Experience The Best Of Virginias Live Music Scene In Williamsburg

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Welcome to the vibrant music scene of Williamsburg, VA! Whether you’re a local or just visiting, you’ll find plenty of amazing live music in this beautiful city. In this article, we’re going to explore the best places to catch live music in Williamsburg, and why it’s worth your time and attention.

If you’re looking for a night out and some entertainment, then this article is for you. You can expect to discover hidden gems in Williamsburg’s music scene, as well as some of the more popular venues that attract both locals and tourists. We’ll introduce you to different genres of music, from jazz to rock to bluegrass, so there’s something for everyone.

Not only will you learn about the best places to see live music, but we’ll also provide you with tips for planning your night out, including where to park, what to eat and drink, and how to make the most of your experience. Our recommendations are based on our own experiences and those of other music lovers who appreciate the vibrant music culture of Williamsburg. So, read on and get ready for a night of unforgettable music!

Best Live Music Venues in Williamsburg VA

Williamsburg, Virginia, may be known for its historic sites and colonial architecture, but the city also has an impressive live music scene. Whether you’re into the latest chart-topping hits or something more eclectic, there’s a music venue in Williamsburg that will surely satisfy your musical tastes.

The Virginia Beer Company

The Virginia Beer Company is a popular brewery that is known for its delicious craft beer and weekly live performances. The brewery features a spacious taproom with a cozy patio and an extensive beer list that pairs perfectly with the live music.

Here are some reasons why The Virginia Beer Company is one of the best live music venues in Williamsburg VA:

  • Intimate atmosphere
  • Wide selection of craft beer
  • Free admission to all performances

If you’re planning to visit The Virginia Beer Company, you’ll be pleased to know that the brewery hosts live music events every week. Local bands and artists perform at the venue regularly, providing visitors with the opportunity to discover new and upcoming musicians.

The brewery also collaborates with other local businesses to bring in national acts, such as the Grammy-nominated Bluegrass band “The Travelin’ McCourys” and folk singer-songwriter “Tyler Childers,” who played at The Virginia Beer Company in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

If you’re a fan of craft beer and talented musicians, The Virginia Beer Company should be at the top of your list.

The Kimball Theatre

Located in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, The Kimball Theatre is a historic venue that features a variety of live performances, including music, theater, and dance. The venue’s intimate setting and top-notch acoustics make it an ideal space for both local and international artists.

Here are some reasons why The Kimball Theatre is one of the best live music venues in Williamsburg VA:

  • Historic architecture and state-of-the-art sound system
  • Diverse range of live performances
  • Central location in Colonial Williamsburg

Many major artists have performed at The Kimball Theatre over the years, including Grammy-winning musicians like Mary Chapin Carpenter and William Bell. The theater also hosts the Virginia Arts Festival, which attracts renowned artists from all around the world.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated venue with a rich cultural history, The Kimball Theatre is the place to be.

The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery

The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery is a unique venue that combines live music with craft cocktails, beer, and food. Located in the heart of Williamsburg, the venue features a spacious taproom with a rustic interior and a stage for live performances.

Here are some reasons why The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery is one of the best live music venues in Williamsburg VA:

  • Unique combination of live music, craft cocktails, and locally-sourced food
  • Spacious venue with a cozy atmosphere
  • Weekly live music events featuring local and national acts

The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery hosts live music events every weekend, featuring talented performers from various genres, including blues, rock, and country. The venue’s bar offers an extensive selection of craft beer, cocktails, and spirits, all of which are made on-site.

If you’re in the mood for great music, delicious drinks, and tasty food, The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery is the perfect spot.

Venue Atmosphere Live Performances Food/Drink
The Virginia Beer Company Intimate Regular local acts with occasional national acts Wide selection of craft beer
The Kimball Theatre Sophisticated Diverse range of local and international artists N/A
The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery Cozy Weekly local and national acts Craft beer, cocktails, and locally-sourced food

In conclusion, Williamsburg is home to some of the best live music venues in Virginia. The Virginia Beer Company, The Kimball Theatre, and The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery offer visitors a unique blend of great music, tasty food, and delicious drinks in a cozy atmosphere. Whether you’re a college student, a tourist, or a local resident, you’ll find something to love in Williamsburg’s live music scene.

