Discover The Best Live Music Knoxville TN Has To Offer

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Welcome to the vibrant city of Knoxville, Tennessee, where live music is an integral part of the culture. For years, Knoxville has been putting on some of the best live music shows in the country, and this article is all about that. If you’re someone who loves music, then you probably know how it feels to attend a live concert. The adrenaline rush, the thumping beats, and the sheer joy of being surrounded by like-minded people are just some of the things that add to the fun. However, with so many options to choose from, it can be tough to decide where to go.

Are you itching to experience the thrill of live music in Knoxville but unsure of where to start? Perhaps you’re new to the city and want to explore the unique music scene, or maybe you’re a resident looking for a change of pace. Whatever your reason, this article is here to help. In the following paragraphs, we will take you on a journey through Knoxville’s vibrant live music culture. From the most popular venues to the lesser-known hidden gems, we’ve got you covered.

Our team of experienced music enthusiasts has researched and tested the best venues throughout Knoxville to give you an insider’s take on what to expect. We’ll cover everything from the atmosphere to the type of drinks served, so you can make an informed decision about where to go. Get ready for a fun-filled adventure through Knoxville’s live music scene, where you’re guaranteed to find something that appeals to your musical taste buds. Let’s dive right in!

The Best Venues for Live Music in Knoxville TN

Knoxville, Tennessee, is known as the home of the University of Tennessee and for its Southern charm. However, it is also a city with an incredible music scene with live music venues that cater to all types of musical tastes. Knoxville has some of the best performing spaces in the country where music lovers can feel at home while enjoying live performances. Here are some of the best venues for live music in Knoxville, TN.

Tennessee Theatre

The Tennessee Theatre is a beautifully restored 1920s-era theater located in the heart of downtown Knoxville. It has a seating capacity of 1,600 and offers an intimate and classic atmosphere that reflects the city’s rich history. The theater is the ideal space for all kinds of performances, including live music concerts.

The Tennessee Theatre is one of the few remaining examples of classic movie palaces from the early 20th century. The theater has been restored in its original design and remains a popular destination for music lovers in Knoxville. The venue has partnered with major concert promoters to bring some of the best-known names in the music industry to Knoxville.

  • The pros of Tennessee Theatre
  • The theater has a rich history and has been well-maintained to offer a classic atmosphere that is perfect for live music performances.
  • Its seating capacity of 1,600 provides an intimate setting that allows music lovers to enjoy their favorite artists from different genres up close.
  • The theater has collaborated with reputable concert promoters to bring big-name artists to the city, which is a major draw for music lovers in Knoxville.
  • The cons of Tennessee Theatre
  • The venue’s popularity and reputation can make it hard for emerging artists to perform on its stage.
  • The theater’s tickets can be relatively expensive since it is a premium venue.
  • The theater’s seating arrangement can be a challenge for some music fans who prefer standing-room-only concerts.
Pros Cons
The theater has an intimate setting that allows for up-close performances. The venue’s popularity and reputation can make it hard for emerging artists to perform on its stage.
The theater’s rich history and classic atmosphere make it an ideal venue for live music performances. The theater’s tickets can be relatively expensive since it is a premium venue.
The theater has partnered with prominent concert promoters to bring popular artists to Knoxville. The theater’s seating arrangement can be a challenge for some music fans who prefer standing-room-only concerts.

The Tennessee Theatre has hosted a range of popular music acts from all over the world, including the legendary funk musician George Clinton, the alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie, and the country music duo Thompson Square. The classic theater offers an intimate and impressive atmosphere with exceptional acoustics, which makes it a must-visit venue for music lovers in Knoxville, TN.

Live Music Venues in Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN is known for its vibrant and eclectic music scene, featuring live performances from a range of genres, including rock, blues, country, and indie. The city boasts an array of venues, each with its unique ambiance, sound systems, and audiences. In this section, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular live music venues in Knoxville and what makes them stand out.

The Bijou Theatre

The Bijou Theatre is an iconic live music venue located in the heart of downtown Knoxville. This historic venue has been entertaining audiences since 1909, with musicians ranging from Johnny Cash to Ray Charles to Bob Dylan gracing the stage. The theater has a seating capacity of 700 and features state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. In addition to live music performances, the Bijou also hosts comedy shows, film screenings, and other cultural events.

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The Mill & Mine

The Mill & Mine is a unique music venue that has quickly become one of Knoxville’s hottest spots for live music. This 20,000 square foot industrial space boasts a capacity of 1,200, making it one of the largest venues in the city. The venue features a massive stage, top-of-the-line sound and lighting, and an expansive bar area. The Mill & Mine has hosted a diverse range of acts, including rock bands like Cage the Elephant and indie favorites like Bon Iver.

