Rock Your Night Away Exploring The Thriving Scene Of Knoxville Live Music

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Welcome to the vibrant city of Knoxville, Tennessee, where music is a way of life. Here, you’ll find a rich culture of live music and talented musicians who are passionate about their craft. If you’re a music lover searching for the perfect spot to catch some great tunes, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through Knoxville’s live music scene, showcasing the best venues, bands, and events that the city has to offer. From classic blues and jazz to modern indie and alternative, you’ll discover a diverse range of musical styles that will keep you entertained all night long.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to our city, we promise that this article will open your eyes to the amazing world of Knoxville’s live music scene. By the end of our journey, you’ll not only know where to go for a great night out, but you’ll also have a newfound appreciation for the importance of live music in our culture. So, put on your dancing shoes and get ready to experience the magic of Knoxville live music!

The History and Evolution of Knoxville Live Music Scene

Knoxville, situated in the Eastern part of Tennessee, is known for its vibrant and evolving music scene. The city has a rich musical history that spans across various genres, and its live music scene has been attracting music lovers from all over the region for many years. In this section, we will explore the history and evolution of Knoxville’s live music scene, and how it has influenced the city’s musical culture over the years.

The Early Years (1920s-1950s)

During the 1920s, Knoxville’s musical culture was primarily centered on bluegrass and old-time country music. The radio station WNOX played a significant role in promoting and broadcasting these genres to a larger audience. Many of the early live music shows in Knoxville were held at the Tennessee Theatre, which opened in 1928 and was one of the largest theatres in the Southeast. The theatre hosted live music shows and movie screenings, making it a hub for entertainment in the city.

In the 1950s, rock and roll started to gain popularity, and artists like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry toured through Knoxville. The emergence of rock and roll brought a new sound and energy to the live music scene, and it quickly became a favorite among young audiences.

The 1960s-1970s: Expansion of Genres

During the 1960s, the live music scene in Knoxville saw a significant expansion in genres. The city became a significant hub for rhythm and blues, and artists like James Brown, Ray Charles, and Wilson Pickett performed at venues like the Civic Coliseum and the University of Tennessee’s Alumni Memorial Gym.

As the counterculture movement gained momentum in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many young people in Knoxville started to experiment with psychedelic rock, folk, and blues. This change in musical taste led to the emergence of new live music venues like The Factory and The Last Days of the Harlem Club.

The 1980s-1990s: The Emergence of Alternative Music

The 1980s saw Knoxville’s live music scene evolve once again, with the emergence of alternative rock and punk music. The Bijou Theatre became one of the go-to venues for alternative music in the city, hosting shows by bands like R.E.M., The Replacements, and Sonic Youth. The 1990s saw an explosion in the popularity of alternative music, and Knoxville became a popular stop for touring bands in these genres.

The Modern Era (2000s-Present)

Today, Knoxville’s live music scene continues to thrive, with a diverse range of genres and venues. The city’s downtown area has become a hub for live music, with venues like The Tennessee Theatre, The International, and Preservation Pub hosting shows during the week and on weekends. Knoxville has also become a popular destination for music festivals, with events like Rhythm N’ Blooms and Big Ears drawing in large crowds from all over the region.

In recent years, Knoxville has also become a hub for Americana and roots music. The city’s proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains has influenced and inspired many local musicians to explore the sounds and rhythms of traditional Appalachian music. This has led to the emergence of new bands and artists like The Black Lillies and The Lonetones.

In conclusion, Knoxville’s live music scene has a rich and vibrant history, with each era bringing new genres and sounds to the city’s musical landscape. The city’s deep musical roots and diverse culture have made it a powerful musical hub in the Southeast, and it continues to attract musicians and music lovers from all over the world.

Best Knoxville Live Music Venues You Should Check Out

Knoxville is known for its vibrant music scene with live performances available almost every night of the week. It is a must-visit city for music lovers with its unique venues, talented musicians, and lively atmosphere. In this article, we will be exploring the top Knoxville live music venues that you should check out.

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2. The International

The International is one of the most popular Knoxville venues for live music. Located at 940 Blackstock Ave and opened in 2014, the International has quickly become a go-to spot for music lovers.

The International – Venue Overview

The International is a spacious venue with a capacity of 1,200 people. It has a unique design, with a circular bar at the center of the room, which serves drinks from different regions of the world, including Knoxville’s local craft beer. The venue has a stage with state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment to give concert-goers an unforgettable music experience.

The International offers a range of music genres from rock, jazz, country, and blues, which can cater to all tastes. There are plenty of seating options, including lounge areas, tables, and chairs, and standing room for those who prefer to dance and enjoy the music up close.

