Greetings, music lovers! If you are looking for a city that never disappoints when it comes to live music, Portland, Maine should be at the top of your list. Mainers are proud of their musical heritage, and you will find plenty of venues showcasing local musicians as well as top-notch acts from near and far. In this article, we will explore the best places to catch a live show in Portland, and how to make the most of your music-filled nights out.
Are you tired of the same old bar scene? Do you crave the energy of live music to connect with others and express your emotions? By reading this article, you can expect to discover a vibrant and eclectic music scene in Portland, Maine. Whether you are into bluegrass, indie rock, folk or jazz, there is a show waiting for you. From small intimate spaces to large outdoor festivals, Portland has something for every music lover, and we will help you find the perfect spot to enjoy your favorite sounds.
But where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will provide you with an insider’s guide to the best live music venues in Portland, Maine. We will tell you where to find the up-and-coming local artists and where to catch the big names when they come to town. You will learn about the unique atmosphere of each venue, what kind of music you can expect to hear, and how to get there. So sit back, relax, and let us guide you to a world of musical delight!
The Best Live Music Venues in Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine is a vibrant city that is known for its dining scene, scenic views, and outdoor activities. However, music lovers can also find an abundance of live music venues in Portland, Maine. In this subsection, we will be highlighting the top live music venues in Portland, Maine that every music lover should visit.
1. State Theatre
State Theatre is one of the biggest and most notable live music venues in Portland, Maine. It is a historic venue that was built in 1929 and initially served as a movie theatre. Today, State Theatre has grown into a top destination for live music, comedy shows, and other events.
The Experience: The venue can accommodate up to 1,500 people and is known for its state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. State Theatre boasts a balcony and a mezzanine, providing a great view of the stage from all angles. It is the perfect venue for seeing your favorite band or artist perform live.
- Capacity of up to 1,500 people.
- Balcony and mezzanine for better viewing of the stage.
- State-of-the-art lighting and sound system.
- Fully licensed bar with concessions available.
- Easy access to public transportation and parking.
- Great for seeing your favorite band or artist perform live.
- Lively atmosphere and great sound quality.
- Spacious with comfortable seating.
- Shows can sell out quickly, so it is important to buy tickets in advance.
- Some concert-goers may find the venue’s bar prices to be somewhat high.
- Located in a busy area of downtown Portland, which can make finding parking difficult.
|State Theatre||Port City Music Hall|
|Capacity||Up to 1,500 people||Up to 650 people|
|Location||Downtown Portland||Adjacent to Old Port District|
|Features||State-of-the-art lighting and sound system, balcony and mezzanine, licensed bar with concessions available||Full bar and concessions available, accessible, intimate setting|
|Pros||Spacious with comfortable seating, lively atmosphere||Great sound quality, intimate setting|
|Cons||Located in a busy area with limited parking, bar prices can be expensive||Shows can sell out quickly, limited seating options|
If you want to catch a live music event in Portland, Maine, State Theatre is one of the best places to go. Its state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment, combined with the venue’s comfortable seating and lively atmosphere, make it a fantastic place to see your favorite musicians and bands play. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time, as shows here can sell out quickly.
Live Music Venues in Portland
Portland, Maine boasts a vibrant music scene with live music venues catering to all kinds of music lovers. Whether you’re looking for big-name acts or local bands, Portland has a venue with the perfect atmosphere to enjoy live music. Here are some of the best live music venues in Portland.
1. The State Theatre
The State Theatre, located in downtown Portland, has been a staple in the local music scene since it opened in 1929. This historic theater has a capacity of 1,870 and has hosted acts such as Bob Dylan, Wilco, and James Taylor. In addition to music, the State Theatre also hosts comedy shows and other events.
2. Port City Music Hall
The Port City Music Hall is a premier live music venue located in the heart of downtown Portland. The venue has a capacity of 570 and boasts state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. The Port City Music Hall has hosted a variety of popular bands and artists, including The Decemberists, The Lumineers, and The Head and the Heart.