The Tennessee Theatre

The Tennessee Theatre is another historic venue located in downtown Knoxville. Built in 1928, this stunning theater features a lavish interior with ornate details and a capacity of 1,600. The venue hosts a variety of events, including live music performances, Broadway shows, and classic film screenings. The Tennessee Theatre has hosted some of the biggest names in music, including Louis Armstrong, Pearl Jam, and Aretha Franklin.

The Pilot Light

For those looking for a more intimate live music experience, The Pilot Light is a must-visit venue. This cozy, 80-person capacity club features a small stage and a laid-back atmosphere. The Pilot Light specializes in booking up-and-coming acts in a range of genres, making it an excellent place to discover new music. The venue has hosted such acts as The Black Lips, The Mountain Goats, and Bonny Doon.

The Open Chord

The Open Chord is a music venue and music store rolled into one. This unique space features a performance venue with a capacity of 200, a recording studio, and a full-service music store. The Open Chord hosts a variety of events, including open mic nights, karaoke, and live music performances ranging from blues and country to rock and metal. The venue has also hosted workshops and seminars on music-related topics.

The Concourse at the International

The Concourse at the International is a relatively new addition to Knoxville’s live music scene. This modern, multi-level venue features a capacity of 1,100, making it one of the larger venues in the city. The Concourse has a sleek, modern design, top-notch sound and lighting systems, and multiple bars spread throughout the venue. The venue has hosted a range of acts, including rap artists like Lil Skies and electronic acts like Rusko.

Venue Capacity Special Features
The Bijou Theatre 700 Historic venue with state-of-the-art sound and lighting
The Mill & Mine 1,200 Massive stage and bar area
The Tennessee Theatre 1,600 Lavish interior and marquee events
The Pilot Light 80 Intimate club setting and up-and-coming acts
The Open Chord 200 Combination music store, venue, and recording studio
The Concourse at the International 1,100 Sleek modern design with multiple bars
  • The Bijou Theatre, The Tennessee Theatre, and The Pilot Light are all historic venues with unique architecture and charm
  • The Mill & Mine and The Concourse at the International are larger, more modern venues with top-of-the-line sound and lighting systems
  • The Open Chord offers a unique music store and recording studio service in addition to live music performances
  • Each venue has its niche, offering experiences ranging from intimate, up-and-coming acts to larger, more popular events

In conclusion, Knoxville’s live music scene is vibrant and diverse, with a range of venues to suit any musical taste. Whether you’re into historic theaters, intimate clubs, or modern concert halls, Knoxville has something to offer. From established acts to up-and-coming artists, there’s always something new to discover and enjoy in Knoxville’s live music scene.

How to Find the Hottest Live Music Shows in Knoxville TN

Knoxville, Tennessee has one of the most vibrant and diverse music scenes in the country. With a rich history in traditional country, bluegrass, and blues, the music community in Knoxville has evolved to incorporate rock, hip-hop, and electronic music genres. It is a city that truly embraces live music, and there are always exciting performances taking place. But with so many options, how do you find the best live music shows in Knoxville TN? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Ask the Locals

One of the best ways to discover the hottest live music shows in Knoxville is to ask the locals. Most Knoxvillians are passionate about their music scene and can provide you with insider knowledge about upcoming shows, hidden gems, and must-see performances. Be sure to talk to the staff at local music venues, music stores, and record shops, as they are often the first to hear about upcoming concerts and events.

Check Local Event Listings

Many media outlets in Knoxville dedicate significant coverage to music events in the area. From local newspapers and magazines to online platforms like Visit Knoxville and Knoxville Live Music, there are plenty of resources to help you find the best live music shows. Make sure to check the event listings in these sources regularly to stay up-to-date on the latest music happenings.

Join Social Media Groups

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to connect with the local music community in Knoxville. Joining social media groups dedicated to live music in Knoxville can help you stay informed about upcoming shows and connect with like-minded music enthusiasts. Popular groups include Knoxville Music Scene, Knoxville Live Music Calendar, and Knoxville Music Warehouse.

Compare Ticket Prices

Ticket prices for live music shows in Knoxville can vary greatly depending on the venue, performing artist, and time of year. It is always a good idea to compare prices across multiple platforms to ensure that you are getting the best deal. Websites like StubHub, SeatGeek, and Ticketmaster all offer ticket sales for Knoxville music events, with options to sort by price, venue, and artist.

Attend Local Music Festivals

Knoxville hosts several music festivals throughout the year that showcase local and national artists. These festivals are a great way to experience the best of the local music scene in one event. Some popular festivals include Rhythm N’ Blooms, Big Ears, and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. Many of these festivals offer day passes in addition to full weekend packages, making it easy to tailor your experience to your budget.

Create Your Own Music Tour

If you are feeling adventurous, create your own music tour of Knoxville. Many music venues are located within walking distance of each other, making it easy to explore the local music scene in a DIY fashion. You can also use online resources like Google Maps to plot out your route and ensure that you don’t miss any performances.

