The many homes of Charlottesville’s best music
A guide to experiencing the Charlottesville music scene
Charlottesville has a phenomenal music scene. Incoming students should be sure to check out concerts around town early and often during their time at the University. Here, A&E profiles the city’s hottest venues.
The Jefferson Theater —
Located on the Downtown Mall, the Jefferson Theater is a mid-sized venue with outsize character. The historic theater first opened in 1912 and was renovated in 2009 and now features a general admission area by the stage and seating in the balcony. The Jefferson Theater brings in an eclectic collection of artists from all genres, recently featuring everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Parachute to Waka Flocka Flame.
The Southern Cafe & Music Hall—
Also on the Downtown Mall, and one of the of the smallest venues on this list, the Southern is a very intimate and low-key place to see live music. With a capacity of only around 300, the Southern provides allows the audience to get up close and personal with a band, and maintains a more laid-back vibe. The Southern is Charlottesville’s ground zero for local singer-songwriter types but has also played host to a number of artists with more substantial regional cache such as John Paul White, Mipso and Bombadil. The Southern aslo regularly hosts stand-up comedy open mic nights.
Sprint Pavilion —
The only outdoor venue on this list, Sprint Pavilion is one of the best places in Charlottesville to see a band on a warm summer night. The Pavilion features a large general admission area, several rows of seats towards the back and ample seating on grassy areas. Located at the end of the Downtown Mall, the Pavilion has recently been a host to a number of big acts, including The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, and Beck. Sprint Pavilion is also home to the popular “Fridays After Five,” a weekly event during the summer months which features free live music and a host of food trucks and other vendors. These free weekly shows attract lots of families from the local community.
John Paul Jones Arena —
The home of Virginia basketball has also been a host to numerous big-name acts since its opening in 2006. The arena has about 14,600 seats and is not the most intimate — or inexpensive — setting, but is home to the very biggest and most mainstream acts to come through Charlottesville. Elton John, Dave Matthews Band and Carrie Underwood have all recently performed at JPJ.
WXTJ Trash House —
Formerly known as Camp Ugly, Trash House is affiliated with the student-run radio station WXTJ and hosts various music acts and art shows. Trash House has become a home for upstart musicians of all shades, and the Gordon Avenue house is home to a regular stream of local acts from all genres. The audiences and the musicians are primarily students. Trash House often coordinates events with other student organizations, including an annual show held in the University Chapel.