3. One Longfellow Square
One Longfellow Square is an intimate venue with a capacity of up to 150 people, making it the perfect spot for smaller shows and local acts. This music venue has a cozy atmosphere and hosts a variety of performances, including folk, jazz, and blues music.
Aura is a multi-level venue that can accommodate up to 1,000 people, making it one of the largest music venues in Portland. This venue offers a spacious main floor and a balcony with great views of the stage. Aura has hosted a variety of popular bands and musicians, including Cold War Kids and Guster.
5. Thompson’s Point
Thompson’s Point is an outdoor concert venue located on a waterfront property that can hold up to 5,000 people. This venue hosts both smaller and larger shows, as well as festivals such as the popular summer music festival, the Thompson’s Point Summer Concert Series. The venue also features food trucks, beer gardens, and other amenities.
Pros and Cons of Different Live Music Venues
Different music venues offer unique experiences for music lovers, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of different live music venues in Portland.
|The State Theatre||
|Port City Music Hall||
|One Longfellow Square||
Ultimately, choosing the right venue for you depends on your personal preferences and the type of show you’re looking to see. Whether you prefer an intimate setting or you’re looking to see a bigger show, Portland has a variety of venues to choose from.
How to Find the Best Live Music Performances in Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine is known for its vibrant live music scene. From well-known venues to hidden gems, the city offers a range of nightlife options for music lovers. But with so many choices, it can be overwhelming to find the best shows. In this article, we’ll break down the different ways to find the best live music performances in Portland, Maine.
Online Listings and Tools
The easiest way to find live music performances in Portland, Maine is by searching for online listings and tools. These websites and apps provide a comprehensive list of events happening in the area. Here are some popular options:
- Jambase: This website offers a calendar of live music events in Portland, Maine, and nearby cities. Users can filter the events by date, location, and genre.
- Eventful: This website features a section dedicated to live shows in Portland, Maine. Users can search for events by date, location, and category.
- Portland Press Herald: The local newspaper has an online calendar of events that includes live music performances in Portland, Maine.
- Facebook Events: Many venues and artists create Facebook events to promote their shows. Users can search for live music events in Portland, Maine on Facebook and see which shows their friends are interested in attending.
These online listings and tools make it easy to find live music performances in Portland, Maine. They provide detailed information about the shows, such as the venue, time, and cost. They also offer a way to buy tickets or RSVP for the event.
Word of Mouth
Another way to find the best live music performances in Portland, Maine is through word of mouth. Talking to locals, musicians, and music enthusiasts can lead to discovering hidden gems and upcoming shows. Here are some ways to tap into the local music community:
- Visit local music stores: Music stores such as Bull Moose and Strange Maine often have flyers and posters promoting upcoming shows in Portland, Maine.
- Talk to musicians: Attend local shows and meet local musicians. They can provide insight into the music scene and recommend upcoming shows.
- Join local music groups: Websites like Meetup.com have groups dedicated to live music in Portland, Maine.
- Attend festivals: Portland, Maine hosts several music festivals throughout the year, including the Portland Jazz Festival and the Old Port Festival. These events attract both local and national artists.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool when it comes to finding live music performances in Portland, Maine. It allows music lovers to tap into the local community and discover new artists and venues.
Venues and Ticket Sales
One final way to find live music performances in Portland, Maine is by researching the different venues in the area. Many venues have a regular schedule of live shows and host both local and national artists. Researching these venues and purchasing tickets ahead of time can ensure that music lovers never miss a show. Here are some popular venues in Portland, Maine:
|Port City Music Hall||Rock, Indie, Folk, Roots||550||Central location, full-service bar, large capacity||No parking lot, can get crowded|
|State Theatre||Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, Country||1600||Spacious theatre, historic venue, full-service bar||High ticket prices, limited parking|
|One Longfellow Square||Folk, Blues, Jazz, World||110||Intimate setting, full-service bar, affordable tickets||Small capacity, limited parking|
Researching different venues and ticket sales can help music lovers find the best live music performances in Portland, Maine. It provides a way to plan ahead and ensure that they don’t miss out on any shows. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some venues have drawbacks, such as limited parking or high ticket prices.
