The Top Spots for Live Music

Tennessee is known for its music heritage, and it’s no secret the far corner of the state is home to some of the best sounds in Tennessee. In fact, you don’t have to look too far to find live performances any night of the week in Northeast Tennessee.


Bristol is a hot spot for music any time of the year. Country music was even born here in 1927, as the city is known as the Birthplace of Country Music. It also hosts the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion each fall. While there are numerous stages and bars throughout downtown, a local favorite is Stateline Bar & Grill. If you’re looking for a timeless setting in a restored theatre, Paramont Bristol brings a variety of acts to the downtown scene from comedy, musicals, theatre, and traveling artists from a variety of genres.


Kingsport is home to Model City Tap House, a popular spot for families and groups that sets the scene for an evening out with live music and drafts from the tap. The Twilight Alive concert series features local favorites and takes place downtown during the summer.  And Kingsport FunFest! is a two-week long summer festival bringing some of the biggest names in Christian, Country, and classic decade favorites to the stage.

Johnson City 

We can’t mention music in Northeast Tennessee without noting the iconic Down Home in Johnson City.  Since 1976, this local dive has hosted some pretty big names. The listening room features a variety of shows including music, poetry, and storytelling. Johnson City’s newest venue is the ETSU Martin Center for the Arts, which brings internationally known acts to center stage including music, comedy, Broadway, and more

Mountain City 

Mountain City also has a treasured past with music that is told through its music mural mile walking trail that spans through downtown.  They also host the Long Journey Home music festival each year, and the restored Heritage Hall Theatre brings special music events to the community.


The Niswonger Performing Arts Center hosts a wide selection of programming including musical artists in multiple genres and touring theatrical performances. The Capitol Theatre of Greenville originated in 1934, and features comedians, movies, and concerts.  The Lyrics on the Lawn outdoor summer concert series has been around for more than 25 years with a variety of tunes on the lawn of the Dickson-Williams Mansion.


Up and coming to the live music scene is downtown Rogersville. The Hollywood Hillbilly’s elevated stage is almost as unique as the bands that play at the popular local eatery. A few steps down the street, Red Dog on Main also hosts a variety of acts.


Elizabethton’s Riverside Taphouse is a great outdoor option for music and also hosts an open mic night on Fridays. Nearby, you’ll also find Jiggy Ray’s Pizzaria that features local tunes. 


If music by the river is more your style, USA Raft Adventure Resort produces the Sol Slam Mountain Jam with some of the best folk acts in the business each fall. They also offer live music from the banks of the Nolichucky River on holidays and weekends.


While Jonesborough is home to storytelling, you can also find live music at Tennessee Hills Distillery year-round. The International Storytelling Center is also a great place to visit to catch some of the world’s best storytellers, or the local storytellers guild. Jonesborough even has its own live radio show that you can watch from the McKinney Center each month, and two outdoor music series in the summer called Music on the Square and Main Street Brews & Tunes.

It seems like anywhere you go in Northeast Tennessee, the treasured stories, culture, and roots to the origin of mountain music seem to guide your way.