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Pros and Cons Table

Pros Cons
Opportunity to discover new local talent Ticket prices can be expensive for popular artists
Chance to experience different music genres Some shows may be sold out quickly
Meet other music enthusiasts at shows Inconvenient schedules and long wait times to get inside the venue
Expand your social circle by joining music groups Some venues may have limited accessibility for special needs

Overall, finding the hottest live music shows in Knoxville TN requires some effort and research, but the rewards are well worth it. Whether you’re a fan of country, rock, or electronic music, Knoxville has something for everyone. By using the tips listed above, you can tap into the local music scene and discover some amazing new artists and experiences.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Venue for Live Music

Live music venues in Knoxville TN are diverse and can be overwhelming for newcomers. Choosing the right venue is crucial for an enjoyable experience. Here are some things to consider when picking a venue for live music.


One of the major factors to consider when choosing a venue for live music is its location. Convenience is key, and you don’t want to drive out of the way just to see your favorite band play. If you’re on vacation, it’s essential to find a venue that is accessible to public transportation or nearby your hotel. Fortunately, Knoxville TN has options that can cater to the needs of different music enthusiasts.

Size and Capacity

The size and capacity of the venue should match the type of music you are interested in. If you want an intimate setting for a jazz quartet or folk singer, then choose a small venue that accommodates only a handful of people. If you’re looking for a massive concert-like atmosphere, then opt for a larger venue with a capacity for thousands of people.

Sound Quality and Acoustics

Sound quality and acoustics are crucial for an enjoyable live music experience. A venue with poor sound quality can ruin a concert, no matter how good the musician is. Before purchasing tickets or attending a show, research the quality of sound and acoustics of the venue. Look for venues with a sound system that can handle different types of music and has good acoustics.

Atmosphere and Ambiance

The atmosphere and ambiance of a venue can make or break a show. Some people prefer a laid-back ambiance, while others prefer a high-energy atmosphere. Choose a venue that matches the type of music and ambiance you’re looking for. Venues with a lively atmosphere are great for upbeat and energetic music, while venues with a relaxed ambiance are suitable for jazz and classical music.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Venues

Different types of venues offer unique live music experiences. Here are the pros and cons of the different types of venues in Knoxville TN.

Type of Venue Pros Cons
Bars and Pubs
  • Intimate setting
  • Casual atmosphere
  • Access to food and drinks
  • Noise from conversations
  • May not specialize in live music
Concert Halls
  • Great sound quality and acoustics
  • Professional stage setup
  • Seats or standing area provided
  • Expensive tickets
  • Formal attire may be required
  • Less interactive environment
Outdoor Venues
  • Ample space for socializing and dancing
  • Seasonal events
  • Unique ambiance
  • Weather concerns
  • Noise restrictions
  • May not offer seating areas


Choosing the right venue for live music is a crucial step towards a memorable experience. Consider these factors, including location, size, sound quality and acoustics, and ambiance. Each type of venue has its pros and cons as illustrated by the table. By choosing the right venue that suits your preferences and style, you can enjoy live music in Knoxville TN the right way.

The History of Live Music in Knoxville TN and its Influence Today

Knoxville, Tennessee, a city known for its picturesque views of the Great Smoky Mountains, is also recognized for its rich history of live music. From the early 1900s to the present, Knoxville has played a significant role in the music industry, which has ultimately influenced its cultural identity. This article examines the evolution of live music in Knoxville, highlighting its influence on the city’s cultural landscape.

The Early Days of Live Music in Knoxville

In the early 1900s, Knoxville was home to a vibrant music scene, with venues such as White’s Opera House, Staub’s Theatre, and the Bijou Theatre hosting popular musical concerts. As early as 1919, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, and other jazz legends performed in Knoxville, reflecting the city’s love for different genres of music.

The establishment of the Tennessee Valley Fair in 1919 further boosted the live music scene in Knoxville, providing a venue for famous entertainers like Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, and The Carter Family to showcase their talents. The fair has consistently featured music as one of its main attractions, with a wide range of genres from bluegrass to country to rock and roll.

Music Venues in Knoxville: Then and Now

Knoxville’s live music scene has evolved significantly over the decades with venues mirroring the changing trends in musical genres. During the 1950s and ’60s, The Cas Walker Farm and Home Show hosted some of the biggest names in country music, including Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells, and Loretta Lynn.

In the 1970s, Knoxville’s live music scene shifted towards rock and roll, with venues like The Bijou Theatre and The Tennessee Theatre hosting shows by popular groups like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Later on, in the 1980s and ’90s, bars and clubs like The Underground and Sassy Ann’s showcased local talent from various genres, from indie rock to punk.