The History of Live Music in Williamsburg VA

Williamsburg VA is not only known for its historic landmarks and tourist attractions but it is also a hub for live music. From bluegrass, to jazz, to rock and roll, Williamsburg VA has consistently been a destination for music lovers. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the history of live music in Williamsburg VA.

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The Early Days of Live Music in Williamsburg VA

Live music has been a part of Williamsburg’s history since the colonial era. In the 18th century, Williamsburg was a musical mecca of world-class composers and performers, with the Governor’s Palace hosting lavish concerts and music being played at local taverns.

Fast forward to the early 1960s, when the College of William and Mary started to attract a crowd for live music, with students performing at local coffeehouses and The Hootenanny attracting nationally known artists to the college. Folk music was the most popular genre during this era, as the college town had a vibrant mix of performers and listeners.

Williamsburg’s Live Music Revival in the 1980s

The 1980s saw a revival of live music in Williamsburg, with the founding of The Williamsburg Music Association. It was a community-based organization that lobbied for more local music scenes and provided resources for musicians. They held an annual Virginia Music Festival and they played a pivotal role in the success of The Williamsburg Blues and Jazz Festival.

At the same time, bars and venues in Williamsburg started inviting musicians to perform, with The Corner Pocket hosting local bands three nights a week, The Green Leafe showcasing live music on its rooftop bar and The Backstage Cafe hosting jazz and blues musicians.

Modern Day Live Music Scene in Williamsburg VA

Today, Williamsburg has a thriving music scene that includes multiple annual festivals, live performances, and open mic nights. It is not just limited to local artists but also attracts big-name acts from all over the world. Some notable music venues in Williamsburg include:

  • The Virginia Beer Company: a brewery that hosts live music every Friday night
  • The Kimball Theatre: a historic theater that offers live music and theatrical performances
  • The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery: a venue that regularly features live music and combines handcrafted brews and spirits with innovative cuisine

One of the most popular music festivals in Williamsburg is The Williamsburg Live Music & Arts Festival, which brings together a variety of genres and artists from across the nation. Another is The Winter Blues Jazz Fest, which has been held annually since 2016, attracting national and local jazz musicians.

The Pros and Cons of the Live Music Scene in Williamsburg VA

Before we delve into the pros and cons of Williamsburg’s live music scene, here’s a table summarizing them:

Pros Cons
Contributes to the economy through tourism Noise pollution can be a problem for nearby residents
Provides opportunities for local musicians to showcase their talent Safety concerns during large music events
Offers a diverse range of musical experiences and genres Difficulties with noise permits and regulations
Creates a vibrant and exciting atmosphere for residents and visitors Potential for overcrowding in smaller venues

Overall, Williamsburg’s live music scene is a great addition to the city, but it also has its challenges. While it can attract tourists and provide a platform for local musicians, there are concerns with noise pollution, safety and overcrowding. Additionally, it can be costly for smaller venues to comply with regulations and permits.

In conclusion, live music has come a long way in Williamsburg VA, from the 18th century concerts at the Governor’s Palace to the multiple festivals and venues of today. It is an integral part of the city’s history, culture and future.

Must-See Live Music Events in Williamsburg VA

Live music events in Williamsburg, Virginia are always a big attraction for tourists and locals alike. Being home to different genres of music including country, jazz, rock, and blues, Williamsburg is a place where visitors can experience the rhythm of live music in different settings. Here is a comprehensive guide to some of the must-see live music events in Williamsburg, VA.

1. Yorktown Sounds of Summer Concert Series

The Yorktown Sounds of Summer Concert Series is one of the primary live music events in Williamsburg, VA, where visitors can enjoy free outdoor concerts performed by local and regional musicians. This summer series takes place at Riverwalk Landing on the York River, yielding a mix of reggae, swing, country, and jazz.

