriving music clubs such as The Cotton Club, The Golden Nugget, and The Savoy. Today, these genres are still alive and kicking, with local talent playing at venues such as The Greenwich in Walnut Hills, Schwartz’s Point Jazz & Acoustic Club in Over-The-Rhine, and the Blue Wisp Jazz Club downtown. Visitors can also attend the Cincinnati Music Festival, which features legendary jazz and R&B artists.

Indie Music

Cincinnati’s alternative scene is just as noteworthy. The city has been home to several notable indie musicians, including The National, Walk the Moon, and Afghan Whigs. Fans can catch performances at venues like the Taft Theatre, Bogart’s, and Riverfront Live. In addition, popular music festivals like Midpoint Music Festival and Bunbury Music Festival feature an eclectic mix of indie, pop, and rock acts.

2. Vibrant Music Venues

Cincinnati is home to several prominent music venues that attract national and international acts. These venues not only offer a great music experience but also are aesthetically pleasing, adding to the overall atmosphere of the city.

The Taft Theatre

Built in 1928, The Taft Theatre is a National Historic Landmark and one of Cincinnati’s most iconic music venues. The Taft has hosted some of the biggest names in music, from Ray Charles and Diana Ross to Wilco and Amos Lee. With its beautifully restored art deco style and state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, attending a show at the Taft is a must-do for music lovers in Cincinnati.

Live at the Ludlow Garage

Live at the Ludlow Garage is a beloved Cincinnati venue that opened in the late 1960s. It quickly became a hub for counterculture music, hosting such legendary artists as The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. The venue closed in the 1970s, but was revived in 2015, and today continues to host blues, jazz, and rock acts.

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3. Map of Music History

Cincinnati has a rich musical history that music enthusiasts can explore by following a unique “map” of the city. It’s called the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation’s Cincinnati Music Trail, which guides visitors to a variety of sites and venues that have shaped Cincinnati’s musical landscape.

Cincinnati Music Hall

Cincinnati Music Hall is one of the highlight locations on the Music Trail. Built in 1878, the hall is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and has hosted many other performances over the years, from operas to pop concerts. The hall is also a registered National Historic Landmark.

Nati Notes interactive exhibit

Another stop on the trail is the Nati Notes interactive exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. It celebrates the musical heritage of Cincinnati while showcasing local talent, including King Records artists.

4. Local Talent

One of the biggest draws of Cincinnati’s music scene is the abundance of local talent. The city has a thriving music community, with talented artists in a variety of genres. This has led to a strong emphasis on supporting local music, with many venues and festivals featuring a mix of local and national acts.


The Over-The-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati is a particularly lively spot for local music. This historic district features several music venues and clubs, including MOTR Pub, The Woodward Theater, and Revel OTR Urban Winery. These venues host a mix of local and national acts in genres ranging from punk to indie.

Taste of Cincinnati Musical Entertainment Stage

The Taste of Cincinnati Music Festival is one of the largest food festivals in the country, drawing over 500,000 visitors each year. What many visitors may not know is that the festival also features a musical entertainment stage, which showcases a mix of local talent alongside national acts.

5. Accessibility and Affordability

Unlike some cities with booming music scenes, Cincinnati’s music venues are generally affordable and accessible. This means that music lovers can attend concerts without breaking the bank or traveling long distances.

The Woodward Theater

Located in Over-The-Rhine, The Woodward Theater is an iconic local venue that hosts live music and other events. Tickets to shows here tend to be quite affordable, with many shows priced at less than $20.

Midpoint Music Festival

The Midpoint Music Festival is one of Cincinnati’s most popular music events, featuring over 100 local and national acts. Despite its popularity, the festival remains affordable: weekend passes typically cost around $80.

Pros Cons Comparison
Rich musical history and tradition Not as well-known as other music cities (e.g. Nashville, Austin) Unique blend of jazz, blues, indie, and alternative
Broad range of genres and venues Smaller music scene compared to some larger cities More affordable and accessible
Strong emphasis on supporting local music Not as many big-name acts as other cities Vibrant and aesthetically pleasing music venues

Overall, Cincinnati’s live music scene is a must-see for music enthusiasts. With its combination of rich musical history, diverse range of genres, vibrant music venues, and abundance of local talent, there is something for everyone in Cincinnati’s music scene. And with its affordability and accessibility, there’s no reason not to experience it for yourself.

FAQs About Cincinnati Live Music

What are some of the best places to see live music in Cincinnati?

Some of the top places to see live music in Cincinnati include Bogart’s, Riverbend Music Center, Taft Theatre, and The Madison Theatre.

What types of music can I expect to hear in Cincinnati?

Cincinnati has a diverse music scene, and you can expect to hear everything from rock and pop to jazz, blues, and country.

What is the best time of year for live music in Cincinnati?

Summer is the best time for live music in Cincinnati, as there are a number of outdoor concerts and festivals that take place throughout the season.

Are there any free live music events in Cincinnati?

Yes, Cincinnati hosts a number of free live music events throughout the year, including the PNC Summer Series at Riverbend Music Center and the Macy’s Music Festival.

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

The dress code for live music events in Cincinnati varies depending on the venue and the type of event. Generally, it’s best to dress comfortably but appropriately for the occasion.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to live music events in Cincinnati?

It depends on the venue and the event. Some venues allow outside food and drinks, while others do not. It’s always best to check the venue’s policies before bringing anything with you.

Is Cincinnati known for any particular style or genre of music?

Cincinnati is perhaps best known for its contributions to funk and soul music, with artists like James Brown and Bootsy Collins hailing from the area.

How do I find out about upcoming live music events in Cincinnati?

You can find out about upcoming live music events in Cincinnati by checking local event listings, following local music venues and promoters on social media, or using sites like Bandsintown or Songkick.

What is the music scene like in Over-the-Rhine?

Over-the-Rhine has a vibrant and eclectic music scene, with a mix of jazz, blues, rock, and indie acts performing at a number of venues throughout the neighborhood.

What are some family-friendly live music venues in Cincinnati?

Some family-friendly live music venues in Cincinnati include The Redmoor, which hosts family concerts on Saturday afternoons, and the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, which puts on musical productions for kids.


Cincinnati is a fantastic city for live music, with a diverse music scene that caters to all tastes. From big-name acts at Riverbend Music Center to intimate shows at smaller venues like The Redmoor, there’s always something happening in the city’s music scene. To keep up with the latest shows and events, be sure to check local event listings or follow your favorite venues on social media. After reading this article, you should have a better idea of what kinds of live music events are available in Cincinnati and where to go to experience them. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy some great live music! And don’t forget to check out our other interesting articles for more fun things to do in Cincinnati. Goodbye!