Rockin In The Buckeye State Discover The Best Live Music Columbus Has To Offer

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Welcome to “Live Music Columbus” – your ultimate guide to the vibrant music scene in the heart of Ohio. Whether you’re a music fanatic or simply looking for a fun night out with friends, our article has got you covered. We understand the struggle of finding quality live music events in the city, and that’s why we’ve curated a list of some of the most exciting upcoming shows that you won’t want to miss.

By reading this article, you can expect to discover new venues, meet talented local musicians, and experience unforgettable performances that will leave you craving for more. From intimate acoustic sets to high-energy rock concerts, we’ve scoured the city to find the best of the best. Whether you’re interested in jazz, blues, hip-hop, or indie rock, there’s something for everyone in Columbus.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the most dynamic music scenes in the country. Our guide will provide you with insider tips and tricks to ensure that you have the best possible experience. You’ll learn how to navigate the city’s music scene like a pro, and discover hidden gems that you won’t find anywhere else. So grab your friends, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready to rock out to some of the best live music that Columbus has to offer!

The Best Venues for Live Music in Columbus

Columbus, Ohio, is known for its vibrant music scene, where live music enthusiasts can enjoy their favorite jams every night of the week. With a plethora of venues catering to all genres of music, choosing the right venue can be an overwhelming task. In this ultimate guide to live music in Columbus, we’ve compiled a list of the top venues that you must visit to experience the best live music in the city.

Newport Music Hall

The Newport Music Hall is not just one of the best music venues in Columbus but has the distinction of being the oldest in the city. The historic venue that opened in 1923, has hosted some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Elvis Costello, Prince, and U2. The music hall has a rocking vibe and is the perfect spot to enjoy live music with friends.

  • The venue has a capacity of 1,700, which means that it offers an intimate experience to enjoy live music.
  • The venue is renowned for its fantastic sound system that delivers crystal-clear audio, making it a favorite with music lovers.
  • Despite its age, the venue is well-maintained, and the management is proactive about upgrading the facility to provide better amenities to visitors.

If you’re a music lover, the historic venue of Newport Music Hall is a must-visit for its iconic status and the excellent live music experience it delivers.

The Basement

Located beneath the renowned A&R Music Bar, The Basement is a popular underground venue for live music in Columbus. With a capacity of 300, the space is relatively small, which makes it a perfect spot for intimate concerts.

  • The venue has a basement-like feel, with low ceilings and an uncomplicated layout, providing a cozy atmosphere for music fans.
  • The stage at The Basement is just a few inches off the ground, allowing the audience to feel connected to the artists performing.
  • The sound quality at The Basement is excellent, with comfortable acoustics that suit the size of the venue.

The Basement is a hub for emerging and local artists to showcase their talent, making it a perfect spot for people to catch some of the most exciting up-and-coming musicians.

Express Live!

Express Live! is a relatively new venue, opened in 2001, and has quickly risen to become one of the most sought-after spots for live music in Columbus. The venue has a capacity of 2,200, making it the go-to destination for music enthusiasts looking for big-name acts.

  • The facility has top-notch lighting and sound equipment, delivering a superior live music experience.
  • The venue’s spacious balcony and standing areas provide excellent views of the stage, ensuring that visitors can enjoy the show from any spot.
  • Express Live! Is located in the Arena District of Columbus, a vibrant neighborhood with an array of bars and restaurants within walking distance.

Express Live! is the ultimate destination for music lovers, with its impressive facility serving as the perfect backdrop to enjoy live music in the heart of Columbus.

Venue Capacity Location
Newport Music Hall 1,700 Short North
The Basement 300 Downtown
Express Live! 2,200 Arena District

In summary, Columbus has an impressive line-up of venues providing music lovers with the ultimate live music experience. Whether it’s a big-name act or an upcoming artist, each venue offers an unparalleled setting to enjoy some good music.

Exploring the Diverse Live Music Scene in Columbus

Live music in Columbus has evolved over the years, attracting more and more music lovers to experience the city’s unique and diverse entertainment scene. From up-and-coming indie artists to established rock icons, Columbus offers a wide range of live music events that cater to different tastes and preferences. In this article, we will explore the city’s colorful and vibrant live music scene.

