Get Ready To Rock Your Ultimate Guide To Live Music Columbus OH

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Hey there, music lovers! Are you tired of attending the same old gigs in Columbus, OH? Do you want to explore new venues that offer live music and make awesome memories with your friends or family? Look no further, as this article will cover the hidden gems of the city’s live music scene, introducing you to the best spots to unwind and enjoy some fantastic tunes.

By reading this article, you can expect to discover new and exciting places to experience live music in Columbus. No matter your taste in music, we’ve got you covered with a variety of genres, locations and atmospheres. Whether you want to dance the night away, relax while enjoying some acoustic sets or explore a different type of music, our guide will provide you with everything you need to plan your next night out and satisfy your craving for live entertainment.

From intimate settings to grand stages, our list of venues offers something for everyone. Our guide will include essential information on the best places to catch live music in Columbus, such as the type of music they play, the atmosphere, and ratings from other music enthusiasts. So, get ready to discover new favorite spots and explore the Columbus music scene like never before!

Best Venues for Live Music in Columbus OH

Columbus OH is known to be the birthplace of famous musicians like RJD2, Blueprint, and DJ Sliink. Live music is an integral part of the city’s culture, with plenty of venues hosting artists and bands from various genres. From rock to jazz and everything in between, Columbus OH offers a range of options when it comes to live music. Here are some of the best venues to check out:

Newport Music Hall

Newport Music Hall is one of the best-known landmarks in Columbus OH when it comes to live music venues. Established in 1923, it’s the longest-operating concert hall in the country. The venue is located in the heart of the city’s entertainment district, Short North. It has a capacity of 1700 standing or 800 seated guests, with a balcony on the second floor that provides an excellent view of the stage. The sound system and lighting at Newport Music Hall are exceptional, providing a fantastic experience for both performers and the audience.

  • Newport Music Hall is famously the birthplace of many bands, including Life in Film, which grew popular there when they performed in 2013.
  • The venue is often described as a grungy and intimate spot to catch touring acts or up-and-coming artists.
  • Some of the performers that have graced the stage at Newport Music Hall include The Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and The Pretenders.

If you’re looking for an authentic and unique concert experience in Columbus OH, Newport Music Hall is the place to be. The venue hosts several events throughout the year, ranging from rock, alternative, and indie to electronic and hip-hop.

Southern Theatre

Southern Theatre is another historic venue in Columbus OH, known for hosting classical music and orchestral performances. The theatre was designed in the 1800s and has undergone several renovations to maintain its grandeur throughout the years. It has a spacious seating capacity of 925 and a stunning interior that features a Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture.

  • Theatre’s construction was completed in 1896, and it initially hosted vaudeville shows, musical reviews, and plays.
  • The venue was closed for restoration and renovation in 1990, and it took nearly five years to restore it to its original condition.
  • Popular artists like Dierks Bentley, Dave Koz, and Gloria Gaynor have performed at Southern Theatre.

Southern Theatre is the ideal spot for those interested in seeing classical music performances or broadway shows. The theatre is also a prime location for private events, weddings, and ballroom dancing.

Ace of Cups

Ace of Cups is a relatively small venue in Columbus OH but is regarded as one of the places you have to check out to get a unique live music experience. The venue is known for hosting indie, punk, and rock bands, as well as providing an intimate and laid-back atmosphere. The venue has a standing capacity of 210 and a full-service bar that serves a variety of drinks.

  • The venue was opened in 2010 by four local female musicians who wanted to provide a space for women and the LGBTQ+ community to perform.
  • Ace of Cups has an excellent reputation for supporting local artists and has hosted bands like Black Lips, Joe Pug, and Moon Hooch.
  • The venue has also been listed on Rolling Stone’s list of the Best Small Venues in the Country.

Ace of Cups is the perfect spot for those who want to experience local bands and artists in an intimate setting. The venue also has a cozy patio area that provides an outdoor space to enjoy music during the warm summer months.