The International – Pros and Cons

Before deciding on visiting a live music venue, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each place to make an informed decision. Here are some of the pros and cons of the International.

Pros Cons
  • Spacious venue with a capacity of 1,200 people
  • A unique design with a circular bar
  • A range of music genres available
  • State-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment
  • Plenty of seating options
  • Great drink selection
  • No on-site parking, but there are several public parking options nearby
  • The venue can get crowded, especially during peak hours

The International – Real-World Examples

The International has hosted some of the most iconic musicians and bands of all time. The venue has welcomed names like The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Cage The Elephant, Sheryl Crow, and many more. It has also hosted festivals like Rhythm N’ Blooms, which focuses on roots and Americana music.

One of the most memorable concerts was a sold-out show by The Avett Brothers in 2017. The band performed an energetic set that kept the crowd dancing and singing all night long. The International’s sound quality and layout contributed to a fantastic night that fans will remember for years to come.

The International – Conclusion

The International is undoubtedly one of the best live music venues in Knoxville. Its unique design, spaciousness, and state-of-the-art equipment make for a fantastic music experience. With its excellent drink selection and diverse range of music genres, it has something for everyone.

Despite a few potential drawbacks, such as limited parking and crowded peak hours, The International is a must-visit venue for music lovers. Attending a show at The International will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience.

The Knoxville Opera Gala: A Seasonal Celebration of Music

Knoxville Opera Gala is held every year, celebrating the best of the Knoxville opera with live music performances. This event combines the finest opera talents in the country, an elegant gala dinner, wine, and cocktails, creating a glamorous and unforgettable evening of music, art, and entertainment. The Knoxville Opera works hard every year to bring the best of contemporary and classic opera to the event, thrilling music lovers from all over the world.

The Knoxville Opera Gala Features

  • Musical Performances: The Knoxville Opera Gala is known to present world-class musical performances that touch the heart of every listener. The event features performances from some of the best opera singers and musicians across the country.
  • Wine and Dine Experience: The Knoxville Opera Gala combines a fine gala dinner with wine and cocktails, providing a unique experience for music-lovers and food enthusiasts. This experience is perfect for those who appreciate good food and good music.
  • Post-Concert Party: After the performance, the party continues with a post-concert celebration at the Metropulse Courtyard. Patrons can enjoy live music performances and dance the night away under the stars.

Why You Cannot Miss the Knoxville Opera Gala

There are several reasons why the Knoxville Opera Gala should not be missed. Apart from the stunning musical performances, the event also provides a unique opportunity for music and opera enthusiasts to experience a range of opera and musical genres. The Knoxville Opera employs some of the best musicians and performers in the country, providing a fantastic night of music, fine dining, and socializing. Here are some of the top reasons to attend the Knoxville Opera Gala:

  1. World-Class Musical Performances: The Knoxville Opera Gala presents some of the best opera and classical music in the world. The musical performances are always touching and exhilarating, often leaving listeners breathless with emotion.
  2. A Fine Wine and Dine Experience: The Knoxville Opera Gala combines fine dining with wine and cocktails, creating a unique and luxurious experience for music and food enthusiasts. This is a perfect opportunity to dress up and enjoy a night of sophistication and elegance.
  3. A Chance to Socialize: The Knoxville Opera Gala provides a unique platform for music lovers to socialize, meet new people, and connect with opera enthusiasts from different parts of the world.
  4. A Post-Concert Party: After the performances, the Knoxville Opera Gala continues with a post-concert party, where patrons can enjoy live music performances and dance the night away under the stars.

The Pros and Cons of the Knoxville Opera Gala

Here is a table that illustrates the key concepts and comparisons of the Knoxville Opera Gala:

Pros Cons
  • World-class musical performances
  • Amazing wine and dine experience
  • Unique socializing platform
  • Post-concert party
  • Limited tickets available
  • Expensive tickets
  • Formal dress code required

The Knoxville Opera Gala has some of the most incredible musical performances and an amazing wine and dine experience. Additionally, the event provides a unique platform for socializing and has an incredible post-concert party. However, the tickets are limited and expensive, and a formal dress code is enforced.

In conclusion, the Knoxville Opera Gala is one of the most incredible nights of music, food, and wine in the country. It is an event that no opera or music enthusiast should miss. If you love great music, fine dining, and socializing, the Knoxville Opera Gala is the perfect event for you.

Discovering Knoxville Live Music: Genres and Styles to Explore

Knoxville, Tennessee’s live music scene pulsates with diversity and depth. From the soulful blues to the twangy country, and from the foot-stomping bluegrass to heartwarming folk, Knoxville has something for all types of music lovers. In this article, we will explore the different genres and styles of live music available in Knoxville.

