Discover The Thriving Scene Of Columbus Ohio Live Music From Indie Rock To Jazz

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Hello music lovers! Are you tired of attending the same old concerts and shows that leave you unfulfilled? Have you been searching for a city with a thriving music scene that’s always buzzing with live music? Look no further than Columbus, Ohio!

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through Columbus’ live music scene. From indie rock to hip hop, jazz to country, Columbus offers a diverse array of music genres that will leave you in awe. We’ll share with you the best venues to catch a show, the up-and-coming local artists to watch out for, and the established musicians who regularly rock the stage in Columbus.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive guide to the Columbus music scene, a newfound appreciation for the talented musicians who call this city home, and a roadmap to the best musical experiences Columbus has to offer. Trust us, after reading this, you’ll be itching to grab your friends and head to Columbus for the next live show that catches your fancy.

The Best Venues for Columbus Ohio Live Music

Columbus, Ohio, is a bustling city with a vibrant music scene that spans many genres, from indie rock to classical music. For music lovers looking to explore the best venues for live music in Columbus, this article is a must-read. In this subsection, we will explore the top venue for live music in Columbus, Ohio, and the reasons why they are so popular among locals and tourists.

The Newport Music Hall

The Newport Music Hall is an iconic music venue in Columbus, Ohio, and one of the oldest continually operating rock clubs in the United States. Originally opened as a movie theater in 1923, the venue was converted into a concert hall in 1984, and since then, it has become a mecca for music lovers in Columbus and beyond.

  • The Venue: The Newport Music Hall is a historic, intimate venue that holds around 1,600 people. The stage is elevated, providing excellent sightlines from every corner of the room. The acoustics are fantastic, and the audience is always engaged and enthusiastic, making for an incredible live music experience.
  • The History: The Newport Music Hall is famed for hosting some of the biggest names in music. Over the years, the venue has welcomed the likes of The Rolling Stones, U2, Nirvana, and Bob Dylan. In recent years, it has become a popular destination for up-and-coming indie bands, making it a great spot to discover new music.
  • The Atmosphere: The Newport Music Hall has a fantastic atmosphere that is hard to replicate. The venue is intimate enough to feel like a local hangout, but big enough to host some of the biggest names in music. The crowd is always lively, and the vibe is electric, making it a must-visit venue for music lovers in Columbus.
  • The Pros and Cons: While the Newport Music Hall has many pros, such as its incredible history, fantastic acoustics, and intimate atmosphere, there are a few cons to be aware of. The venue can get crowded, which can make it tricky to get a good view of the band. The drinks can be a bit on the expensive side, and there is no seating in the general admission area, so it can be a long night if you’re not prepared to stand.
Pros Cons
Intimate atmosphere Crowded
Fantastic acoustics Expensive drinks
Incredible history No seating in general admission

If you’re a music lover visiting Columbus, Ohio, the Newport Music Hall is a must-visit venue. With its fantastic atmosphere, incredible history, and some of the best acoustics in the country, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular music venues in Ohio. Whether you’re looking to discover a new band or catch your favorite artist live, the Newport Music Hall is the perfect spot for a night of

unforgettable live music.

Columbus Ohio Music Festivals: A Comprehensive Guide

The Evolution of Music Festivals in Columbus Ohio

The city of Columbus, Ohio has a rich history of music festivals. From small local gatherings to massive international events, the music festival scene in Columbus has evolved over the years. Here’s a brief insight into the evolution of music festivals in Columbus:

The Early Years: The Roots of Music Festivals in Columbus

The music festival scene in Columbus dates back to the early 70s when the Ohio State University hosted the first ever Buckeye Jam. The festival was a small-scale event that initially catered to fans of country, bluegrass, and folk music.

In the late 70s, Buckeye Jam gave way to the Ohio Valley Music Festival, which became one of the biggest music events of the year in Columbus. The festival attracted big names in rock and pop music, such as Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, The Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac.

The 90s: The Emergence of Alternative Music Festivals

The 90s saw a shift in the music festival scene in Columbus, as fans of alternative rock music sought out smaller, more intimate events. Festivals such as the Eco Fest and Comfest began to gain traction, offering a more grassroots approach to music and culture.

