10 Reasons To Experience The St. Louis Music Scene

Are you in the mood to revel in the soulful sounds of the heartland? St. Louis’ music community is budding with eclectic venues, on-the-rise artists and enough year-round music festivals to swiftly fill up the schedule of any concert-goer.

Check out our curated list of the top 10 must-see music experiences for the next time you find yourself in the city. How many of these can you check off your music bucket list?

Photo credit: Jazz At The Bistro

Photo credit: Jazz At The Bistro

1. Jazz in Grand Center
Grand Center’s award-winning Jazz at the Bistro offers patrons an unparalleled live music experience in a gorgeous setting. Since opening in 1995, the intimate bistro hosts a mix of jazz legends and up-and-coming acts alike. For more jazz in a laid-back setting, head over to Troy’s Jazz Gallery in the Central West End, where a mix of jazz, DJ sets and poetry readings take place onstage in this tucked-away venue.

2. Cherokee Street’s thriving scene
Head down to the eclectic, art-driven Cherokee Street to get your fill of under-the-radar electronic dance music and hip-hop shows at the 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center, an urban multi-use space that hosts live music and dance parties seven days a week. For a more chill vibe, visit Blank Space on Cherokee, which serves as a bar, cafe and performance venue for indie hip-hop artists, spoken-word poets and more.

3. St. Louis is home to artists spanning all genres, from soul to punk, rock and beyond
Some of today’s most prominent musicians hail from the Lou, including award-winning hip-hop stars, singer-songwriters and alternative, indie, punk and pop bands.

Photo credit: LouFest

Photo credit: LouFest

4. St. Louis hosts over 45 music festivals yearly
These include festivals that bring some of the biggest names in music to the city, like LouFest, Fair St. Louis and Pointfest. For festival-goers seeking a more curated, genre-specific live music experience, check out the Big Muddy Blues Festival and Gateway Jazz Festival, which both have soulful roots.

5. Sit back, relax and partake in the city’s blues venues and restaurants
A slow weekend afternoon is always fit for listening to the blues, and St. Louis is home to some of the most inviting venues for listening in the country. Grab a bite to eat while listening to the soulful sounds of the genre Downtown at BB’s Jazz, Blues and SoupsVenture a bit down the road to the Broadway Oyster Bar, where you can enjoy the restaurant’s rustic decor and delicious raw bar offerings while listening to a rotation of live blues music.

Photo credit: St. Louis Symphony

Photo credit: St. Louis Symphony

6. St. Louis Symphony’s world-class performances at Powell Hall
For an elegant evening of classical music, look no further than the St. Louis Symphony’s home in Powell Hall. The symphony regularly performs the timeless works of Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, but also plans to host contemporary performances featuring the soundtracks of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and the music of Elton John in 2018.

7. The Fox Theatre and The Muny
Classic theatre performances are an integral part of St. Louis’ music and live performance scene, and The Fox Theatre is full of opulent details and historic charm. Located in the Grand Center, The Fox is set to host big-name musicals like “The Sound of Music,” “Chicago” and “Hamilton” in the next year. For an unforgettable outdoor musical experience, don’t miss The Muny’s summer theatre series, which runs June through August each summer. While every show at The Muny is ticketed, the last nine rows of the outdoor theatre are free of charge.

Photo credit: Atomic Cowboy

Photo credit: Atomic Cowboy

8. Recording studios and open-mic nights
St. Louis is home to a slew of recording studios for musicians, including Shock City Studios and Phat Buddha Productions, both of which have assisted in recording and producing music for prominent artists. If open-mic nights are your way of discovering new music, St. Louis offers those up as well. Don’t miss Atomic Cowboy’s weekly open-mic night in The Grove to discover new musicians across all genres, as well as The Venice Cafe’s funky and bohemian open-mic night in Soulard.

9. Unique record stores
For vinyl collectors and vintage-music-lovers, St. Louis is a top destination for distinctive record stores with a comprehensive knowledge of the music industry. Vintage Vinyl in The Loop is a must-see destination—the shop offers a robust selection of vinyl and also hosts frequent in-store signings and performances. The Music Record Shop in Midtown, just outside of the Central West End, is also a go-to option for vinyl-music-lovers, as they carry current records and vintage albums alike.

Photo credit: National Blues Museum

Photo credit: National Blues Museum

10. The National Blues Museum
This destination spot solidifies St. Louis as the stomping ground of legends like Chuck Berry, Ike Turner, Henry Townsend and Little Milton. For die-hard music-lovers, it isn’t a visit to St. Louis without popping into the National Blues Museum for a day of music history and coveted artifacts of the genre. Located Downtown, the Blues Museum offers permanent and traveling exhibits that are both interactive and informative. Don’t miss hands-on exhibits that will teach you how to play the piano like your favorite artists, how to act the part as a member of a blues band and more.

For more information about St. Louis’ unique culture, visit stl.live.com

This post has been brought to you in part by the mentioned organization. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep ALIVE growing. Photos courtesy of those listed.

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