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Country Music

Country music has been an important genre in Knoxville’s music culture for decades. The city is home to several country music legends, including Dolly Parton, who has her own theme park in Pigeon Forge, just 30 miles away. Knoxville’s country music scene is as lively as ever, with a blend of traditional country and modern country pop music.

  • Traditional Country: Fans of traditional country music can enjoy live performances by talented local artists such as Trae Crowder, a comedian and musician, and The Kevin Prater Band. These musicians stay true to the roots of country music, showcasing classic country storytelling and instrumentation.
  • Modern Country: Knoxville also has a thriving modern country music scene, with big-name acts like Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, and Miranda Lambert performing at the Thompson Boling Arena. Fans of modern country music can explore venues such as Cotton Eyed Joe, the largest country nightclub in the South, and Baker Peters Jazz Club, which features both local and national country artists.

Rock Music

Rock music has a long history in Knoxville, with several famous bands and artists hailing from the city. Knoxville’s rock music scene covers a range of genres, from classic rock to indie rock, and from punk rock to heavy metal.

  • Classic Rock: Classic rock enthusiasts can enjoy live music performances by artists like AC/DC tribute band, ‘Back in Black’, and Pink Floyd tribute band, ‘The Machine’. Venues like The Concourse and Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum are popular spots for classic rock concerts.
  • Indie Rock: Indie rock lovers can explore venues such as The Pilot Light, a small club that plays host to up-and-coming indie rock artists. Bands such as Royal Bangs and Mic Harrison and The High Score have gained a lot of popularity in Knoxville’s indie rock music scene.
  • Punk Rock: Knoxville has a small, but vibrant punk rock music scene, with venues such as The Birdhouse and The International hosting punk rock concerts regularly. Bands such as Greg Slagle’s ‘Bastard Sons of Jacob Boone’ and The Handsome Scoundrels frequently perform in these venues.
  • Heavy Metal: Knoxville also has a thriving heavy metal scene, with regular concerts by local and national bands at venues such as The Concourse and The International. Bands such as ‘Fetal Autopsy’ and ‘Smoky Mountain Skullbusters’ are popular in Knoxville’s heavy metal scene.

Blues and Jazz Music

Knoxville’s blues and jazz music scene caters to fans of soulful and smooth music. The city has several venues featuring talented local and national musicians, making it an excellent destination for blues and jazz enthusiasts.

  • Blues Music: From the electric blues of Robert Johnson to the delta blues of Son House, Knoxville’s blues scene covers a wide range of styles. Venues such as Preservation Pub and Sassy Ann’s showcase both traditional blues and modern blues styles.
  • Jazz Music: Knoxville’s jazz music scene is represented by well-established venues such as the Baker Peters Jazz Club and Scruffy City Hall, where nationally-renowned jazz artists perform regularly. Local jazz musicians like CTY Big Band and Marble City 5 also have a strong presence in the Knoxville jazz scene.

Bluegrass and Folk Music

Bluegrass and folk are among the most cherished musical traditions in Knoxville. The city’s mountain heritage and Appalachian roots are deeply ingrained in its music scene, making it the perfect destination for fans of bluegrass and folk music.

  • Bluegrass Music: Knoxville hosts numerous bluegrass music festivals throughout the year, including the ‘Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention’ and the ‘Big Ears Festival’. The city’s bluegrass scene is also home to local bands like ‘The Bearded Banditos’ and ‘The Rocky Top String Band’, who frequently perform at venues like The Shed.
  • Folk Music: Knoxville’s folk music scene flourishes with local and national musicians playing at events like the ‘Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival’. Popular folk artists such as Joan Baez and Steve Earle have performed in Knoxville in recent years, cementing the city’s position as a hub for folk music lovers.

In conclusion, Knoxville’s live music scene offers something for everyone. Whether you’re into country or rock, blues, jazz, or bluegrass, Knoxville’s diverse and rich musical heritage is sure to impress music lovers. So, next time you’re in Knoxville, be sure to check out the city’s lively and eclectic live music scene.

Supporting Knoxville Live Music: Local Artists and Concerts to Attend

Knoxville, the third-largest city in Tennessee, is known for its vibrant music scene. There are plenty of opportunities to support local musicians, and attending live concerts is one of the best ways to do so. In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways to support Knoxville live music, by focusing on local artists and concerts to attend.

