One of the best things about living in Atlanta for the past nine years for me has been the endless stream of live music options that we enjoy. From small venues like the EARL and the 529 in East Atlanta Village to serene concert spaces like Terminal West to the massive displays every season at the State Farm Arena. Atlanta has something for every music lover year-round.
Because this is such a huge part of Atlanta’s personality, the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on live music venues, performances and performers has been hard to digest for many of us. Fortunately, more spaces are adapting to the pandemic and are able to offer a safe variation of the live concerts that we’ve been missing. We’ve found some great ways to enjoy live music in Atlanta this season while supporting the artists and spaces bringing it to you.
Parking Lot Concert Series
In southwest Atlanta, the Parking Lot Concert Series is a new way to enjoy music drive-in theater style, allowing for social distancing and fresh air for a safe experience. This series has hosted hip-hop artists like Skooly, Travis Porter and Young Dro. There are at least two more events planned for September 26 and October 3. The Murphy Fairgrounds location offers space for 300 parked cars, and attendees can order food from select vendors online as well.
Address: Gateway Center Arena Lot E, College Park, GA
This venue was closed due to the pandemic, but delightedly reopened in August. Blind Willie’s is in the Virginia Highland neighborhood and hosts live music performances every weekend from their small Highland Ave. stage. Many featured performers are blues artists, but they also host plenty of variations, with some brass bands and cover artists on the lineup as well. Guests are asked to wear their masks at this indoor venue except when eating or drinking. Visiting Blind Willie’s is a great way to support this neighborhood gem that has brought good food and good tunes to Atlanta since 1986.
Address: 828 North Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
Sunday jazz in the Park
Jazz lovers need look no further than the Howell Park/Historic West End neighborhood of Atlanta for some of the finest jazz the city has to offer. Every Sunday, Music in the Park hosts jazz night outside of Gallery 992. This formerly indoor and late-night event has adapted to COVID-19 by moving outdoors into the grassy lot across from Gallery 992. At the corner of Peeples Street and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW., starting around 6-6:30 p.m. on Sundays, come prepared to sit outside and enjoy a one-hour set by the house jazz. Followed by this set, there is an open jam that any musicians are welcome to participate in. This event brings out some of the best jazz talents in Atlanta. There is plenty of space to spread out for safety during this time of necessary social distancing.
Address: 992 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30310
A unique option developed in response to the diminishing availability of indoor classical music performance is the Candlelight Concert series presented by Fever Originals. This group has events through November 12th and presents candlelit classical music performances by string quartets. There are typically one-hour performances at both 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. for each date. Tickets are around $50 per person, and food and nonalcoholic beverages are available for purchase at each venue.
Live at the Battery Atlanta
Though we can’t attend baseball games in person right now due to the pandemic, we can still enjoy the Atlanta Braves’ home, The Battery Atlanta. Live at the Battery runs through the end of September every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening (Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.) Catch a live band or DJ at this popular sporting location – a great option for those living near or in Cobb County, or even baseball fans who are missing times at The Battery. Face coverings are required unless eating or drinking for guests over the age of 3, and The Battery is taking other COVID-related precautions to ensure visitors’ safety.
Address: 825 Battery Avenue, Atlanta, GA, US 30339
Sunset Sessions at Park Tavern
Another great Sunday choice is Sunset Sessions Series at Park Tavern in Piedmont Park every Sunday through November 8. You can’t beat the atmosphere of Park Tavern right on the edge of Atlanta’s favorite Midtown park, plus the food and beverages at the establishment are top-notch. This free series has been around for many years and is made possible by local and national sponsors. It’s a seasonal favorite to enjoy in a semi-outdoor venue where social distancing is realistic and doesn’t detract from the experience.
Address: 500 10th St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
Red Light Café Wednesday Jazz Jam
Between the Midtown and Virginia Highland neighborhoods in the heart of Atlanta, the Red Light Café is a small venue, tucked away on Amsterdam Avenue. Known for their Americana, bluegrass, country, roots rock, and blues shows, they are hosting Wednesday Jazz Jam every Wednesday with the Gordon Vernick Quartet through the end of September. Make sure to keep checking the schedule at the Red Light Café, however, because they do have other live music events on their calendar for the coming fall/winter seasons.
Address: 553-1 Amsterdam Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
Attic Bar at the Old Vinings Inn
Most Fridays and Saturdays this fall, you can catch evening performances by an array of musicians and entertainers at the Old Vinings Inn Attic Bar space. Just bring a $15 cover charge to support the entertainment. This venue limits the capacity of these shows for safety, so reservations are strongly encouraged for any upcoming fall performances. Guests who spend $20 or more receive a $10 gift card for their next visit, so a trip to this venue may lead to more.
It’s exciting to see that Atlanta is adapting to the current situation and finding new ways to bring music and music lovers together again. So, check out one of these options to support the Atlanta music scene this year.
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