The Newport Music Hall also became a popular venue for alternative music, playing host to bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Smashing Pumpkins.

The 2000s: The Rise of Electronic Dance Music Festivals

The dawn of the new millennium saw an explosion in the popularity of electronic dance music (EDM) festivals around the world, and Columbus was no exception. Electro-music festivals such as Breakaway Music Festival and Prime Music Festival emerged, attracting thousands of fans from across the state.

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However, these festivals had their fair share of controversies, with the Ohio State University banning an artist from performing at the Prime Music Festival for promoting drug use and vulgar lyrics.

The Present: A Diverse Range of Music Festivals in Columbus

Today, Columbus boasts a wide range of music festivals catering to every taste and genre. From the colorful Columbus Asian Festival, which celebrates Asian culture, to the Columbus Jazz Festival, which features some of the best jazz artists in the world, there is something for everyone.

The popular Fashion Meets Music Festival, which features live performances by the hottest names in indie and alternative music, has also gained a loyal following since its inception in 2014.

The Pros and Cons of Attending Music Festivals in Columbus

Columbus has a thriving music festival scene, but attending one may not be for everyone. Here are some pros and cons to consider before planning your next music festival trip to Columbus.

The Pros of Attending Music Festivals in Columbus

  • Experience a diverse range of musical acts in one place.
  • Opportunity to discover new artists and genres.
  • Chance to meet and connect with like-minded music fans.
  • Access to local food and drinks.
  • Opportunities to participate in cultural events and activities.

The Cons of Attending Music Festivals in Columbus

  • Potential for large crowds and long lines.
  • High ticket prices and additional costs (such as lodging and transportation).
  • Exposure to loud noises and intense lights that may cause sensory overload.
  • Possible inclement weather conditions (depending on the season).
  • Risk of overcrowding, leading to safety concerns.

Comparing Columbus Music Festivals

Festival Name Genre Duration Ticket Prices
Buckeye Country Superfest Country Music 2 Days $80 – $190
Rock on the Range Rock Music 3 Days $150 – $350
Columbus Asian Festival Cultural Festival 2 Days Free Admission
Columbus Jazz and Ribs Festival Jazz Music 3 Days Free Admission

When comparing Columbus music festivals, it’s important to consider the genre, duration, and ticket prices. Some festivals, such as Buckeye Country Superfest and Rock on the Range, can be expensive, while others like the Columbus Asian Festival and Columbus Jazz and Ribs Festival are free.

All in all, Columbus Ohio has something to offer for every music fan. Whether you’re into country, rock, jazz, EDM, or cultural festivals, there’s a music festival waiting for you in the vibrant city of Columbus.

How to Discover New Columbus Ohio Bands and Artists

Columbus, Ohio is a vibrant and bustling city with a flourishing arts and music scene. The city is home to some of the most exciting and talented musicians and bands in the country. From rock to jazz, hip-hop to classical, there is a rich diversity of music in Columbus, Ohio. Discovering new bands and artists is an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the vibrant Columbus, Ohio music scene.

Attend Local Gigs

Attending local gigs is a great way to discover new bands and artists in Columbus, Ohio. There are plenty of venues in the city that host live music events almost every night of the week. Places like the Rumba Cafe, Skully’s Music-Diner, and Woodlands Tavern are renowned for their live music performances. By attending gigs regularly, you can discover new talent and find your new favorite band or artist.

  • Check local listings and events calendar for upcoming gigs
  • Try to attend gigs regularly to maximize your chances of discovering new talent
  • Take note of the opening acts, they may be the next big thing

Listen to Local Radio Stations

Local radio stations are a great way to stay abreast of the latest music releases from Columbus, Ohio-based musicians and bands. Stations like WNCI 97.9 FM, CD 102.5 FM, and WCBE 90.5 FM often play music from local artists as well as interview them. Listening to local radio stations not only helps you discover new bands and artists, but also learn about the inspiration behind their music.

  • Explore local radio stations and listen to their programming regularly
  • Pay attention to featured artists and songs, take note of the ones that pique your interest
  • Some radio stations may offer exclusive live performances, be sure to tune in

Use Online Platforms

Online platforms are a great resource for discovering new bands and artists in Columbus, Ohio. Websites, like Bandcamp and SoundCloud, provide a platform for music artists and bands to upload their music and share it with the world. They often feature an extensive library of artists and genres, including a dedicated section for Columbus, Ohio musicians. Social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, are also great resources for discovering new talent.