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The Best Venues for Live Music Columbus

Columbus is home to many venues that host live music events throughout the year. These venues offer different experiences and atmospheres, attracting a diverse crowd of music lovers. Here are some of the best venues for live music Columbus has to offer:

  • Newport Music Hall: This iconic venue is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Established in 1923, Newport Music Hall is the oldest continually operating rock club in the country. The venue has hosted numerous legendary acts like The Ramones, U2, and David Bowie, among others. With a capacity of 1,700, Newport Music Hall offers an intimate setting that allows fans to get up close and personal with their favorite artists.
  • A&R Music Bar: Located in the popular Arena District, A&R Music Bar is a small and intimate venue that hosts a range of local and national acts. The venue has a capacity of 400, providing an up-close and personal experience for fans. A&R Music Bar is known for its unique atmosphere and excellent acoustics.
  • The Basement: Located beneath the acclaimed restaurant and music venue, The Promowest Pavilion, The Basement is a hidden gem that offers an intimate experience for fans. With a capacity of 300, the venue has hosted many notable acts, including Arctic Monkeys and Tame Impala.
  • Express Live!: Formerly known as the LC Pavilion, Express Live! is a large outdoor amphitheater that can accommodate up to 5,200 fans. The venue has hosted popular acts like The Black Keys, Twenty One Pilots, and The Lumineers.

The Best Live Music Events in Columbus

Columbus is always buzzing with live music events that cater to different genres and styles. Whether you’re into rock, folk, or jazz, there’s always something for everyone. Here are some of the best live music events Columbus has to offer:

  • Comfest: Held annually in Goodale Park, Comfest is one of the largest free outdoor music festivals in the country. The festival offers a range of music styles, from rock to hip hop and jazz. In addition to music, Comfest also features arts and crafts exhibitions, food vendors, and community activism booths.
  • The Jazz & Ribs Fest: This popular festival is held annually in the Arena District along the Scioto River. The Jazz & Ribs Fest features a lineup of jazz musicians from all over the country and plenty of mouth-watering barbecue vendors.
  • Rock on the Range: This three-day rock festival is held annually at Mapfre Stadium and features some of the biggest names in the rock industry. Past performers have included Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Slipknot.
  • Sonic Temple Festival: Formerly known as the Rock on the Range festival, Sonic Temple is held annually at Mapfre Stadium and features a lineup of hard rock and heavy metal acts. The festival attracts fans from all over the country and has quickly become one of the most popular festivals for rock fans.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Live Music in Columbus

Like any form of entertainment, live music in Columbus has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of live music in Columbus:

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Opportunity to discover new talent
  • Chance to see your favorite artists up close
  • A wide range of music genres and styles to choose from
  • Some venues can be noisy and crowded
  • Weather can be unpredictable for outdoor events
  • Tickets to popular events can be expensive

Overall, Columbus’s live music scene offers a unique and diverse experience for music lovers. With its range of venues and events, the city has something for everyone, whether you’re a die-hard rock fan or a jazz aficionado. If you’re in Columbus, make sure to check out some of the city’s live music events and venues for an unforgettable experience.

The Top 3 Venues to Catch Live Music in Columbus

Music is an integral part of the Columbus community. It is no surprise that the city has several venues dedicated to showcasing live music. We have compiled a list of the top three venues to catch live music in Columbus.

1. Ace of Cups

Ace of Cups is a quintessential music venue in Columbus. It is a small, intimate space that holds up to 250 people. The venue is located in the University District, making it easily accessible for college students and others in the area. Here are some things to know about Ace of Cups:

  • The venue hosts shows almost every night of the week, featuring local and national acts.
  • The space has a killer sound system, making it a popular spot for musicians and concert-goers alike.
  • The atmosphere is laid-back, making it an ideal spot for an affordable night out with friends.

One unique aspect of Ace of Cups is their commitment to showcasing local music. They have a monthly event called “Local Love Night,” where local musicians are given the opportunity to perform for a packed house.

2. Newport Music Hall

The Newport Music Hall is a historic venue located in the University District of Columbus. It opened its doors in 1923 as a movie theater before transitioning into a music venue in the 1980s. It is one of the oldest continuously running rock clubs in the country. Here is what you need to know about the Newport Music Hall:

  • The venue can hold up to 1700 people, making it one of the largest concert venues in Columbus.
  • Famous musicians such as Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews Band, and U2 have played at the Newport Music Hall.
  • The venue has a full bar and a balcony with great views of the stage.

One unique aspect of the Newport Music Hall is its commitment to sustainability. They have implemented several initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and promote eco-friendliness. For example, they have replaced all single-use plastic cups with reusable cups, and they have a recycling program for concert-goers to use.

