Athens Music Scene Comes Alive with These 7 Great Venues & Events

It’s no secret that you’re able to find a wide variety of musical talents hidden throughout the coffee shops and bars that line Court Street. Athens provides musicians with a supportive environment that fosters experimentation and grass-roots song writing that, as a close-knit community, we all love and enjoy. The locality of many singers and songwriters is an aspect that’s difficult to find elsewhere and sets Athens apart from the big-city music scene. There’s a unique pleasure that comes from seeing musicians live and performing “in the moment”, and we’ve got plenty of those moments waiting to be experienced and enjoyed.

For a small town, we’ve got tons of big personality and larger than life performers that you can’t miss if you’re making a visit. Luckily, there’s venues all around town that cater to the full range of musical tastes so often sought by both, students and surrounding community. Here’s a few shows and locations to look for on your next stay in Athens!


Jazz BandStuart’s Opera House

Stuart’s Opera House, located in Historic Nelsonville’s Public Square, has been a cultural icon for more than a century and remains a vital part of Nelsonville’s community, hosting events and acting as a familiar meeting spot. The Opera House regularly hosts performances that cover the full spectrum of live music and entertainment that can’t be beat! It’s seldom to find an opera house that’s withstood the test of time and the transformation to the digital age, but Stuart’s has managed by showcasing only the best in local music and bringing well-known artists and familiar sounds to Nelsonville and Athens County. On Wednesday, September 9th, Stuart’s is having Thomas Mapfumo, a legendary Zimbabwean musician, fill the halls of the opera house with mbira infused music that highlights the issues faced by the people of Zimbabwe. Check out their many other showings in the coming weeks!



Donkey Cafe

Donkey BannerThis quaint coffee shop boasts colors and textures galore! Decorated with paintings from local area artists, the walls prove just as interesting as enjoying a cup of freshly ground coffee with friends. The cafe’s back room is large enough to accompany a crowd of 20-40 people, but still small enough to emanate the small-town feel with big flavor! Their stage, located against the back wall of the cafe, plays host to bands and performers from time to time, with all of them taking advantage of the small and friendly crowds to perform in front of. It’s an enjoyable environment with pleasant tunes resonating off the art work hanging from wall to wall. Stop by 17 1/2 West Washington to experience the best in serving up great coffee shop experiences.


casabannerCasa Nueva

Casa Nueva is the subject of many conversations and has remained as such by supplying Athens with great local food, a dynamic atmosphere, and the best of smaller musical acts and performers. They’ve kept the pace of their stellar night life going for over 30 years by only providing the most spirited in local performers and budding musicians. In addition to their great food and friendly faces, some shows don’t require a cover charge and can be found at 4 West State Street most nights of the week, Monday through Sunday. Stop by this week on Thursday night for your chance to catch the tunes played by The Bling Engineer, The Heartlanders, DJ Barticus and DJ Wet Ditch. The shows start at 10:00 pm, but you’ll want to arrive early to guarantee a place to sit back and really enjoy the music.

Ohio University’s The Front Room

If you’re in search of the newest musical talent at Ohio University, you’ll want to check the Front Room on the weekends. In the spirit of the small coffee shops, the top floor of OU’s Baker Center is home to the university’s signature coffee shop and hosts student acts to play until their heart’s content. In addition to well-priced coffee and a lively atmosphere, there’s always plenty of seating. You’re able to choose between the front row, near the stage, or at one of the many tables lining the walls.


Tonys BannerTony’s Jazz Night | Tuesdays

Tony’s is an establishment that needs to be experienced on any night of the week, but especially on Wednesdays’s because you’ll be treated to the smooth tunes and swingin’ melodies of The Word of Mouth Jazz Band! You can’t go wrong with cold drinks (unless you’re looking for their famous Hot Nut) and free music! Once you’re in and the beat starts rolling, you’ll instantly fall in love with this Athens classic- and be reminded why Jazz nights are oftentimes remembered as the best nights to be had in Athens. Tony’s is found at 7 West State Street, directly across from Casa Nueva (Hmm dinner, drinks AND live music? That’s a tough combination to beat).



Angela PerleyAngela Perley & the Howlin Moons at Final Fridays on the Square | 8.28.15

Perley has earned comparisons to everyone from Patsy Cline to Joan Jett and her range of delicate reverb-laden crooners to grit- fused rock anthems have made more and more listeners take notice. The band’s live shows rumble with swaggering basslines and guitar riffs and Perley’s soulful delivery and charismatic stage presence create a memorable experience for audiences. Look forward to this next addition to the FREE Summer Concert Series that Stewart’s hosts during Final Fridays on the Square. The event takes place on the last Friday of the month. Come early and check out all the great art openings and more around the square starting at 5:30pm, with music starting at 7:00pm!


thirdeyeblind1998Third Eye Blind | 8.28.15

Third Eye Blind has been cranking out hits since 1997 and hasn’t showed any signs of stopping. Ohio University pulled out all the stops this year to bring 3EB to the Ohio University Concert Series Opening for the 2015-16 school year! After a seemingly endless hiatus (six years.. six long and heartbreaking years), 3EB released their newest album, Dopamine, in the Spring of 2015. They seemed to have bucked the trend that befell a number of 90’s rock bands and in recent years, gained an even wider and younger audience. They’ve not only survived the crazy music scene of the new millennium, but have actually prospered from it and found a tighter definition of themselves and the direction they wish to explore! Tickets are on sale through Ohio University’s Performing Arts Program and can be bought for just $35 at Memorial Auditorium or here.