  • Explore online music platforms like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and Spotify
  • Use search filters to find Columbus, Ohio-based musicians and bands
  • Follow local musicians and bands on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram
Method Pros Cons
Attend local gigs
  • Experience live music in person
  • Opportunity to socialize and network with fans and artists
  • Chance to discover emerging talent early
  • Can be expensive if attending multiple shows
  • Schedule may not always align with availability
  • May not always discover new talent every time
Listen to local radio stations
  • Free and easy to access
  • Wide variety of genres and artists
  • Opportunities to hear interviews and exclusive performances
  • Song repeats may get tiresome
  • Not every artist or genre may be featured
  • May not provide enough information on new artists discovered
Use online platforms
  • Free and easy to access
  • Wide variety of artists and genres
  • Ability to discover new and emerging talent
  • May miss out on the live performance experience
  • May not always provide context or detailed information on new artists discovered
  • Can be overwhelming with the abundance of choices available

In conclusion, discovering new bands and artists in Columbus, Ohio is an exciting and rewarding experience. By attending local gigs, listening to local radio stations, and using online platforms, you can broaden your musical horizons and discover new talent. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s up to you to determine which approach fits your preferences the best. With a variety of resources available, you’re sure to discover your next favorite band or artist in Columbus, Ohio.

The History of Live Music in Columbus Ohio

Live music has been an essential part of Columbus, Ohio’s cultural scene for over a century. The city has a rich history of music dating back to the early 1900s, and it continues to be a vibrant and eclectic music community today. The following subsections provide a detailed overview of the evolution of live music in Columbus, from the early days of jazz and blues to the modern-day indie rock and hip-hop scenes.

The Early Days of Live Music in Columbus

At the turn of the 20th century, Columbus was a bustling city with a thriving music scene. While classical music was popular among the city’s affluent residents, working-class neighborhoods were home to a lively and diverse variety of music. Jazz, blues, and vaudeville performances were particularly popular in the city’s African American communities. In the 1920s and 1930s, renowned jazz artists such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong performed at Columbus venues like the Lincoln, Cameo, and Southern theaters.

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In the 1940s and 1950s, the popularity of rock and roll music began to grow in Columbus. The Newport Music Hall, located near Ohio State University, quickly became one of the city’s most popular venues for rock concerts, hosting iconic acts like The Who, Nirvana, and Bruce Springsteen. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the city’s music scene continued to thrive, with local acts attracting audiences at venues like the Agora Ballroom, the Ohio Theatre, and Stache’s.

The Rise of Indie Rock and Alternative Music in Columbus

In the early 1980s, a new wave of independent rock bands emerged in Columbus, thanks in part to the city’s close proximity to punk and indie scenes in Detroit and Cleveland. Bands like the New Bomb Turks, Gaunt, and Scrawl became local legends and helped establish Columbus as a hub for underground music. In 1984, the DIY venue Bernies opened its doors as a space for local bands to perform, and it quickly became a cornerstone of the city’s music community.

By the 1990s, Columbus had become a hotbed of alternative music. The city’s alternative radio station, CD101 (now known as WWCD), played a vital role in promoting local acts and bringing national acts to Columbus. Venues like Little Brothers, the Newport, and the Alrosa Villa continued to host concerts, but smaller venues like Bernie’s and Staches also became important spaces for up-and-coming acts.

The Diversity of Live Music in Columbus Today

Today, Columbus’s music scene is more diverse than ever before. While indie rock and alternative music continue to flourish in venues like the Basement, Ace of Cups, and Skully’s Music-Diner, the city is also home to a thriving hip-hop scene. Rappers like Blueprint, Dominique Larue, and Astronautalis call Columbus home, and venues like the Basement and the Newport frequently host hip-hop concerts.

In addition, Columbus is known for its experimental music scene, with groups like the avant-garde chamber ensemble String Noise and experimental jazz quartet Copious Notes gaining national attention. The city also has a strong tradition of folk and Americana music, with venues like Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza and the Rambling House hosting regular performances.

