Charlottesville Live Music Venues

After a long Covid winter, music fans are clawing at their cabin walls to hear fresh, live music! Fortunately, that wait is nearly over as all of the best venues begin to announce upcoming performances.

Charlottesville is a fine music town with a diverse and talented pool of musicians and bands, and with a wealth of places to play. Here’s our overview of the city’s best live music venues. While show bookings will begin in erratically, we expect by late summer all these joints will again be jumping. Check out our list below and keep your eyes peeled for upcoming shows!

John Paul Jones Arena

Known primarily for hosting the UVA men’s and women’s basketball games, JPJ Arena also hosts a ton of national chart-topping acts, boasting the largest arena capacity in the state of Virginia. Within recent years, JPJ has brought in Fall Out Boy, the Chainsmokers, Luke Bryan, the Kiss Reunion Tour and the Dave Matthews Band. While many of the shows are pop and country-leaning, such big shows are extremely fun to witness. Click here for the upcoming schedule at John Paul Jones Arena.

Ting Pavilion

Along with the Jefferson Theater and the Southern Cafe, the Ting Pavilion is managed by Starr Hill Presents/Red Light Management—the preeminent (and perhaps the only) music management and booking company in Charlottesville. The Pavilion handles many higher profile guests, such as Bon Iver, the Avett Brothers, Father John Misty, and more. They notably cater to more indie/folk/oldies fans than the pop acts that come to JPJ. Additionally, Ting hosts a long-running popular weekly concert series in the summer called Fridays after Five, featuring local and regional acts. Click here for the Ting Pavilion schedule.

The Jefferson Theater

While it might be a slight step below the Pavilion in terms of shows with nationally recognized artists, the Jefferson is still a gem for fans of popular indie music. It boasts a diverse slate of various genres, as well. The theater has had many accomplished artists come through for a show, including Dr. Dog, Miguel, Eli Young Band, and Gary Clark Jr. The nearly 100-year-old venue’s setting is absolutely beautiful, having been fully restored a few years back—bringing new life to a true Charlottesville treasure.It’s a fantastic environment to catch a show, Here’s The Jeff’s upcoming schedule.

The Paramount Theater

The true heart of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, The Paramount Theater hosts a handful of blockbuster acts annually. Recent luminaries to play The Paramount include Gladys Knight, Gordon Lightfoot and The Mavericks. Creative director Matthew Simon also ferrets out emerging talent from a wide spectrum of musical and performing arts styles. With nearly 1,100 seats on two levels, the venue is both elegant and casual, attracting a range of musical enthusiasts as diverse as the talent. See more on The Paramount Theater here and click thru for tickets.

The Southern

As we mentioned above, The Southern is also part of the Starr Hill Presents/Red Light Management family. It fills a  unique role in the Charlottesville music scene. The Southern pulls in many regional and national touring acts who are starting to gain traction, such as Mitski and Declan McKenna, while also allowing local artists to get their start on a reputable stage. Lots of talent from the Charlottesville and UVA communities play The Southern. It maintains a cozy community feel with a small club vibe while still bringing in bigger acts. Check out the Southern’s upcoming schedule.

Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar

The Tea Bazaar is an overlooked gem in both the music scene and the foodie scene in Charlottesville. It offers primarily vegan and vegetarian options, as well as beer, wine, tea, and hookah. Twisted Branch is also an awesome place to catch a show. With a small, intimate room that provides great sound, the Tea Bazaar features a lot of lesser-known touring acts, as well as local Charlottesville talent. You won’t find anything too conventional here, but it’s a wonderful experience with some off-the-beaten-path music and delicious food. Click here for the Twisted Branch events schedule.

Miller’s Downtown

A truly classic Charlottesville live music bar is Miller’s Downtown, the Downtown Mall staple that features live music seven days a week. With a vast menu of delicious pub fare, a large selection of alcoholic beverages, and an array of musical acts across many genres, this old-school haunt is a terrific place to spend any night of the week. Some of their regular players include the John D’earth Quintet—a famed UVA music professor and his jazz combo—as well as Charlottesville singer-songwriters like Emily Julia Kresky and Matthew O’Donnell. So, get on over to Miller’s, kick back, and enjoy an evening of drinks and great music. Click here for Miller’s music schedule.

Honorable Mention: The Garage

Without a doubt the most obscure yet fascinating venue in all of Charlottesville, the Garage, is literally a one-car garage where shows are staged. Located off the Downtown Mall, right near Market Street Park, this avant-garde venue plays out to a grassy hill where concertgoers often bring blankets and sit for the show. While the Garage does feature art installations from time to time, its primary focus is Charlottesville musicians. Well-established city stalwarts play here, as well as up-and-comers from Charlottesville, UVA, and the surrounding area. It’s surreal to catch a show here, with beautiful music coming out of what is usually nothing more than a mini-storage unit or parking spot. Click here for The Garage’s schedule..

Check out our full listing of Charlottesville Experiences here.