  • The concerts are free and open to the public.
  • Visitors can bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.
  • Food vendors will be available.
  • The concert is also kid-friendly, allowing children to frolic around while the music goes on.

One interesting fact about this concert series is that it has been in existence for over 20 years. It has been a major attraction in Williamsburg, VA, and because of its exclusivity, it has been featured in various media outlets across the country.

2. Busch Gardens Live

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is known for its adrenaline-pumping rides and attractions; however, Busch Gardens Live is also a must-see highlight for live music enthusiasts. The iconic park features different genres of music, for adults and children alike, and regularly hosts performances by the famous and up-and-coming artists.

  • The shows are included in the price of admission.
  • Performances start at around 6 PM and have a seating capacity of 3500.
  • The venue contains a state-of-the-art sound system making it the perfect spot for enjoyable live music performances.
  • Performances are scheduled for the summer period with the park closing later than usual for visitors’ ultimate concert experience.

Generally, Busch Gardens Live has helped to create an unforgettable memory for guests and has contributed significantly to the entertainment industry in Williamsburg.

3. Virginia Arts Festival

The Virginia Arts Festival is a four-week festival dedicated to celebrating different forms of art including theatre, opera, and music. It is the largest arts festival in Virginia and is hosted annually in various iconic venues, such as the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra and The American Theatre.

  • The festival is one of the oldest arts festivals in Virginia, dating back to 1997.
  • Each year, the festival draws over 25,000 visitors from across the country making Williamsburg ‘the place to be for live arts.’
  • Highlights of the festival include performances from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, jazz artists such as Diana Krall, and folk legends like Arlo Guthrie.
  • Guests can purchase tickets for individual shows or purchase season tickets to experience the full festival adventure.

The Virginia Arts Festival is one of the must-see live music events in Williamsburg, VA, as it provides visitors with a unique opportunity to experience different genres of music that they may not have come across before. It also helps to promote and nurture the art scene in Williamsburg, VA, fostering a vibrant and diverse community around art and music.

In conclusion, Williamsburg is a city that is full of exciting live music events that offer a unique experience for visitors. From free outdoor concerts to intimate theatre settings, there is something for everyone. These must-see live music events provide visitors with an unforgettable experience that will leave them with memories to last a lifetime.

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How to find great live music in Williamsburg VA

Williamsburg VA is a vibrant city with a vibrant live music scene. Whether you’re a music enthusiast or just looking to have a good time, there are plenty of options to explore. Here are some tips to help you find great live music in Williamsburg VA.

1. Local Listings

One of the easiest ways to find live music in Williamsburg VA is through local event listings. These can be found online or in print publications. Some popular options include:

  • Venue websites: Many live music venues in Williamsburg VA have their own websites where they list upcoming events. Check out sites like The Corner Pocket, The Tin Pan, and The Camel for listings.
  • Newspapers: Local newspapers like The Williamsburg Chronicle or the Virginia Gazette often have event listings that include live music shows.
  • Online event calendars: There are a number of websites that maintain event calendars for Williamsburg VA, such as Visit Williamsburg and WilliamsburgFamilies.com.
  • Social Media: Many bands and venues promote their shows on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

2. Word of Mouth

Another great way to find live music in Williamsburg VA is through word of mouth. Whether it’s through friends, co-workers, or acquaintances, don’t be afraid to ask around. You might be surprised at how many people have tips on where to find great live music in the city.

3. Check Out Local Music Festivals

Williamsburg VA is home to a number of music festivals throughout the year, featuring local and international acts. These festivals can be a great way to discover new music and also provide a unique experience for festival-goers. Some popular Williamsburg VA music festivals include:

Festival Date Genre
Williamsburg Live June Rock, Blues, Country
Virginia Beer and Wine Festival October Various genres
Williamsburg Harvest Celebration November Bluegrass, Folk

4. Explore Different Types of Venues

Another way to find great live music in Williamsburg VA is to explore different types of venues. Each venue has its own unique atmosphere and style of music, so don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things. Some popular types of music venues in Williamsburg VA include:

