As some of you know, I grew up in a small town called Bristol, on the border of Virginia and Tennessee. Bristol is known for being the "Birthplace of Country Music" (no, Nashville doesn't get that title) and holds an amazing music festival that we attend every year, called Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion. Music has had a strong presence in my life since I was born. My mom was in a band called White Lightnin' in the 70s (bonus if you make it to the bottom) and worked for the community theatre in Bristol for over a decade. Most of my evenings as an adult in Bristol were spent at local spots listening to an array of artists and I served on the Board of Directors for The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance. The market there is so saturated with talent, it's unbelievable.
When I moved to Charleston, I immediately fell in love with the beaches, weather, and lifestyle. The days here stay packed with RiverDogs baseball games, Charleston Wine + Food Festival, yoga, speakers at the College of Charleston and more. But sometimes, I found myself missing the tunes. Well, I have good news for you. After years of living here, I've compiled the most popular and my favorite spots to catch music around the Lowcountry and spoiler alert- there are a lot!
The Music Farm (Downtown)
A late night spot where I've personally seen everyone from Lauryn Hill to Dr. Dog (and will completely deny seeing Nick Carter). One of my favorite bands, Moon Taxi, is playing there on April 7, but Iate nights are different with a newborn, so y'all report back.
The Pour House (James Island)
Live music every night on the Deck Stage and traveling artists on the Main Stage. Free admission and family friendly on the Deck Stage, early, most evenings. I vote this spot most likely to host an artist who has also played my hometown music festival. Appropriate for hippie leg and hip shaking.
Charleston Music Hall (Downtown)
One of my new favorites, as someone who enjoys having a seat to enjoy music these days (it's more about the personal space, less about the dancing). St. Paul and the Broken Bones is coming up, but sold out, so I would advise signing up for their eNewsletter. Dave Chapelle also sold out here, last month.
Palmetto Brewing (Downtown)
Their collaboration with Awendaw Green, the Loading Dock series, is the perfect low-key Friday evening with a pint, food truck, and tunes. In fact, plenty of the local breweries host live music, especially on the weekends. Follow their social media accounts for updates.
Hometeam BBQ (Multiple Locations)
With 3 locations in Charleston county, you can't go wrong with their food or tunes. Each location offers a different vibe and size for your crowd.
The Windjammer (Isle of Palms)
Many popular bands travel to town to perform in this venue. It has a beach view, but you'll most likely be going to a late night show here, unless the Budweiser bikini competition interests you (not for me).
The Gaillard (Downtown)
Recently renovated and just as stunning on the interior as it is on the exterior, this venue is likely to continue to host big names like Loretta Lynn and plenty of Spoleto performances.
N. Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center (N. Charleston)
From Garth Brooks and Earth, Wind, & Fire at the Coliseum to REO Speedwagon and The Head and the Heart (who I got to see this past Saturday!) at the Performing Arts Center, big names play here and pack the house.
Volvo Car Stadium (Daniel Island)
Outdoor venues in Charleston are a must and this intimate spot doesn't disappoint. The summer concerts are the absolute best (and the cicadas a little loud). The upcoming Jimmy Buffet show sold out in minutes.
High Water Music Festival
April 22 & 23, 2017
"Where Lowcountry culture meets a vibrant and diverse musical lineup at the waterfront just outside historic Charleston, SC." Lowcountry natives, Shovels and Rope, are hosting this music festival and making it very local friendly for vendors and attendees.
Spoleto Festival USA
May 26- June 11, 2017
"For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera, theater, dance, and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music. Now approaching its 41st season, Spoleto Festival USA is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival."
"The Reggae Nights Summer Concert Series at James Island County Park features traditional old school roots reggae with a new school attitude in a beautiful outdoor setting. Bring your chairs or blanket."
Looking to find out more about artists coming to town? Sign up for the eNews of some or all of the venues/festivals listed above to get notifications or search the hashtag #chsmusic. What's your favorite spot for tunes in the Lowcountry?
My mom singing to me in 1984.