Music is a huge part of life in Charlottesville, and the variety of music venues in the city make that message clear. As the city continues to reopen businesses shut down by the pandemic, live music is coming into existence again — which is, of course, a very exciting prospect. For information on notable music venues and concert halls in the area as well as upcoming artists and events, keep reading.
The Jefferson Theater
Established in 1912 as a performing arts center, the Jefferson Theater has been an extremely popular and beloved entertainment venue for over a century. Originally created to be a theater for vaudeville acts, silent movies and other such performances, the Jefferson Theater underwent a transformation in 2009 to make it the modernized venue that it is today.
Currently, the theater hosts all kinds of artists, ranging from bluegrass to reggae to hip-hop. The Jefferson Theater can be found on the historic Downtown Mall at East Main Street and can be accessed by the free trolley service. Be sure to bring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to be let into the theater.
The Jefferson Theater will be hosting a wide range of artists in the coming months. Some nationally recognized artists, such as Saint Motel and Bikini Kill, are stopping by for a visit. Country artists, like Muscadine Bloodline and Boy Named Banjo, have events lined up at the venue. Even some more eccentric artists, such as Puddles the Clown, have a spot ready for them. No matter what type of shows you like, you can surely find something of interest at the Jefferson Theater.
The Ting Pavilion, an outdoor venue, has provided both paid and free events for the Charlottesville community since 2005. In the past, the venue has hosted the popular Fridays After Five concert series, and this year is no exception. Running for 33 seasons this year, the Ting Pavilion has gifted the Charlottesville community with entertainment from regional bands, with genres ranging from rock to salsa to blues.
The Ting Pavilion is located on the east end of the Downtown Mall, which is easily walkable from the mall’s other attractions. Food trucks are also often available at the venue, with menus featuring ice cream, Filipino cuisine and other local vendors. Similar to the Jefferson Theater, be sure to bring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend shows at the Ting Pavilion.
Some artists participating in the upcoming Fridays After Five series are The Skip Castro Band, Disco Risquė and Sarah White & the New Band. Also keep an eye out for other performances including Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, the Trey Anastasio Band and more!
John Paul Jones Arena
A true University arena and entertainment center created and named by alumnus Paul Tudor Jones II, the John Paul Jones Arena hosts a variety of activities to keep the University community engaged in local events. The arena provides space for basketball games, concerts, family shows and other performances. Interestingly enough, plenty of big performers have greeted their fans at JPJ, such as Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Elton John and Jay-Z. Additionally, JPJ is conveniently located by the McCue Center with plenty of parking garages nearby.
As of now, most of the upcoming events are sports-related, such as the beloved University basketball games, but there are several opportunities for live music in-between games. Dan + Shay are arriving in early September, and Mannheim Steamroller and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are also scheduled to perform in December.
IX Art Park
Born out of the abandoned Frank IX & Sons textile factory, IX Art Park was revitalized and brought to light by Ludwig Kuttner and Brian Wimer to serve as a major cultural center of Charlottesville. Besides hosting local artists and live music events, IX Art Park also produces events like farmer’s markets, Dogfest, the Metamorphix Art Fair and many more. Its mission is simple — to inspire and help individuals embrace their creativity in any way they can. Everyone is welcome, from young children to college students to senior citizens.
The most notable live music event happening soon is the Freefall Music and Arts Festival, taking place Sept. 4 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. This year’s concert features performances from WTJU, Zuzu’s Hot 5, Susie and the Pistols and Good Dog Nigel and is sure to be a blast. Keeping in mind concerns around COVID-19 safety, the festival will be an outdoor and free event with plenty of opportunities for social distancing. Enjoy!