As the cultural capital of the new South, Atlanta’s music scene is often one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about all the city has to offer. It’s a place full of incredible talent, from hip-hop legends, to indie rock bands, to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, which has recorded more than 100 albums and won 27 GRAMMY® Awards.
It’s impossible to talk music in Atlanta without mentioning the city’s highly acclaimed reputation and influence in the hip-hop industry. In 2009, The New York Times labeled Atlanta the “hip-hop center of gravity”, and in 2014, VH1 aired a documentary about ATL’s rise in the rap game. Atlanta plays host to rap and R&B legends like Outkast, T.I., Usher, Ludacris, Lil John, TLC, Ciara and Jermaine Dupree.
While Atlanta is iconic for hip-hop, it also has serious indie street cred. The city provides the fruitful soil from which several indie artists have grown, including the likes of Mastodon, the Black Lips and Manchester Orchestra. It doesn’t hurt that the city has more than 300 recording studios and a wide array of music venues to help indie bands leave their mark, like 529, the Drunken Unicorn, the Masquerade and Terminal West – the Westside’s premier indie space in King Plow Arts Center.
The Atlanta music scene does not just produce great music – it performs it. On any given night of the week, various venues are sure to be booked with great talent.
Looking to discover up-and-coming artists? Check out Eddie’s Attic – a hotbed for breakout singer-songwriters and the place where people like John Mayer and Shawn Mullins got their start.Or, stop into his new spot in Duluth, Red Clay Music Foundry. Indie rock more your style?Perhaps The Earl, a zero-frills dive bar and music venue known for its alternative sets, will have ashow for you. Craving some blues? You can find it seven days a week at Northside Tavern. If youwant a taste of jazz, check out Churchill Grounds, the epicenter of the city’s jazz scene. If you’relucky, there’s a performance at the Tabernacle, an old church turned concert venue that’sbecome an Atlanta icon. We can’t forget country. Atlanta is home to some of the greats includingAlan Jackson, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band, Sugarland, Kenny Rogers, Ray Stevens andTravis Tritt. Chances are, one of them will be returning home soon for a show at the VerizonAmphitheater in Alpharetta.
It’s not just about the venues and nightly shows. Atlanta plays host to several music festivals as well. TomorrowWorld, a spinoff of the world-renowned German electronic festival Tomorrowland, hits Atlanta annually with big-time DJs like Benny Benassi and David Guetta. Shaky Boots Festival hits the city in May, giving Atlantans a huge dose of country with top artists like Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts. Music Midtown takes on Piedmont Park each fall and features everyone from chart toppers like Eminem to classic artists such as Elton John. Don’t forget Shaky Knees, the backyard festival turned new-Atlanta favorite, or the Atlanta Jazz Festival, one of the country’s largest free jazz fests. Or perhaps your scene is Chomp & Stomp, the chili kickoff and bluegrass festival in Cabbagetown.
No matter what musical goodness you’re searching for, Atlanta has it. So dive in!