3. Rumba Cafe

Rumba Cafe is a small and cozy music venue located in the University District of Columbus. It opened its doors in 2004 and has since become a popular spot for live music in the city. Here are some things to know about Rumba Cafe:

  • The venue has a capacity of 200 people, making it an intimate space for musicians and fans.
  • Rumba Cafe is known for its eclectic music lineup, featuring everything from indie rock to jazz to salsa music.
  • The venue has a full bar and a small menu of bar food, making it an ideal spot for a fun and affordable night out.
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One unique aspect of Rumba Cafe is their commitment to showcasing music with Latin roots. They host a weekly event called “Latin Pop Dance Night,” where they play a mix of Latin pop music and offer salsa dance lessons.

Pros and Cons Table:

Venue Pros Cons
Ace of Cups
  • Laid-back atmosphere
  • Affordable ticket prices
  • Commitment to showcasing local music
  • Great sound system
  • Small capacity
  • No food served
  • Only 21 and over allowed
Newport Music Hall
  • Historic venue
  • Large capacity
  • Great views from the balcony
  • Famous acts perform there regularly
  • Tickets can be expensive
  • No food served
  • Limited parking options
Rumba Cafe
  • Eclectic music lineup
  • Intimate venue
  • Affordable ticket prices
  • Friendly atmosphere
  • Small capacity
  • No table service
  • No food options beyond bar snacks

Whether you are a local or a visitor to Columbus, these venues offer a unique and unforgettable live music experience. From intimate spaces to historic venues, there is something for every music lover in Columbus.

Enjoy a Night Out with These Live Music Columbus Hotspots

Columbus, Ohio may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about live music, but it has a thriving music scene that attracts both locals and tourists alike. From intimate bars to large concert venues, Columbus has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore four of the top live music hotspots in Columbus.

4. Ace of Cups

Ace of Cups is a bar located in the trendy Short North neighborhood of Columbus. The bar was opened in 2012 by four friends who were looking to create an intimate space for live music. Since then, it has become one of the most popular live music venues in the city, hosting both local and national acts.


Ace of Cups has a cozy and intimate atmosphere that makes for a unique and memorable live music experience. The space is decorated with psychedelic artwork and has a laid-back vibe that encourages conversation and mingling among patrons. The bar also has a spacious outdoor patio with seating and a fire pit, perfect for enjoying drinks and music on warm summer nights.


  • Ace of Cups hosts live music events several nights a week, showcasing a variety of genres ranging from indie rock to blues to hip hop.
  • The bar also hosts regular trivia nights and dance parties, making it a popular spot for locals to gather and socialize.
  • The venue occasionally hosts special events and themed parties, such as a Halloween party featuring local bands playing cover songs of their favorite musicians.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
– Intimate and cozy atmosphere – Limited capacity may make it difficult to get tickets for popular shows
– Wide range of live music genres – Limited food menu
– Spacious outdoor patio – Limited parking in the area

Real World Example: Ace of Cups Goes Viral During Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ace of Cups gained nationwide attention for its creative approach to hosting live music events. In partnership with a local production company, the bar installed a stage in its parking lot and began hosting drive-in concerts. These events quickly became popular and attracted national media attention, with Rolling Stone magazine highlighting Ace of Cups as an example of how small music venues are adapting during the pandemic.


Ace of Cups is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to experience live music in Columbus. Whether you’re a local looking for a night out or a tourist exploring the city, this bar offers a unique and memorable experience that’s worth checking out.

The Evolution of Live Music in Columbus: From Juvenile Jazz Bands to Internationally Renowned Acts

Over the past century, Columbus, Ohio has become a prominent and praised city for live music. From its quaint beginnings, the city has grown into a thriving cultural hub with diverse musical genres.

Early Days of Music in Columbus

During the early 1900s, Columbus was known for its “juvenile jazz bands” which played at local parties, church functions, and parades. These bands were made up of young musicians, many of whom later went on to become successful jazz musicians.

As the city grew, so did its music scene. In the 1920s, the Ohio State University (OSU) campus became a major hub for music. The school’s marching band and concert band were highly regarded and attracted top talent from around the country.

The Rise of Rock and Roll

In the 1950s and 60s, rock and roll began to dominate the music scene in Columbus. The city saw the emergence of several popular bands, including The Four Mints, The Rationals, and The Raiders.

The city also had several popular music venues during this time, such as the Agora Ballroom and the Palace Theatre, which hosted acts like Frank Sinatra, The Grateful Dead, and The Who.

The 70s and Beyond

In the 1970s, Columbus’s music scene diversified and became more experimental. Bands like Pere Ubu, Devo, and The McCoys gained national and international recognition.

The city’s music venues also underwent a transformation. The Newport Music Hall, which opened in 1974, became a popular spot for up-and-coming bands, while the Ohio Theatre and Palace Theatre continued to attract bigger acts.

