When planning a tour, it’s easy to hit the biggest cities with the most well-known scenes. New York City, Nashville, Los Angeles, Austin, and tons of others are famous for their great music scenes and are exciting places to play. However, here is a list of those lesser thought of cities that have thriving music scenes and are definitely worth hitting while on tour.
While kind of in the middle of nowhere, Rochester is ranked the number 9 music scene in the country by The Atlantic Cities. Home to the Water Street Music Hall and Bug Jar, Rochester is actually New York’s third largest city. If you were touring the Northeast, I’d definitely try and book a gig up in Rochester.
Cleveland is publicly known as a great music scene, but there’s one more main reason that it is really on this list. According to Travel and Leisure, Cleveland is the number one city in affordability. Saving money is always a big deal, so that is why Cleveland must be really recommended. Grog Shop is probably the strongest venue in Cleveland, hosting live music 7 nights a week. And you can’t forget the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Home to one of the best indie rock scenes in the country, this 3 million person city is a place I would absolutely try and hit on a tour. The Aladdin Theater and Mississippi Studios are the two best places for any indie band to rock out at. If you play indie rock, Portland is one city that is an absolute must.
Shocking, I know. These two cities are only a little over an hour apart from each other and are home to two fantastic music scenes. The Orpheum Theater in Madison and Shank Hall in Milwaukee seem to stand out for the venues in these two Wisconsin cities.
While I’d still recommend getting to the larger cities and playing gigs there, these cities are just as valid as any others. And if you really want to make us at Bands on a Budget happy, stop by Asbury Park, NJ. We have an awesome music scene here and would love to see any band that uses Bands on a Budget play here!