Newport Music Hall Southern Theatre Ace of Cups
Capacity 1700 925 210
Price Range $$ $$$ $
Genre Rock, alternative, indie, electronic, hip-hop Classical, orchestral, Broadway shows Punk, rock, indie
Special Features Longest-operating concert hall in the country, excellent sound and lighting Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture, spacious seating Intimate space, patio area, supporting local artists

In conclusion, Columbus OH has plenty to offer when it comes to live music venues. Whether you’re a fan of classical music or prefer punk and rock, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Newport Music Hall, Southern Theatre, and Ace of Cups are some of the best venues to check out for a unique concert experience.

The History of Live Music in Columbus OH

The city of Columbus, Ohio, is renowned for its vibrant and diverse music scene. The city has nurtured some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Twenty One Pilots, RJD2, and O.A.R. Live music in Columbus has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. This article delves deep into the origin and evolution of live music in Columbus, Ohio.

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The Beginning: Early 20th Century

Live music in Columbus dates back to the early 1900s when Vaudeville and Burlesque performances were a common form of entertainment. The city’s first theater, The Capital Theatre, was opened in 1904 and had live music performances as part of its shows. By the 1920s, live music was an integral part of the city’s nightlife, with many jazz and blues clubs opening up, providing entertainment to both locals and visitors.

One of the most prominent jazz music venues of the time was Roseland Ballroom, which also served as a social center for the African American community. However, racial segregation meant that many African American musicians were excluded from performing in some venues.

The 1960s: Rock and Roll Takes Over

The 1960s brought a new era of music to Columbus with the rise of rock and roll. The Union, a popular club near Ohio State University, was one of the first to host live rock music, featuring bands like The McCoys and The Raves. Furthermore, The Ohio State University student union presented a series of live music shows that included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Cream. The emergence of rock music led to a shift from jazz and blues, which had been the predominant genres in the city.

During this period, the city’s music scene was mainly centered around the Ohio State University campus, with bands playing at venues such as The Agora, the Newport Music Hall, and the Alrosa Villa.

The 1990s: Alternative Rock and Grunge

The 1990s were characterized by alternative rock and grunge, and Columbus was not left behind. The popularity of alternative rock bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden led to a wave of garage bands that sprouted from the scene, including Watershed, Scrawl, and Gaunt. The Newport Music Hall became the epicenter of live music in Columbus, with national and international acts such as The Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead performing there. The quality of live music in Columbus peaked during this era.

The introduction of new genres such as techno and electronic dance music gave rise to new venues such as the legendary Mekka nightclub, which became the hub for artists such as Aphex Twin, Carl Cox, and Richie Hawtin.

The 2000s and Beyond: Hip-Hop and Diversity

The turn of the millennium brought a new era of diversity in live music in Columbus, Ohio. With the emergence of hip-hop acts, the city witnessed a rise in rap music performances, with artists such as Bow Wow, Lil Wayne, and Tech N9ne making appearances at the Newport Music Hall, which remained one of the city’s most iconic venues. The city also saw a rise in smaller indie venues and shows in more intimate settings, with Skully’s Music Diner, Ace of Cups, and The Basement being some of the most popular.

In recent years, Columbus has become a breeding ground for emerging artists in various genres, including indie rock, alt-country, and folk. The city’s music scene continues to thrive, with a growing number of venues, festivals, and events providing a platform for both local and international artists.

The Future of Live Music in Columbus OH

The future of live music in Columbus looks bright, with the city’s thriving music scene expected to continue to grow. The emergence of new venues, such as The Summit and Big Room Bar, is proof that Columbus remains committed to nurturing emerging talent.

Furthermore, the city continues to host a range of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Columbus Arts Festival, Jazz and Ribs Fest, and ComFest. These events offer opportunities for both emerging and established artists to showcase their talents.

Pros Cons
  • Columbus has a rich and diverse music scene
  • The city has a supportive environment for emerging artists
  • The city has a range of venues, festivals, and events throughout the year
  • Racial segregation was a major challenge in the early years of live music in Columbus
  • The city’s nightlife suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Some venues have closed over the years

In conclusion, live music in Columbus, Ohio, has a rich history that spans over 100 years. From the early days of jazz and blues to the current era of hip-hop, the city’s music scene has always been diverse and vibrant. Despite challenges such as racial segregation and the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s live music scene continues to evolve, with new genres and venues emerging all the time. The future of live music in Columbus looks bright, and the city remains committed to cultivating and nurturing emerging talent.