The 90s and Present

In the 1990s, Columbus’s music scene exploded. The city saw the rise of several popular local acts, including RJD2, Guided by Voices, and The Black Keys.

The city also saw the opening of several music venues during this time, including The Basement, Skully’s Music-Diner, and Ace of Cups.

Today, Columbus continues to be a hub for live music. The city has numerous venues that cater to a variety of genres and a thriving local music scene.

Pros and Cons of Live Music in Columbus

Like any city, Columbus’s live music scene has its benefits and drawbacks.


  • Columbus has a diverse and thriving music scene
  • The city has venues that cater to a variety of genres and preferences
  • Columbus’s local music scene is often praised for its creativity and diversity
  • Columbus has a history of producing successful local acts who go on to national and international recognition


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the live music industry hard, leading to the closure of many music venues
  • Some argue that the city’s music scene is too homogenous and doesn’t do enough to promote diversity and inclusion
  • There can be issues with noise pollution and traffic congestion in areas with popular music venues
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Comparing Columbus to Other Cities

When it comes to live music, Columbus is often compared to other cities, both within Ohio and across the country.

Here’s how Columbus stacks up against some other cities when it comes to live music:

City Pros Cons
Columbus Diverse and thriving music scene. A history of producing successful local acts. Issues with noise pollution and traffic congestion in areas with popular music venues. Some argue that the city’s music scene is too homogenous.
Cincinnati Several popular music venues, including Riverbend Music Center and the Taft Theatre. A diverse range of genres and styles represented. As with Columbus, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the live music industry hard.
Cleveland Home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Boasts iconic music venues like The Agora and the House of Blues. Some argue that the city’s music scene is dominated by classic rock and doesn’t do enough to promote new and innovative sounds.
Austin, TX Famously dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Hosts numerous music festivals throughout the year, including South by Southwest (SXSW). High cost of living. Crowded and noisy during festival season.


Columbus has come a long way since its early days as a hub for juvenile jazz bands. Today, the city boasts a diverse and thriving music scene that has produced numerous successful local acts.

As with any city, there are pros and cons to the live music scene in Columbus. However, the city’s rich history of musical experimentation and innovation, combined with its numerous venues and diverse genres, make it a standout destination for music lovers of all kinds.

FAQs about Live Music in Columbus

What are some popular music venues in Columbus?

Columbus has a vibrant music scene, and some popular venues include Newport Music Hall, Ace of Cups, Skully’s Music-Diner, and Express Live!

What types of music can I expect to see in Columbus?

Columbus has a diverse music scene, and you can expect to see a range of genres, including rock, hip hop, country, indie, and electronic music.

Where can I see live jazz music in Columbus?

Dick’s Den, Notes, and Brothers Drake Meadery are some popular spots for live jazz music in Columbus.

What is the best way to find out about upcoming live music events in Columbus?

You can check out local event listings on websites such as or You can also follow your favorite venues and bands on social media to stay up-to-date on upcoming shows.

Is there an age requirement to attend concerts in Columbus?

Age requirements differ from venue to venue. Some may be 18+, 21+, or all-ages. Be sure to check the age requirements of the venue or event before purchasing tickets.

Can I buy tickets for concerts in Columbus online?

Yes, many venues offer online ticket sales through their website or other ticketing sites like Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, or Songkick.

Are there any free live music events in Columbus?

Yes, there are often free live music events in Columbus, especially during the summer months. You can check local event listings or follow Columbus Recreation and Parks on social media for information on free concerts.

Are there any outdoor music festivals in Columbus?

Yes, there are several outdoor music festivals in Columbus, including the Columbus Arts Festival and the Jazz and Ribs Festival. These festivals often feature live music performances in addition to other art and food vendors.

What should I wear to a live music event in Columbus?

Wear clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the venue and the type of music you will be seeing. Dressing in layers can also be helpful since the temperature inside the venue may differ from the outside.

Are there any rules I need to follow at live music events in Columbus?

Yes, most venues have rules such as no smoking, no outside food or drink, no weapons or illegal substances, and no recording without permission. Additionally, be respectful of the performers and other attendees.


Columbus is a great place to enjoy live music of all genres. With a variety of venues and events, there is something for everyone. Check out local event listings, follow your favorite bands and venues on social media, and stay up-to-date on the latest music happenings in Columbus. Wear comfortable clothes, be aware of venue rules, and most importantly, have fun!

After reading this article, you may want to plan a night out to experience live music in Columbus. Check out local event listings, purchase tickets in advance, and make dinner reservations at one of the many great restaurants in the area. At the end of the night, reflect on the experience and support local musicians by buying merchandise or streaming their music. Thank you for reading and see you at the next live music event!