  1. Bars and Restaurants: Many bars and restaurants in Williamsburg VA have live music on a regular basis. These venues are often more laid-back and casual, providing a great atmosphere for music lovers who want to relax with a drink or a meal. Some great options include Mojo Bones and Second Street American Bistro.
  2. Concert Halls: Concert halls are typically larger venues that host bigger shows with a wider range of genres. These venues typically have a more formal atmosphere and often require tickets in advance. Popular Williamsburg VA concert halls include Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Ferguson Center for the Arts.
  3. Coffee Houses: Coffee houses are another popular type of music venue in Williamsburg VA. These venues typically feature acoustic musicians and singer-songwriters in a more intimate setting. Some great options include Aromas World or Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters.

So if you’re looking for great live music in Williamsburg VA, be sure to explore all of these options to find the perfect spot for you. Whether you’re into rock, country, blues, or something else entirely, the city has plenty of options to suit your taste.

The Future of Live Music in Williamsburg VA

Williamsburg VA is a city that is rich in history, arts and culture, and live music is not left out. The city has various live music venues that have hosted different genres of music, attracting diverse audiences from across the city and beyond. However, with the recent global pandemic and the corresponding shutdown of live events, there have been concerns from the music community regarding the future of live music in Williamsburg VA. This article explores the future of live music in Williamsburg VA, and what we can expect to see in the coming years.

The Shift to Virtual Live Performances

With the pandemic still ravaging the world, it is evident that the old normal of live concerts and events may no longer be feasible, at least for the short term. Therefore, the music community in Williamsburg VA is looking for ways to keep live music alive by bringing virtual performances to their audiences. Many local performers have taken to social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to perform live virtual shows. Certain venues have also started hosting virtual concerts that can be streamed online. Although virtual performances cannot entirely replace the atmosphere of a live concert, they provide an opportunity for performers to stay connected with their fans, and for audiences to enjoy music from the comfort of their own homes.

The Emergence of Drive-In Performances

As people start to adjust to a new normal, live music events are returning, but with a twist. Drive-in concerts have become popular in some parts of the United States, and Williamsburg VA is not left out. Drive-in concerts allow attendees to tune in to the concert using their cars’ audio system while being able to witness the performance on a massive screen set up on stage. Performers can leverage technology to make the experience unique by incorporating audio-visual displays in their performance. Moreover, attendees can maintain social distancing protocols while still enjoying the live music experience.

The Revitalization of Small-Scale Performances

Though large-scale concerts may not be feasible for some time, small-scale music performances may become highly sought-after once the pandemic’s impact dissipates. With smaller venues such as bars, lounges, and restaurants experiencing state and local COVID-19 restrictions, performer bookings have become highly competitive. As a result, Williamsburg VA is likely to see an influx of local performers as popular venues begin hosting intimate, small-scale shows. This trend could help revive the local live music scene and provide more opportunities for artists to showcase their talents.

Collaborative Music Making and Production

With technological advancements, musicians now have the flexibility to collaborate and produce music from remote locations. Remote music production includes the use of technologies such as Zoom and Dropbox to facilitate songwriting, recording, and communication between artists. Collaboration platforms like Bandlab and Splice have seen increased usage, indicating that the music industry’s future is geared towards remote collaborations. Williamsburg VA’s music community could take advantage of these platforms to foster collaborations between local artists and producers outside the city.


The future of live music in Williamsburg VA is evolving, and the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new phase of the music industry. The changes outlined above provide insights into how the music community is adapting to the current climate and what could potentially shape the future. The shift towards virtual performances, the emergence of drive-in concerts, the revitalization of small-scale shows, and the increasing trend towards remote collaborations, are all indicative of the direction that the music industry is heading towards. Although the traditional concert scene may never fully return, the Williamsburg VA music community’s resilience and creativity will pave the way for a new era of live music.