How to Find and Book Live Music in Columbus OH

Finding and booking live music in Columbus OH can be challenging, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the local music scene. However, with a little research and know-how, anyone can find and book live music in Columbus OH. In this article, we will discuss some useful tips to help you find and book live music in Columbus OH.

1. Research Venues

Before you start booking live music in Columbus OH, it’s important to research the venues that regularly host live music. There are many venues in Columbus OH that host live music, ranging from small bars and clubs to large concert halls. Some of the most popular venues for live music in Columbus OH include:

  • Newport Music Hall: a historic venue that has hosted some of the biggest names in music, including The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.
  • Southgate House Revival: a popular venue for both local and national acts.
  • Ace of Cups: a cozy bar that hosts a variety of live music genres, from punk rock to folk music.
  • Skully’s Music-Diner: a nightclub that features live music, DJ nights, and special events.

Once you have identified the venues in Columbus OH that regularly host live music, you can start reaching out to them to see if they are interested in booking your band.

2. Make Connections

Making connections is key when it comes to finding and booking live music in Columbus OH. Start by attending shows at local venues and introducing yourself to the people who work there. You can also join local music groups on social media to connect with other musicians, promoters, and venue owners in the area.

Another useful way to make connections in the local music scene is by attending open mic nights. Many venues in Columbus OH host open mic nights, which are a great way to showcase your talent and meet other musicians in the area.

3. Create a Press Kit

A press kit is an essential tool for any musician looking to book live music in Columbus OH, or anywhere else for that matter. A press kit is a collection of materials that will help promoters and venue owners learn more about your band, including your bio, press clippings, music samples, and photos.

Here are some key components that your press kit should include:

  1. Bio: A brief overview of your band’s history and what makes you unique.
  2. Music Samples: A few samples of your music that showcase your sound and style.
  3. Press Clippings: Any articles or reviews that your band has received in the press.
  4. Photos: High-quality photos of your band that can be used for promotional purposes.
  5. Contact Information: Your contact information, including your email address and phone number.
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Having a press kit ready to go will make it easier for you to approach venues and promoters and increase your chances of being booked for live music shows in Columbus OH.


Finding and booking live music in Columbus OH can be a challenge, but with some research, networking, and a well-prepared press kit, you can increase your chances of landing gigs at some of the best venues in the area. Remember to be persistent, professional, and passionate about your music, and the opportunities for live performances will come.

Local Talent: Up-and-Coming Musicians in Columbus OH

Live music performances in Columbus, Ohio never fails to amaze its patrons. With numerous venues and events, music lovers can find a wide and diverse array of up-and-coming musicians. These artists offer a glimmer of hope to music enthusiasts who are seeking something new and exciting. Discover the best-kept secrets of Columbus, Ohio’s local artists, and the reasons why they’re the city’s next “big thing.”

Emerging Sounds

Columbus, Ohio’s music scene offers diverse options for genre preferences, from classical music to heavy metal. The city offers opportunities to discover the hottest emerging sounds of the area, through venues like Ace of Cups and Rumba Café. Let’s take a look at some of the most promising up-and-coming artists in Columbus.

  1. The Cordial Sins
  2. The Cordial Sins is a five-piece indie-alternative rock band whose sound is a nod to the classic 90s alternative era. Their music is inspired by The Smashing Pumpkins and The Cure, with a modern twist. The Cordial Sins recently released their album, “In Memory,” which comprises tracks that have been featured in various TV shows.

  3. Timothy Palmer and Jaison Brooks
  4. Timothy Palmer and Jaison Brooks are a dynamic jazz duo that has been captivating the crowd with their unique sound. Timothy Palmer on the saxophone creates the perfect ambiance for any gathering, while Jaison Brooks’ piano skills provide the perfect accompaniment. The duo has collaborated with some notable musicians in the city and received rave reviews for their original compositions.

  5. Doc Robinson
  6. Doc Robinson is a five-piece indie-rock band whose music is a healthy mix of rock, funk, and soul. They have released two full-length albums, and their music has been featured in some of the popular TV shows. The band has been recognized by Forbes as one of its “30 Under 30” for music.