Today, Knoxville’s live music scene continues to thrive, with a wide variety of venues catering to different musical tastes. The Bijou Theatre, the Tennessee Theatre, and the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum are some of the venues that continue to host popular musicians from different genres like country, rock, and rap.

Knoxville’s Music Festivals

Knoxville’s music festivals are a testament to the city’s love for live music, drawing in large crowds each year. The International Biscuit Festival, for instance, features a range of performances and has even hosted famous musicians such as Martina McBride in its earlier years.

Another famous festival is the Big Ears Festival. Founded in 2009, it has since become a premier event for avant-garde, contemporary classical, and experimental music, highlighting Knoxville’s rich musical history and diversity.

Influence on Knoxville’s Culture

The evolution of Knoxville’s live music scene has had a significant impact on the city’s cultural identity. Knoxville’s love for music has inspired the creation of local schools and programs that teach music to children, such as the Community School of the Arts and the University of Tennessee’s School of Music.

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As a result, Knoxville has produced many successful musicians and bands, such as The Black Lillies, who have gained widespread recognition on the national and international stage.

Pros and Cons of Knoxville’s Live Music Scene

Pros Cons
  • Knoxville’s live music scene has contributed to the city’s cultural identity and reputation as a destination for music lovers.
  • It has generated significant revenue for the city, through tourism and music-related events.
  • It offers a platform for local musicians to showcase their talents, leading to potential opportunities for exposure and growth.
  • Noise complaints from residents living near music venues.
  • The increasing cost of tickets and the over-commercialization of the music industry can make it challenging for local musicians and music lovers alike to access live music shows.
  • The lack of diversity in music genres can limit exposure to various musical tastes and prevent people from experiencing the richness of different cultures.

In conclusion, Knoxville’s live music scene has experienced an evolution that mirrors the changes in the wider music industry. From jazz and country to rock and indie, Knoxville’s history of live music has presented an opportunity for the development of local talent and has ultimately contributed to the city’s cultural identity. Despite the challenges, Knoxville’s vibrant and varied music scene continues to draw in music lovers from all over the world.

FAQs: Live Music Knoxville TN

What are some popular live music venues in Knoxville?

Some popular live music venues in Knoxville include the Bijou Theatre, the Tennessee Theatre, the Pilot Light, and Preservation Pub. Each of these venues offers a different atmosphere and style of music, so make sure to research beforehand to find the one that suits your tastes.

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

You can expect to hear a variety of music in Knoxville, ranging from blues and rock to country and bluegrass. There are plenty of local bands as well as bigger acts that come through Knoxville, so keep an eye out for upcoming shows.

How often are there live music events in Knoxville?

Live music events in Knoxville happen frequently, with daily shows at some venues and big events happening throughout the year. The city also hosts festivals like the Big Ears Festival and the Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival that showcase a variety of musicians.

Can I find live music events for free in Knoxville?

Yes, there are often free live music events in Knoxville, especially during the warmer months. Many bars and restaurants offer live music for free, and outdoor events like Market Square’s Sundown in the City often feature free concerts.

Are there any outdoor live music venues in Knoxville?

Yes, there are outdoor live music venues in Knoxville, such as the World’s Fair Park and Ijams Nature Center. These venues often host summertime concert series and outdoor festivals as well.

Can I find live music events that are family-friendly?

Yes, there are plenty of live music events in Knoxville that are family-friendly. Events like the Knoxville Brewers’ Jam offer live music and craft beer for adults, but also have a designated space for children. Outdoor festivals often have kid-friendly activities and food options as well.

What are some upcoming live music events in Knoxville?

Some upcoming live music events in Knoxville include the Knoxville Opera’s “On the Air!”, Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin at the Bijou Theatre, and the Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival. Make sure to check the schedules of your favorite venues for more upcoming shows.

Where can I find tickets for live music events in Knoxville?

You can find tickets for live music events in Knoxville through the venue’s website, Ticketmaster, or through the artist’s website. It’s always a good idea to buy tickets in advance, as some shows may sell out quickly.

Can I perform at a live music venue in Knoxville?

It’s possible to perform at a live music venue in Knoxville, but it depends on the venue and their booking process. Some venues may require a demo or EPK, while others may offer open mic nights or showcase events for new artists. It’s best to reach out to the venue and ask about their booking process.

Are there any live music events happening in Knoxville tonight?

Check the schedules of local venues and bars to see if there are any live music events happening in Knoxville tonight. Some venues may not post their schedules online, so calling ahead may be helpful.


Knoxville, TN is a great city for live music, with plenty of venues offering a variety of music styles and frequent events throughout the year. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, there’s always something happening in the city’s music scene. Make sure to check out the schedules of your favorite venues and keep an eye out for outdoor festivals and events. You never know who you might discover or what new music you’ll fall in love with. Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!