1. Local Artists

Knoxville has a diverse music scene that is home to many talented artists. Supporting local artists is an essential part of keeping Knoxville’s music scene thriving. Here are some ways to support local artists:

  1. Attend Local Concerts: Attending local concerts is the best way to support local artists. Knoxville has plenty of venues that host live music, such as the Bijou Theatre, The Mill & Mine, and The Tennessee Theatre. By attending a concert, you’re not only supporting the artist, but you’re also supporting the venue that is hosting them.
  2. Listen to Local Radio Stations: Local radio stations, like WUTK 90.3 FM, play music by local artists. By listening to these stations and requesting local music, you’re supporting local artists and helping to get their music heard by a wider audience.
  3. Buy Local Music: Purchasing music directly from local artists is one of the best ways to support them. Most local artists sell their music on CD or vinyl, and you can find their albums at local record stores, concerts, and online.

2. Concerts to Attend

Attending live concerts is an excellent way to support local artists and Knoxville’s music scene. From rock to blues, Knoxville has a diverse range of music genres, and there’s always a concert going on. Here are some of the concerts in Knoxville worth attending:

Concert Date Venue
Big Ears Festival March 24-27 Downtown Knoxville
The Black Cadillacs TBD TBD
Knoxville Jazz Orchestra TBD Bijou Theatre
  1. Big Ears Festival: The Big Ears Festival is a multi-genre music festival that takes place in downtown Knoxville. The festival features musicians from around the world, and it’s known for its diverse lineup of artists. The festival usually takes place in March.
  2. The Black Cadillacs: The Black Cadillacs are a rock band from Knoxville, and they’re known for their high-energy live shows. They’ve played at several music festivals and have shared the stage with bands like The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant.
  3. Knoxville Jazz Orchestra: The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra is a local jazz band that performs at the Bijou Theatre. The band consists of some of the best jazz musicians in Knoxville, and they’ve performed with artists like Delfeayo Marsalis and Stefon Harris.
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Attending local concerts and supporting local artists is critical to Knoxville’s music scene’s success. From attending concerts to listening to local radio stations and buying local music, there are several ways to support local musicians. By making a conscious effort to support local music, you’re helping to keep Knoxville’s music scene alive and vibrant.

FAQs: Knoxville Live Music

What are some popular music venues in Knoxville?

Knoxville has a vibrant music scene, and there are several popular venues that host live music. Some of the well-known places include The Bijou Theatre, Tennessee Theatre, The Mill & Mine, and The International. These venues offer a variety of music genres and attract both local and national performers.

Are there any free outdoor concerts in Knoxville?

Yes, Knoxville hosts several free outdoor concerts throughout the year. Some of the popular events include the Sundown in the City concert series and the Market Square Summer Concert Series. These events offer a great opportunity to enjoy live music while taking in the scenery and culture of Knoxville.

What kind of music can I expect to hear in Knoxville?

Knoxville’s live music scene is diverse, and you can expect to hear different genres of music. Some of the popular music genres include country, rock, jazz, blues, and indie. Check out the local music event calendar to see what kind of music is being played in the city.

Can I find live music every night in Knoxville?

Yes, you can find live music almost every night in Knoxville. The city has a vibrant music scene, and there are several venues that offer live music throughout the week. Check out the local music event calendar to see what’s happening in the city.

What is the best time to visit Knoxville for live music?

Knoxville has live music events year-round, but some events are seasonal. The best time to visit for live music depends on what kind of music you enjoy and what events are happening in the city. Summer and fall tend to be popular times for outdoor concerts and festivals.

Can I bring my kids to live music events in Knoxville?

Yes, many live music events in Knoxville are family-friendly, and some are specifically designed for children. However, it’s best to check the event details beforehand to ensure it’s appropriate for your children.

How much does it cost to attend live music events in Knoxville?

The cost of attending live music events in Knoxville varies depending on the event and venue. Some events are free, while others may require a ticket. Check the event details beforehand to see the admission cost.

What are some local artists/bands to look out for in Knoxville?

Knoxville has a thriving local music scene, and there are several talented artists and bands to look out for. Some of the popular ones include The Black Lillies, The Dirty Guv’nahs, Cereus Bright, and Robinella. Check out the local music event calendar to see when they’re performing.

Can I book live music for a private event in Knoxville?

Yes, there are several musicians and bands in Knoxville that are available for private events. You can contact them directly or hire an event planner to help you find the right music for your event.

Is Knoxville known for any specific music genre?

While Knoxville’s live music scene is diverse, the city is known for its blues and country music. It’s the birthplace of the Knox County Jug Stompers and has a rich history of blues and jazz music.


Knoxville has a thriving live music scene that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of blues, country, rock, or jazz, there are plenty of venues and events that cater to your interests. From free outdoor concerts to seasonal music festivals, there’s always something happening in Knoxville. After reading this article, explore the local music event calendar and plan your next music-filled weekend in Knoxville. Goodbye for now, and don’t forget to check out our other interesting articles!