If you love live music, you’re going to love Knoxville. On any night or day of the week, you can hear a great in-person music performance all over town. From large venues to little clubs and restaurants to Market Square in the center of downtown, there’s always music being performed somewhere. And it seems like on most weekends there’s a festival that features music, giving audiences a great place to sample a variety of musical styles.


Alive and Loaded with Energy

The Big Ears Festival features an eclectic mix from all over the world and has been praised by Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Paste, Downbeat, and other publications as one of the best festivals in the world. The Rossini Festival presents opera, classical, jazz and other styles of music. Waynestock features three days of local artists. There are free live concerts on Market Square Tuesdays and Thursdays from May to September. Then there’s the Southern Skies Festival. Founded and curated by Knoxville-based and regionally beloved band The Dirty Guv’nahs, this year’s festival lineup will feature Old Crow Medicine Show.

Avid concert goers have numerous reasons to love Knoxville. In February 2023, Knoxville was named one of the nation’s Top 50 Concert Markets by Pollstar. That’s thanks in part to its amazing venues. You’ll find wonderful large performance halls here, including the Tennessee Theatre, the acoustically amazing Bijou Theatre, Thompson-Boling Arena, the Knoxville Civic Coliseum and Auditorium, and the Mill and Mine. Check any of their websites right now and you’ll find touring acts representing all genres of music.

Best of all, each of these venues is located downtown, making your plans for pre- and post-concert not just easy, but part of the incredible concert experience. Many of the city’s finest hotels are blocks from the concerts. With everything so close by, you can enjoy a fabulous dinner before the show and catch MORE live music afterwards!

It’s  true. The Pilot Light, Preservation Pub, Scruffy City Hall, Open Chord, Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria, Albright Brewing, Ale Rae’s, Boyd’s Jig & Reel, Yee-Haw Brewing, The Concourse, Brickyard Bar and Grill, and Bistro by the Bijou all feature original music every week. And radio station WDVX presents the noon-time “Blue Plate Special” Monday through Thursday and Saturday at the Knoxville Visitors Center and on Friday at Barley’s.

And with a 100+ year history of nurtures music artists, who knows who you might see. The most familiar acts who spent their formative years in the city are country stars – Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Kelsea Ballerini, Morgan Wallen, Con Hunley, Chet Atkins, Roy Acuff and Don Gibson are just a few.

Knoxville has also fostered world-renowned rock acts, including the legendary Everly Brothers, who spent their high school years on Knoxville radio, power pop favorites Superdrag and the JudyBats, hard rockers 10 Years, death metal greats Whitechapel, and Americana pioneers the V-Roys and the Grammy-winning Amazing Rhythm Aces. Singer-songwriters abound, including recent newsmaker Adeem the Artist. And Knoxville’s current poet laureate Black Atticus (aka Joseph Woods) is also a star on the local the hip-hop scene.

No matter what kind of music you’re looking for, Knoxville has it covered. We just hope you have the stamina to keep up with it.


Like what you see? Pick up a FREE Visitors Guide here!