In conclusion, there are several ways to find the best live music performances in Portland, Maine. Online listings and tools make it easy to search for upcoming events, word of mouth allows music lovers to tap into the local community, and researching different venues and ticket sales can provide a way to plan ahead. Whether it’s a local artist or a national headliner, Portland, Maine offers something for everyone when it comes to live music.
Exploring the Best Venues for Live Music in Portland
Portland, Maine is known for its vibrant music scene and its plethora of live music venues. Whether you prefer indie rock or jazz, folk or punk, Portland has something to offer for everyone. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best venues for live music in Portland that you should definitely check out.
Showcase Lounge at Higher Grounds
The Showcase Lounge at Higher Grounds is a popular live music venue in Portland that started in 2014. The venue is located in the heart of downtown Portland and features an intimate stage with a capacity of around 200 people.
- The Showcase Lounge features a variety of local and national acts, ranging from indie rock to hip hop to folk music.
- The venue also hosts regular events, such as trivia nights and open mic nights.
- On show nights, the venue also serves food and drinks.
- The interior of the venue is decorated with warm wood paneling and exposed brick.
If you’re looking for a cozy venue to catch a show, the Showcase Lounge is definitely worth checking out.
Port City Music Hall
Port City Music Hall is a larger venue located in the heart of Portland’s Arts District. The venue opened in 2010 and has a capacity of around 500 people.
- Port City Music Hall hosts a variety of genres, from indie rock to jazz to electronic music.
- The venue also hosts regular events, such as comedy shows and burlesque nights.
- The interior of the venue is spacious, with high ceilings and ample room for dancing.
- The sound system at Port City Music Hall is top-notch, ensuring an excellent audio experience for all show-goers.
If you’re looking for a larger venue to catch a show, Port City Music Hall is definitely worth your time.
Empire is another popular music venue in Portland, but with a twist: it’s a multi-purpose space that also includes a restaurant and bar.
- Empire offers a wide variety of genres, ranging from indie rock to hip hop to metal.
- The venue also hosts regular events, such as karaoke nights and trivia nights.
- The interior of the venue is spacious, with two floors and multiple rooms for customers to explore.
- The food at Empire is also consistently delicious, so you can enjoy a meal before or after the show.
If you’re looking for a unique musical experience, plus a great meal and drinks, Empire is definitely worth your time.
One Longfellow Square
One Longfellow Square is a non-profit live music venue located in the West End of Portland. The venue features an intimate stage and a beautiful interior, making it a great location for enjoying live music.
- One Longfellow Square offers a wide range of genres, from jazz to bluegrass to classical music.
- The venue also hosts regular events, such as workshops and community events.
- The interior of the venue is cozy, with a balcony level and a bar for drinks.
- One Longfellow Square is also committed to supporting local artists and musicians, making it a great choice for those who want to support the local music scene.
If you’re looking to enjoy live music in a cozy and intimate environment, One Longfellow Square is definitely worth checking out.
Comparison Table of Venues
|Showcase Lounge||200||Indie rock, hip hop, folk||Trivia nights, open mic nights||Yes|
|Port City Music Hall||500||Indie rock, jazz, electronic||Comedy shows, burlesque nights||No|
|Empire||Varies||Indie rock, hip hop, metal||Karaoke nights, trivia nights||Yes|
|One Longfellow Square||Varies||Jazz, bluegrass, classical||Workshops, community events||No|
When it comes to choosing the perfect venue for live music, it all depends on what you’re looking for. Whether you’re in the mood for an intimate experience or a larger venue with a lively atmosphere, Portland has something to offer for everyone.
From Jazz to Blues: Genres of Live Music in Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine, is a renowned destination for live music enthusiasts. Musical performances in the city span an array of genres from jazz, rock, folk, blues to bluegrass. Here, we explore some of the popular genres of live music in Portland, Maine that promises a fantastic musical experience to locals and visitors alike.