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Method Advantages Disadvantages
Virtual Live Performances
  • Lower costs for both performers and audiences
  • Greater geographic inclusion
  • Decreased COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Lack of physical interaction between performers and audiences
  • Limited technology infrastructure in some areas
  • Difficulty monetizing virtual events
Drive-in Performances
  • Social distancing protocols can be maintained
  • Entertainment is personalised to individual cars
  • Low drive-in movie attendance leaves room for growth in music performances
  • Encourage isolation
  • Challenging for performers to read the audience
  • Requires significant space for audio-visual equipment setup
Collaborative Music Production
  • Access to larger networks of musicians and producers
  • Cost-effective music production
  • Enhanced creativity and diversity
  • Challenging for some musicians to collaborate remotely
  • Quality limitations in musical production process
  • Loss of original sound quality from remote collaborations.

FAQs – Live Music Williamsburg VA

What are the best venues for live music in Williamsburg VA?

There are several great venues for live music in Williamsburg including The Virginia Beer Company, The Corner Pocket, The Hounds Tale, and The Musket Room. These venues host regular live music events featuring local and touring acts. Check their websites or social media for event schedules.

What types of music can I expect to hear in Williamsburg VA?

Williamsburg’s live music scene covers a broad range of genres, from rock and blues to traditional country and bluegrass. There are also jazz and classical performances available through the College of William and Mary’s music department and other local groups.

Are there any music festivals in Williamsburg VA?

Yes, Williamsburg hosts several music festivals throughout the year including the Williamsburg Live Music Festival, the Autumn Brews Festival, and the Winter Blues Jazz Fest. These festivals feature multiple performers across different genres and are a great way to experience a variety of live music in one place.

What is the average cost of tickets for live music events in Williamsburg VA?

The cost of tickets for live music events in Williamsburg can vary widely depending on the venue, the performer, and the event. Some events may be free while others may cost upwards of $50 or more. Check with the venue or event organizer for specific pricing information.

What are some free live music venues in Williamsburg VA?

Several bars and restaurants in Williamsburg host regular live music events which are free to attend. These include places such as The Trellis Bar and Grill, Green Leafe Café, and The Corner Pocket. There are also outdoor events and festivals that offer free live music, such as the weekly outdoor concerts at Merchant’s Square during the summer months.

Are there any venues for live music in Williamsburg VA that are 18+?

While most venues that offer live music in Williamsburg are 21+, there are a few that are open to those who are 18 and over. One such venue is The Musket Room which features live music performances several nights a week.

Can I bring children to live music events in Williamsburg VA?

The age limits for live music events in Williamsburg can vary depending on the venue and the performer. Some venues may be 21+ only while others may allow children accompanied by an adult. Check with the venue or event organizer for specific age restrictions.

What is the best time to attend a live music event in Williamsburg VA?

The best time to attend a live music event in Williamsburg really depends on your personal preferences and interests. Some venues offer early shows while others may have events that run late into the night. Check the event schedule and plan accordingly.

How can I find out about upcoming live music events in Williamsburg VA?

The best way to find out about upcoming live music events in Williamsburg is to check with local venues, visit the event calendar on Visit Williamsburg’s website or keep an eye on social media pages of venues and organizers. Additionally, websites like Bandsintown and Songkick can help track favorite performers in the area.

Can I buy tickets online for live music events in Williamsburg VA?

Yes, most venues and events in Williamsburg offer online ticket sales. Check with the venue or event organizer for ticket purchasing information.


If you’re into live music, Williamsburg VA is a great place to be. With a variety of venues offering different genres of music and festivals throughout the year, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with friends, a romantic evening with your significant other, or a family-friendly event, you’ll find it in Williamsburg. Check out the event calendars for local venues, follow them on social media, and get ready to enjoy some great live music in this beautiful city.

After reading this article, you might want to explore further and discover all the wonderful things Williamsburg VA has to offer. From Colonial Williamsburg to Busch Gardens, there is plenty to do and see here. There are great restaurants and shops around town, and a relaxed vibe that makes it easy to unwind. Williamsburg is a warm and welcoming community that celebrates history, art, and culture with passion. We hope you enjoyed reading about live music in Williamsburg VA, and we invite you to look out for more interesting articles on this city!