  7. Jasen Rey
  8. Jasen Rey has captivated his audience with his unique pop sound that blends with a hint of RnB. He has been featured on various radio stations, and his music has been streamed by numerous listeners worldwide. Jasen’s soulful voice and upbeat rhythm bring his music to life.

  9. vlime
  10. vlime is an emerging three-piece post-rock band that creates a cinematic experience through their music. They have released an EP that has gained critical acclaim for its unique sound, blending heavy and atmospheric music. vlime’s music takes listeners on a journey with its complex arrangements that build slowly, creating a wave of sound that envelops the listener.

Why support local musicians?

Local musicians are the heart of the music scene. With your support, they can continue creating and performing music that truly matters and adds value to the community. Supporting them has various benefits, such as:

  • Supporting the local economy
  • Supporting local artists means supporting the community’s economy. By going to their concerts, buying their music, and spreading the word about their art, you’re directly contributing to the local economy.

  • Discovering new sounds and artists
  • Attending local shows gives you a chance to discover new and diverse sounds that you may not find on mainstream radio. You may stumble on an artist whose music provides inspiration and joy, making it a unique and memorable experience.

  • Building community and connection
  • Supporting local musicians not only allows you to discover new music, but it also builds a sense of community and connection. By attending local shows, you meet new people with similar interests and build relationships with artists, fans, and venues.

  • Helping local music culture thrive
  • The local music scene provides a platform for artists to showcase their talent and add value to the community. Supporting local musicians and events helps the local music culture thrive and supports the city’s artistic and creative culture.


Columbus, Ohio’s music scene is diverse and exciting, with a plethora of talented artists waiting to be discovered. Whether you prefer rock, indie, jazz, or something in between, there’s always an up-and-coming local artist waiting to wow you with their music. So why not take a chance on supporting local musicians? You might just discover something that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Top Annual Music Festivals in Columbus OH

Columbus is a vibrant city known for its live music scene, with dozens of music festivals taking place in the city each year. From rock to jazz, indie, and country, there’s a festival for everyone. This article outlines the top annual music festivals in Columbus OH.

1. Jazz & Rib Festival

The Jazz & Rib Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Columbus, attracting thousands of people every year. The festival brings together the best jazz artists and rib vendors in the country to create a unique experience for music and food lovers. Some interesting facts about the festival include:

  • The festival started in 1981 and has been a staple in the Columbus music scene ever since.
  • Over 30 national and local jazz acts perform on multiple stages throughout the festival.
  • The festival vendor lineup comprises more than 20 nationally recognized rib teams, selling over 100,000 pounds of ribs each year.
  • The festival is free and takes place over three days in July along the Scioto Mile.

2. Rock on the Range

Rock on the Range is the largest rock music festival in the United States, attracting over 100,000 attendees every year. The festival features some of the biggest names in rock and metal, with multiple stages and hours of non-stop music. Some key features of the festival include:

  • The festival started in 2007 and has grown in popularity ever since.
  • Over 50 bands perform across multiple stages during the three-day festival.
  • The festival has featured some of the biggest names in rock and metal, including Metallica, Slipknot, and Soundgarden.
  • The festival also features food vendors, beer gardens, and other entertainment options.

3. Country Jam

Country Jam is one of the largest country music festivals in Ohio, bringing together the hottest acts in country music for a weekend of fun, music, and dancing. Some highlights of the festival include:

  • The festival started in 2013 and has grown in popularity ever since.
  • The festival features some of the biggest names in country music, including Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and Miranda Lambert.
  • The festival also features food vendors, beer gardens, and other entertainment options.
  • The festival takes place over three days in August at the Legend Valley Music Center.