Portland’s jazz scene is thriving, with plenty of venues hosting top-notch performers from renowned jazz players to up-and-coming artists. Jazz lovers flock to the city to attend the enticing performances at well-known jazz clubs like Blue, which earned the title of “One of the Best Jazz Clubs in the US” by Downbeat Magazine multiple times. Here are the key features of jazz performances in Portland:
- Prominent jazz festivals
- The Portland Jazz Festival is one of the major events in the city that celebrates the tradition of jazz music, bringing together noted jazz musicians from all over the country.
- Versatile Jazz Artists
- Local jazz musicians like Tony Boffa and Duncan Hardy are highly appreciated in the region and loved by the audience. They often experiment with different styles, making jazz music even more diverse.
- Vibrant Jazz Clubs
- Portland has numerous jazz clubs, and some like Blue and The Portland House of Music have a rich history and reputation for hosting great jazz shows
- Supportive Community
- Jazz in Portland has a welcoming and supportive community. The state offers grants, funding and a vast range of resources for budding Jazz musicians, making it easier for them to showcase their talents.
Portland’s rock scene is a perfect mix of underground and overground music, attracting both established and upcoming performers. The city has an impressive selection of live music venues playing host to an array of music performances, including rock.
- Diverse Venues
- From small, underground clubs like Geno’s Rock Club to the grand outdoor space of Thompson’s Point, the city offers a diverse range of venues for rock music.
- Homegrown talent
- Portland boasts of having some credible indie rock bands like the Hi Tiger and Lisa/Liza, which have gained a loyal following in the city and beyond.
- International acts
- International acts like KISS and Bob Dylan have performed in the city, adding to the diversity in music offering
- Eclectic Music Festivals
- Portland is also known for hosting annual musically diverse festivals like the Portland Old Port Festival and the POPJAM Pre-Party that brings together both local and international rock artists.
Portland’s folk music is intimately tied to the region’s rich history, culture, and sea-faring traditions. Many well-respected folk artists have their roots in the city, where they continue writing and performing original songs. Here are some of the key features of Portland’s folk music:
- Rich local history
- Folk with deep roots in Maine’s logging and sea-faring traditions, the music genre continues to resonate in the people and culture of the city till today.
- Relaxed Venues
- Unplugged and intimate performances by acclaimed artists can be enjoyed at iconic Venues like One Longfellow Square and Port City’s Music Hall.
- Engaging Folk Festivals
- Portland is home to many folk festivals, such as the Portland Folk Festival, which brings together both homegrown and renowned artists.
- Strong, Loyal Community
- Portland’s folk scene is centered around a supportive and tight-knit community of musicians and fans, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for new artists.
Blues music has remained a mainstay in Portland, with many performers showcasing their skills in small taverns or larger spaces in the city. Blues music in Portland has a distinct style and presentation, with emphasis on storytelling and improvisation.
- Legendary Venues
- Venues such as Time Out Pub and Portland House of Music and Events have been hosting blues performers for decades, providing a perfect place for Blues enthusiasts to enjoy a great performance.
- Homegrown Talent
- Many notable blues musicians, such as Seth Warner and Samuel James, trace their roots to Portland. They continue to awaken the audience to the genre and keep them entertained with their unique styles.
- Annual Blues Festival
- The Maine Blues Festival is an annual music event in Portland that brings together both local and national blues performers for a lively celebration.
- Diverse Subgenres
- The Blues scene in Portland is multifaceted, from classic Delta Blues to Chicago Blues and even Blues-Rock, as some artists experiment with different styles of music.
Bluegrass music originated in the Appalachian Mountains and has since moved beyond its origins to become a widely popular genre in Portland. In comparison to other genres, Bluegrass relies on traditional acoustic sounds and instruments such as banjos, mandolins, and fiddles.
- Welcoming Venues
- Bluegrass has a great home in Portland, with venues such as Empire, Salty Haddie’s, and the Bluegrass Pickin’ Parlour hosting regular live Bluegrass performances.
- Acclaimed Local bands
- The city has homegrown Bluegrass bands such as The Grassholes and The Stowaways that offer an exceptional musical experience for lovers of the genre.
- Great Music Festivals
- The popular Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival, which happens every year in September, attracts thousands of attendees from all over the country.