The Future of Live Music in Columbus

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the live music industry in Columbus, with venues shutting down and concerts being cancelled or postponed. However, the city’s music community is resilient, and many venues are starting to reopen with social distancing measures in place.

Columbus’s music scene has always been characterized by its diversity and innovation, and there is no doubt that it will continue to grow and evolve in the coming years. As the city attracts more creative professionals and musicians, there will be new spaces and opportunities for live music. Whether you’re a fan of jazz, rock, hip-hop, or experimental music, Columbus has something to offer.

Pros Cons
  • Rich history of live music dating back to the early 1900s
  • Diverse music scene with something for everyone
  • Close proximity to other music scenes in the Midwest
  • Thriving alternative and indie music scenes
  • Strong tradition of experimental and avant-garde music
  • Pandemic has had a significant impact on the live music industry
  • Some venues have closed, limiting options for live music
  • Competitive market for musicians and music professionals
  • Limited exposure to mainstream music industry in comparison to larger cities like New York or Los Angeles

Catching National Acts at Columbus Ohio’s Top Concert Venues

Columbus, Ohio, is famous for its live music scene. The city has plenty of amazing music venues that host both local and national acts throughout the year. In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of some of the best venues in Columbus that bring in national acts.

The Newport Music Hall

The Newport Music Hall is a legendary venue in Columbus that’s been around since 1923. It’s been hailed as the nation’s longest continuously running rock club, and that’s not without reason. The venue has seen performances from some of the biggest names in the music industry, including the Rolling Stones, Prince, and U2, to name just a few.

The venue has a capacity of around 2000 people and features a general admission policy. The intimacy of the venue makes it easy to get up close with the performers, giving concert-goers the ultimate music experience.

If you’re planning to attend a show at The Newport Music Hall, be ready to stand in line. The venue has a strict no re-entry policy, which means you can’t leave the venue once you’re inside. So, make sure you’re there in time and have everything you need with you.

Schottenstein Center

Schottenstein Center is another one of Columbus’s top concert venues that’s hosted many national acts. The venue, which is owned by Ohio State University, has a seating capacity of 19,500 and is an ideal place for big concerts.

The Schottenstein Center has been the stage for performances by Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé, among others. It has also hosted events such as NCAA Basketball Tournament games and WWE wrestling matches.

If you’re planning to attend a concert at the Schottenstein Center, be prepared for the size of the venue. The center has a massive capacity, so it’s important to know which seats offer the best views. You can check out the seating chart online to pick the best seats.

PromoWest Pavilion

The PromoWest Pavilion is one of Columbus’s newer venues that opened in 2019. Despite its recent opening, it’s already making waves with its impressive line-up of national acts.

The venue has a capacity of around 5000 people and provides concert-goers with a unique outdoor experience. The pavilion features tiered seating that offers excellent views of the stage. It also has lawn seating where people can bring their own chairs and blankets to enjoy the music.

One thing that sets the PromoWest Pavilion apart from other concert venues in the area is its sustainability efforts. The venue has implemented eco-friendly practices such as water bottle filling stations and compostable food service items.

Nationwide Arena

Nationwide Arena is a versatile venue that hosts a variety of events, including concerts by national acts. The arena has a seating capacity of 18,500 and has seen many iconic performances over the years.

Some of the biggest names in music, such as Elton John, Taylor Swift, and Madonna, have graced the stage at Nationwide Arena. The venue is also home to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the city’s NHL team, and is regularly used for other sporting events.

If you’re planning to attend a concert at Nationwide Arena, consider arriving early to avoid the parking hassle. The arena offers a variety of parking options, but getting in and out of the area can be slow during peak times.

Express Live!

Express Live! is an open-air music venue located in downtown Columbus. The venue can hold up to 5000 guests for a standing concert and offers a unique outdoor experience for music lovers.

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The venue has hosted plenty of national acts over the years, including Cage the Elephant, Panic! At the Disco, and Weezer. It’s a great place to see some of your favorite bands during the summer months.

If you’re planning to attend a concert at Express Live!, bring sunscreen and something to help you stay cool. As with any outdoor venue, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to dress appropriately.

