The New Columbus Live Music Trail shines a light on the city’s vast music scene


CAAMP’s Evan Westfall performs in the band’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio

“There is such dynamism in the scene, from small clubs to arenas and even the stadium. I know I will always see something exciting whenever I’m in town. – Two-time Grammy winner Pete Ganbarg, Chairman of A&R for Atlantic Records.

Twenty One Pilots, Caamp, OAR, Rascal Flatts, Willie Phoenix, Dwight Yoakam and Bobby Floyd are just a few of the musicians who got their start in Columbus. Before they were household names, they played the stages of Columbus, from outdoor venues to dive bars and from sold-out arenas to independent record stores. Renowned as one of the nation’s top unknown music cities, Ohio’s capital invites visitors and residents alike to experience its thriving music scene with the new Columbus Live Music Trail.

Launched today by Experience Columbus in partnership with the Columbus Music Commission, the Columbus Live Music Trail features more than 40 live music venues. While other cities and states have music trails celebrating music history and genres like bluegrass, blues, and country, the Columbus Live Music Trail is one of the first of its kind. The trail depicts a city’s contemporary music scene and highlights venues where you can listen to a variety of genres, including pop, punk, rock, rap, jazz, bluegrass and more.

The Columbus Live Music Trail is launched on the heels of the premiere of Setter, a psychological thriller set in the underground music scene of Columbus. Filmed in Columbus, the film features real Columbus bands like Damn the Witch Siren, WYD, Mungbean and more. Directed and edited by Ori Segev and Noah Dixon, Poser was recently named a New York Times Critics’ Pick and can be seen in theaters nationwide starting this month. Fans of the film can visit Columbus and use the Columbus Live Music Trail to experience music venues featured in the film, such as Cafe Bourbon Street and Ace of Cups.

“Music contributes $170 billion a year to the US economy, with music tourism being an important component,” says Bruce Garfield, executive director of the Columbus Music Commission. “We are thrilled to partner with Experience Columbus to shine a light on many of the wonderful live music venues that are driving our city’s cultural and economic growth. The Columbus Live Music Trail will be a great tool for visitors and residents to experience these places and participate in the Music Columbus movement.

Some of the stops along the trail include Dick’s Den, a famous jazz venue; Newport Music Hall, the oldest rock club in the country; Dirty Dungarees, a laundromat and bar; Natalie’s, where the food is as good as the music; and KEMBA Live!, a large outdoor/indoor venue showcasing national artists. The course is easy to use with a simple download to your mobile device and seamless registration at each site.

According to Garfield, music producers, industry executives and even fans visiting Columbus for the first time often leave uttering the same four words – “I had no idea” – in response to the big stage of the city.

“I always love seeing live music in Columbus,” says Pete Ganbarg, two-time Grammy winner, president of A&R for Atlantic Records. “There is such dynamism in the scene, from small clubs to arenas and even the stadium. I know I will always see something exciting whenever I’m in town.

In addition to the diversity of music venues, Columbus is also home to some of the best independent record stores in the country. Before catching a live show, visit stores like Used Kids Records, Magnolia Thunderpussy, Spoonful Records, Elizabeth’s Records, Lost Weekend Records and more.

Columbus Experience President and CEO Brian Ross says the Columbus Live Music Trail has the potential to bring a new flow of visitors to the city. “Research shows that 61% of overnight visitors to Columbus participate in entertainment activities like concerts, which is above the US average,” says Ross. “The new Columbus Live Music Trail showcases Columbus as a premier destination for music lovers and will attract new visitors to explore our city.”

Kenny McDonald, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, said, “Music is and always has been a part of great city development. As the Columbus area grows, so does its incredible music scene.

Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, says arts and culture have always been an important part of the quality of life in Columbus, but the live music scene has flourished over the past decade. “It is now not only incredibly diverse, but contributes significantly to our quality of life, our economy and our appeal to tourists,” says Katzenmeyer. “This trail is a great way for people to find all of Columbus’ amazing live music in one place and have fun doing it.”

The Columbus Live Music Trail is one of many existing Experience Columbus guides to the best the city has to offer. Visitors can also explore the Columbus Distillery Trail, Columbus Coffee Trail, Columbus Outdoor Trails Pass, Short North Art Trail, and CBUS SOUL Sculpture Trail.

To learn more about what makes the Columbus music scene unique, watch this video. Explore the Columbus Live Music Trail at

About Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is a city like no other. Vibrant and lively, Ohio’s capital is known for its open attitude, smart style and entrepreneurial spirit. Columbus’ mix of neighborhoods, vibrant nightlife, remarkable music scene, arts and dining experiences, events, attractions and accommodations are all made unforgettable by the diversity of its outgoing locals who eagerly await and warmly welcome visitors. visitors. Columbus is proud to have been selected as the host city for 2023 PCMA Convening Leaders, which brings together global business event professionals, and the 2023 annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. Free travel guides, maps, online reservations and detailed information are available at Visitor information is also available on Facebook: @ExpCols and Instagram: @ExperienceColumbus.

About the Columbus Music Commission

The Columbus Music Commission is dedicated to seeing Columbus become a globally recognized center for music and innovation. It is their mission to connect Columbus area music creators, the music business and the community to engage in the creation, performance and promotion of great music. They believe that through the support of music, we can help build richer, happier and more vibrant lives for people in our community. To learn more, visit



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