- Traditional Acoustic Sounds
- Bluegrass music features acoustic instruments that give it a distinctive sound from other genres.
In conclusion, Portland, Maine, offers an abundance of live music that caters to the musical interests of everyone. Whether it’s Jazz, Blues, Rock or Folk, the city has something for everyone, and visitors are guaranteed to enjoy the vibrant cultural and historical atmosphere surrounding the different genres of music.
|Genres||Venues||Famous Festivals||Notable artists|
|Jazz||Blue, The State Theatre, The Portland House of Music||Portland Jazz Festival||Tony Boffa, Duncan Hardy, Esperanza Emily Spalding|
|Rock||Thompson’s Point, Portland City Music Hall, Geno’s Rock Club||Portland Old Port Festival, POPJAM Pre-Party||Hi Tiger, Lisa/Liza, Bob Dylan, KISS|
|Folk||One Longfellow Square, Port City’s Music Hall||Portland Folk Festival||David Mallett, The Mallett Brothers Band, Putnam Smith|
|Blues||Time Out Pub, Portland House of Music and Events||Maine Blues Festival||Seth Warner, Samuel James, Papa John Creach|
|Bluegrass||Empire, Salty Haddie’s, Bluegrass Pickin’ Parlour||Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival||The Grassholes, The Stowaways, Del McCoury|
FAQs – Live Music Portland Maine
What are the best places to catch live music in Portland, Maine?
Portland, Maine offers a wide selection of bars, nightclubs, and performance venues where you can experience live music. Some popular places include Port City Music Hall, State Theatre, and the Asylum. You can also check out local bars such as The Big Easy, Blue, and Bayside Bowl.
What kind of music can I hear in Portland, Maine?
Portland’s music scene is diverse, featuring a wide range of genres such as indie, rock, pop, blues, and jazz. You can find mainstream acts, cover bands, and local artists performing at various venues throughout the city.
What is the best time of year to experience live music in Portland, Maine?
Portland’s music scene is active year-round, but summer is the peak season for live music events. Many music festivals and outdoor concerts take place during the summer months, providing a unique experience for music lovers.
Is there a cover charge for live music events in Portland, Maine?
Some live music events in Portland charge a cover fee, while others may be free. The price of admission will vary depending on the venue, location, and the popularity of the act performing.
Which hotels in Portland, Maine are closest to live music venues?
Several hotels in Portland are located within walking distance of popular live music venues. The Westin Portland Harborview, Hampton Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront, and Courtyard Portland Downtown/Waterfront are all conveniently situated near various music venues.
Can I find live music events outside of Portland, Maine?
Yes, you can find live music events throughout the state of Maine outside of Portland. Cities such as Bangor, Augusta, and Lewiston-Auburn offer their own music scenes, featuring local artists and touring musicians.
Do any celebrities ever perform live in Portland, Maine?
Occasionally, celebrities will perform live in Portland, Maine. In the past, artists such as Elvis Costello, Lady Gaga, and Willie Nelson have performed at venues in the city.
Where can I find information about upcoming music events in Portland, Maine?
You can find information about upcoming music events in Portland, Maine, online. Check out local newspapers such as the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News, as well as event websites such as Portland Music Events and Visit Maine.
Are there any outdoor live music events in Portland, Maine?
Yes, Portland, Maine, features several outdoor live music events throughout the year. In the summer, you can attend events such as the Old Port Festival and the Portland Arts & Crafts Show, both of which feature live music performances.
Are there any restrictions on age or dress code for live music events in Portland, Maine?
The age requirements and dress codes for live music events in Portland, Maine, will depend on the venue. Some venues may require guests to be 21 or older, while others may allow all ages. Dress codes may also vary, with some venues requiring more formal attire and others allowing a more casual dress.
Portland, Maine, is a vibrant hub for live music events, featuring a diverse range of genres and artists. From outdoor festivals to intimate performance venues, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a local resident or visiting from out of town, the city’s music scene is worth exploring. Check online resources for upcoming music events, and don’t forget to visit local bars and nightclubs to catch live performances by local musicians. Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out our other articles on traveling and entertainment.