Sunday, June 30, 2019
When we say Spartanburg is an arts town, we don’t just mean that we have lots of public art scattered about and studios for you to peruse. Sure, we have those, but when we say we’re an arts town, we mean that creative muses seem to grace the greater-Spartanburg area with a never ending supply of exceptional painters, dancers, actors, sculptors, writers, and—seemingly in particular—musicians.
Allow us to introduce you to the origins of some of the south’s most iconic sounds—including gospel, bluegrass, country, and, of course, southern rock—as well as the gifted people who are responsible for some of the most beloved melodies, tunes, and styles of all time:
There’s no better place to immerse yourself into our instrumental impact on the world of music than on the Spartanburg Music Trail.
Established in 2009, this 30-minute, self-guided walking tour will not only take you through our lively downtown cultural district, but will introduce you to nearly 200 years of robust music history, dating back to the 1830s with William “Singing Billy” Walker!
We are the birthplace of shape-note music, and the home of the certified-platinum bands. This is where hits were written, and where the three-finger “string style” banjo technique was perfected. Our musicians pepper musical halls-of-fame nation-wide, and have inspired custom-built instruments that went on to become popular choices for other well-known artists.
We could tell you more, but we don’t want to spoil the tour.
Simply use your smartphone to navigate between the markers along the trail, enjoy the narration by Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer (and Spartanburg native) Peter Cooper, and listen to song clips from these iconic artists.
Once you’ve explored our musical roots, it’s time to branch out and experience our thriving, present-day music scene.
Live music is deeply entwined with day-to-day life in Spartanburg, and with 21 indoor live performance venues, nine outdoor performance venues, 1,300+ annual public events and festivals, and dozens of bars and restaurants that host local bands in downtown alone, it’s not difficult to find a show or performance that’ll pique your interest.
Morgan Square is the place to be for live music Thursday and Friday evenings in Spring and Summer. Admission is free, so come have a drink and dance the night away as local and regional musicians perform at Music on Main, Jazz on the Square, and Live on the Square (new event starting September 2019).
From there, let your personal preferences guide you. Love punk, metal, indie, and hip-hop? See who’s playing at Ground Zero. Or maybe you’d prefer to check out our singer-songwriters while enjoying a craft beer at any of our local breweries, or dinner at The Peddler or Brickhouse Pizzeria & Grille. The Music Stand at Blues Boulevard is a must-visit for jazz lovers, and you can dance the night away as DJs create custom soundtracks to the night at almost every one of our bars.
Our passion for music of all genres is palpable and has not only inspired local virtuosos, but has attracted some impressive national acts over the years. We’ve been very fortunate to host the likes of Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Chet Atkins, Duke Ellington, Burl Ives, Yo Yo Ma, Taylor Swift, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Journey, Ray Charles, Hall and Oates, Brad Paisley, Faith Hill, Alison Krauss, Harry Connick, Jr., Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, B.B. King, and more
When you visit Spartanburg, you have the unique opportunity to not only walk in the footsteps of legends, but to stand in the presence your favorite stars, and discover new sounds before they permeate beyond our county lines. Once you’ve been here you’ll know. There’s only one. Spartanburg.