4. Columbus Arts Festival

The Columbus Arts Festival is an annual celebration of the arts, featuring live music, dance, theater, and other cultural performances. The festival attracts thousands of people every year and is a great way to experience the art and music scene in Columbus. Some key features of the festival include:

  • The festival started in 1962 and has been a staple in the Columbus arts scene ever since.
  • The festival showcases the work of over 230 artists and performers from around the country.
  • Live music performances take place throughout the festival, featuring a variety of genres and artists.
  • The festival also features a wide range of food and drink vendors, selling everything from craft beers to gourmet sandwiches.
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5. Columbus Food Truck Festival

The Columbus Food Truck Festival is a celebration of the city’s diverse food scene, featuring hundreds of food trucks and vendors from around the area. The festival also features live music, craft beer, and other entertainment options. Some interesting facts about the festival include:

  • The festival started in 2010 and has grown in popularity ever since.
  • The festival features over 75 food vendors, selling everything from gourmet sandwiches to vegan tacos.
  • The festival also features live music performances, featuring local and national acts.
  • The festival has expanded to include multiple locations across Columbus, making it accessible to more people than ever before.
Jazz & Rib Festival Rock on the Range Country Jam Columbus Arts Festival Columbus Food Truck Festival
Started 1981 2007 2013 1962 2010
Location Scioto Mile Mapfre Stadium Legend Valley Music Center Downtown Columbus Multiple Locations
Duration 3 days 3 days 3 days 3 days 2 days
Number of Performers 30+ 50+ 20+ 230+ N/A
Attendance Thousands Over 100,000 Thousands Thousands Thousands
Unique Features Jazz Music, Ribs, Free Admission Rock Music, Multiple Stages, Largest Rock Festival in US Country Music, Food, Beer Gardens Arts Performances, Food, Beer Gardens Food Trucks, Live Music, Craft Beer, Multiple Locations

Overall, Columbus is a great place for live music lovers, with a diverse range of festivals taking place throughout the year. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, country, or something in between, there’s a festival for you in Columbus.

FAQs About Live Music in Columbus OH

What are some popular venues for live music in Columbus OH?

Some popular venues for live music in Columbus OH include the Newport Music Hall, Ace of Cups, Skully’s Music-Diner, and the Bluestone.

What types of music can I expect to hear in Columbus OH?

Columbus OH has a diverse music scene, offering a variety of genres such as rock, hip hop, jazz, blues, electronic, and more. Some venues specialize in certain genres or feature specific artists, while others have a more eclectic mix of music.

Are there any free live music events in Columbus OH?

Yes, there are several free live music events in Columbus OH throughout the year, such as the Jazz & Rib Fest, ComFest, and the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival. Additionally, some venues offer free music shows or open mic nights.

What resources can I use to find live music events in Columbus OH?

You can find live music events in Columbus OH using websites such as Songkick, Bandsintown, and Columbus Alive. Local newspapers and magazines may also have listings, as well as individual venue websites and social media pages.

Can I find live music events for all ages in Columbus OH?

Yes, there are live music events for all ages in Columbus OH. Many venues have shows that are open to all ages or have certain nights where minors are allowed with adult supervision. Additionally, some outdoor festivals and events are family-friendly.

What should I wear to a live music show in Columbus OH?

The dress code for live music shows in Columbus OH depends on the venue and the type of music. Some venues may have a more formal dress code, while others may be more casual. It’s always a good idea to check the venue’s website or call ahead to see if there are any dress code requirements.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to a live music show in Columbus OH?

Most venues do not allow outside food or drinks, as they have their own menu and bar available. However, some outdoor festivals and events may allow outside food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Is it necessary to buy tickets in advance for a live music show in Columbus OH?

It’s always recommended to buy tickets in advance for a live music show in Columbus OH, as it guarantees you a spot and prevents you from having to wait in line. However, some venues may allow you to purchase tickets at the door, depending on availability.

Can I book a private event with live music in Columbus OH?

Yes, many venues in Columbus OH offer private event space with live music options. This can range from small gatherings to large corporate events. It’s best to contact the venue directly to inquire about private event bookings.

What is the atmosphere like at live music shows in Columbus OH?

The atmosphere at live music shows in Columbus OH can vary depending on the venue and type of music. Some venues have a more laid-back, intimate atmosphere, while others may be high-energy and crowded. It’s always a good idea to research the venue beforehand to get an idea of the vibe.


In conclusion, live music in Columbus OH is a thriving scene with plenty of options for all tastes and ages. There are many popular venues to choose from, and resources available for finding events and shows. It’s important to be aware of dress codes, outside food and drink policies, and purchasing tickets in advance. After reading this article, you can plan your next live music outing in Columbus OH with confidence. Enjoy the music! Don’t forget to check out our other articles for more interesting content. Goodbye!