Venue Capacity Indoor/Outdoor Seating/Lawn
The Newport Music Hall 2000 Indoor General admission standing room only
Schottenstein Center 19,500 Indoor Various seating options
PromoWest Pavilion 5000 Outdoor Tiered seating and lawn seating
Nationwide Arena 18,500 Indoor Various seating options
Express Live! 5000 Outdoor General admission standing room only
  1. Some interesting facts about Columbus’s live music scene:
  • The city has over 300 live music venues, ranging from small bars to large concert halls.
  • Columbus is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s ARCHIVES, a massive collection of music memorabilia.
  • The city is also home to one of the largest independent record stores in the country, Spoonful Records.
  • The pros and cons of indoor vs. outdoor venues:
    • Indoor venues offer a more reliable concert experience, with predictable acoustics and climate control.
    • Outdoor venues provide a unique setting with fresh air and natural lighting, but can be subject to weather conditions.
  • Tips for picking the best seats at a concert:
    • Check the venue’s seating chart online to compare views and prices.
    • Consider the distance from the stage and the height of the seats when selecting tickets.
    • Research the acoustics of the venue to find out where the best sound quality is.
  • The importance of eco-friendly practices in concert venues:
    • Reducing plastic waste with refillable water stations and compostable food service items can have a significant impact.
    • Using renewable energy sources such as solar power can reduce a venue’s carbon footprint.
    • Encouraging artists and vendors to use eco-friendly practices can raise awareness and promote sustainability in the industry.
  • The benefits of intimate venues for concert-goers:
    • Smaller venues provide a more personal concert experience with a closer proximity to the performers.
    • Intimate venues can offer a unique ambiance and atmosphere that larger venues cannot replicate.
    • General admission standing room only policies allow for more mobility and energy during the concert.

    In conclusion, Columbus, Ohio, has an impressive live music scene that offers something for everyone. Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor venues, big concerts or intimate settings, there’s a venue in Columbus that’s perfect for you. With plenty of national acts making their way through the city each year, it’s a great place for music lovers to catch their favorite bands in action.

    FAQs – Columbus Ohio Live Music

    What are some popular live music venues in Columbus?

    There are many popular live music venues in Columbus, including the Newport Music Hall, Ace of Cups, The Basement, Skully’s Music-Diner, and Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, among others.

    What genre of music is popular in Columbus?

    Columbus is known for its diverse music scene, with popular genres including rock, indie, jazz, and hip hop.

    Is there live music in Columbus Ohio every night?

    Yes, there are live music events happening in Columbus every night of the week. Check out local event calendars and music venues for the latest schedules.

    What is the best time of year to attend live music events in Columbus?

    Columbus hosts musical events all year round, but the warmer months of spring, summer, and fall are particularly popular for outdoor concerts and festivals.

    What are some of the biggest live music events in Columbus?

    The Columbus Arts Festival, ComFest, Jazz & Rib Fest, The Ohio State Fair, and Bunbury Music Festival are just a few of the biggest annual music events in Columbus.

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

    Dress codes may vary depending on the venue and event, but most live music events in Columbus are casual and comfortable. Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes as some events may be standing room only.

    Are there any all ages live music venues in Columbus?

    Yes, there are all ages live music venues in Columbus, including the Newport Music Hall and Ace of Cups. Check with individual venues for age restrictions and policies.

    What is the average cover charge for live music events in Columbus?

    The average cover charge for live music events in Columbus varies depending on the venue, event, and artist performing. Cover charges can range from free to upwards of $50 or more for larger concerts.

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

    Outside food and drinks are typically not allowed at live music events in Columbus, but some venues may allow sealed water bottles or small snacks. Check with the venue for policies on outside food and drinks.

    What is the parking situation like for live music events in Columbus?

    Depending on the event and venue, parking can vary from street parking to paid parking lots or garages. Consider carpooling or using public transportation, such as buses or ride-sharing services, to avoid parking difficulties.


    Columbus, Ohio has a thriving live music scene that offers something for everyone. With popular venues, diverse genres, year-round events, and policies that vary from venue to venue, it’s important to do a little research before attending a live music event. Dress comfortably, arrive early, and consider utilizing public transportation or carpooling. After the show, check out the many bars, restaurants, and other attractions in the area. Thank you for reading about Columbus Ohio live music, and be sure to check out our other interesting articles!