Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains echo with the sound of music. True story. From downtown Roanoke to the hills of Floyd and the coves of Smith Mountain Lake, great music can be found here.
Listen in at our favorite venues, where you’re sure to create a soundtrack in your mind to accompany the memories you’re making.
If you love music, here are 20 unique experiences you need to check out in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
1. Jefferson Center | Roanoke
A diverse menu of acts are served annually at the Jefferson Center, a beautiful venue hosting not only musicians, but a wide range of art. Several series bring in the top names in jazz, blues, folk, and bluegrass.
Save the Dates: Jefferson Center's 2017-18 Performance Schedule
2. The Spot on Kirk | Roanoke
An intimate space boasting big, well-known sounds, The Spot on Kirk is perhaps as “up close and personal” as you’ll get to some of the region’s favorite musicians and national artists.
3. Harvester Performance Center | Rocky Mount
A mid-size venue bringing some of the most well-known names in the music industry, the Harvester Performance Center seats 200-700 people, allowing flexibility based on the vibe an artist seeks.
Learn more: Must See Main Street - Rocky Mount
4. Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill | Roanoke
If you’d like a fantastic burger while you listen to local, regional, and national musicians, Martin’s is a place to consider. A diverse range of music rings out Tuesday through Saturday evenings. Come as you are!
Learn more: Feel like a full-on bar crawl? Roanoke has that!
5. Blue 5 | Roanoke
Blues and jazz carry the day at Blue 5, an elegant, blues and jazz themed restaurant in downtown Roanoke. Enjoy the southern-inspired menu with sultry sounds Tuesday through Saturday evenings.
6. Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech | Blacksburg
Not only will you hear the accomplished musicians of Virginia Tech on stage at the Moss Arts Center, but you’ll also be treated to incredible renowned musicians like cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and national symphony orchestras from around the world.
7. The Vintage Vault | Roanoke
The name says it all. At The Vintage Vault, you’ll find vintage vinyl, toys, and other collectibles. Sebastian B. gave a positive review of Vintage Vault, saying, “If I'm looking for something, it's very likely I'll find it. Niche punk records, psych and plenty of classic stuff too.” So there you go.
8. The Floyd Country Store | Floyd
Impromptu jam sessions are the norm on the porch (and inside) The Floyd Country Store. A gem of The Crooked Road, this hang-out in Floyd is the best of Americana and the quintessential authentic Virginia destination. Don’t miss the Friday Night Jamboree and Sunday Music Jam, happening weekly.
9. Opera Roanoke | Roanoke
If you love a story – in song form – we recommend you snag a ticket for Opera Roanoke, performing at the Jefferson Center. Immense talent from international vocalists will leave you breathless.
10. Blue Ridge Institute & Museum | Ferrum
As the state’s official center for Blue Ridge folklore, you can expect to hear the sounds of Appalachia at Blue Ridge Institute & Museum. Currently on display is The Crooked Road Royalty & Musical Styles exhibit that includes footage and photographs of the four “powerhouse groups” from Virginia: the Hill Billies, the Stoneman Family, the Carter Family, and of course, the Stanley Brothers.
The annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in October is a treat for those who wish to see, taste, and hear Appalachia.
Learn more: The Crooked Road of Virginia
11. Fret Mill Music Company | Roanoke
You never know who might be strumming what at this acoustic guitar go-to in Roanoke. Bands playing venues in and around Roanoke often consider Fret Mill their go-to as well when seeking a rare guitar. Keep an eye out!
Learn more: Downtown Roanoke Shopping Guide
12. The Bazaar of Roanoke | Roanoke
As space that supports and fosters the arts in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, The Bazaar often holds in-store shows. One way to help in their mission is to donate your old vinyl or purchase some of theirs.
13. Outdoor Concerts
Make the most of awesome weather and fair seasons by taking in the tunes outside.
Roanoke’s Elmwood Park includes a large amphitheater that hosts a range of music festivals throughout the year, including the Down by Downtown Music Festival.
Dr Pepper Park at The Bridges, also in Roanoke, welcomes tribute bands and more to their stage on Friday evenings in the summer.
Daleville Town Center in Daleville includes a performance pavilion where “Party in the Park” occurs Thursday evenings in the summer, and rising stars like Rutledge are known to take the stage.
A cool breeze floats off of Smith Mountain Lake while music lovers sit back (or dance) and enjoy the various genres of artists who play Friday through Sunday at Mango’s Bar & Grill at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta.
Wineries throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge often host local musicians in their tasting rooms and on their patios. Some, like Chateau Morrisette, have festivals that include a full schedule of bands. Fall is the premier season to sip and savor our wineries.
14. Ripple | Roanoke
Flavors of Woodstock are in the air at Ripple. It’s where you go for tie-dyed anything, incense, and other counter-culture experiences, including souvenirs of your favorite trippy bands. Sometimes “meet and greet” opportunities arise and musicians are on-site to play a tune or be available for fan photos.
15. Roanoke Symphony Orchestra | Roanoke
The largest professional orchestra in western Virginia plays right here in Virginia's Blue Ridge at the Salem Civic Center, Berglund Performing Arts Theatre, Jefferson Center, area churches, and even Elmwood Park from time to time. The symphony presents a variety of musical styles with selections from classic composers, as well as contemporary pop hits.
16. Kelley’s Music | Roanoke
What’s your musical pleasure? Kelley’s is likely to have whatever you need, and has been tapped as a top Indie Guitar Shop by Guitar Player Magazine. Lessons are available if scheduled in advance.
17. Enjoyable Noises | Roanoke
If you have a special need for your fretted instrument, Enjoyable Noises is a specialty shop for just that. Custom builds and modifications are what they’re known for, but assistance with obtaining rare or unique instruments is something else they do. Oh, and lessons (reservations required).
18. FloydFest | Floyd
This annual summer event has earned a reputation of being one of the best music festivals in the country. Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway in a scenic setting framed by the mountains, it’s multiple days of incredible music, workshops, healing arts, and outdoor recreation. It belongs on your bucket list!
19. 5 Points Music Sanctuary | Roanoke
A most interesting initiative, 5 Points Music Sanctuary is the stage through which 5 Points Music Foundation does its work. The Sanctuary brings live events for all to enjoy and funds the Foundation to provide advocacy for hearing loss and music therapy. Even those with hearing loss can experience a live show at The Sanctuary by way of the innovative new Subpac, a wireless, tactile bass system that concertgoers can wear to feel the low frequencies of the music. Special seating near the subwoofers is also available for those with hearing loss.
20. Jam Sessions
If you’re a musician yourself, hop into a jam session. You know they don’t mind a wanderer who can pick and grin. Those who don’t play are welcome to listen, of course! Our favorites are Dairy Queen in Rocky Mount, the Roanoke City Market Building, and anywhere you go in the Town of Floyd.
Map of Locations
Check our calendar of events to discover all of the great upcoming live music opportunities in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Visit our Music section to learn more about the local music scene and check out our visitvbr Spotify channel, which is full of unique playlists, including a VBR Music Scene playlist that highlights artists performing in the region each month.
You can also check out Blue Ridge Rocks, a website full of articles and profiles highlighting the music culture in Virginia's Blue Ridge.