Live music in Winston-Salem, North Carolina sometimes can be difficult to find. With big bands like U2 and Ozzfest going to nearby Charlotte, and even somewhat popular musical acts like Hilary Duff and the American Idol tour going to next door neighbor Greensboro, it seems like residents of Winston-Salem get cheated. However, there are a few places to go if you are in the know.
The most well-known acts always end up at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The LJVM Coliseum has hosted in the past Elton John, Rock the Vote, and Gretchen Wilson.
There is not a single bad seat of the 15,000 available in this arena, and, unlike most speaker-enhanced venues, this coliseum is small enough that the reverb doesn’t hit you two minutes later. The prices of the musical acts are also usually cheaper than nearby Charlotte and Raleigh venues too, so if the act comes to both, the LJVM Coliseum will be the cheaper, better show.
Bad side of this concert venue is the same as with any coliseum: traffic. University Parkway is busy enough without the cars emptying onto it after a concert. Be prepared to wait a half and hour before you can exit the parking lot.
While this venue is usually in use by the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, or the Dixie Classic Fair, or even minor league hockey and circus events, there is usually a musical act once or twice a month.
Parking: Side lot on Deacon Street, or Main lot on University Parkway. Follow parking personnel to a space.
On the web: http://www.ljvm.com
2825 University Pkwy.
Winston-Salem, NC 27105
Phone : 336-725-5635
A favorite with concert goers is Ziggy’s. They often feature the smaller or up-and-coming bands, such as Jump Little Children, Drive-By Truckers, and Sam Bush. Cover bands, Jam Bands, and Indie Rock groups are also prevalent.
The stage is small, with no room for light shows or fireworks, but lets the audience close enough that one could pass a note to the band (as has happened). There are higher platforms to stand on for those who can’t get down front, so view is non-obscured in all parts of the concert hall. Most shows are 21 years and up.There are several colleges surrounding Ziggy’s, so many of the concert goers there are regulars. Musical acts are scheduled an average of 4 days a week.
The downside? There are a few stools for early birds, but otherwise standing only.
Parking: A tiny lot by Ziggy’s on Baity Street gets filled pretty quickly. Several restaurants along the street threaten towing if you park in their lots. Best solution? The grassy fields or random parking lots along Baity Street, and then walk.
On the web: www.ziggyrock.net
170 W. 9th St.
Winston-Salem NC 27101
Phone : 336-722-5000
RubberSoul Bar is a fantastic hidden music venue that lets you hear soulful sounds. Jazz, Soul, and R&B bands play often, with open mic nights common.
The space is limited, mostly taken up by the bar and the few tables laying around. The stage is setup in the corner, and is visible from most of the bar. The musical acts are usually alive and entertaining, and many of the bands will have repeat performances at this same spot throughout the year. 4-5 nights a week one can catch a good show at this live music spot.
Unfortunately, RubberSoul Bar is members only, so walking in off the street is not an option. It costs $5 a year to join. This prevents any sort of cover charge.
Parking: There are a few lots around this part of downtown, but mostly it’s on the side of Burke Street. The venue isn’t well known enough to create parking problems, so usually a spot near the door is viable. There is also a small lot around back of the building, but pulling in and out is difficult, and it usually goes first.
On the web: www.rubbersoulbar.com
1148 Burke Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
The Garage in downtown is one of the most unique and fun live music venues. This spot is actually a working car garage, but at nights turns into a jive 50’s joint. Greasers and poodle skirts resurrect in this spot, and great shows of all music can be seen here. Rock shows, folk and blues shows, or just plain eclectic is abundant and will be played.
This concert place doesn’t get much promotion, so the downside is the missed shows that area residents hear about too late.
Parking: Downtown all the meters are turned off after business hours, so feel free to park up and down 7th.
On the web: No official website for The Garage, but the Folk Music Bands that play there are at www.fiddleandbow.org
110 W. Seventh Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27127
What else to check out in Winston-Salem?
The Steven’s Center often hosts performances and occasionally live music, mostly from the Winston-Salem Symphony and from the North Carolina School of the Arts students. Various styles and acts occur frequently, so check their calendar often.
No official website, check for performances through specific acts’ sites.
405 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27127
The North Carolina School of the Arts is one of the most performance-ridden places in all of North Carolina. Symphonies, Operas, and occasionally a special “Professional” performance will be highlighted.
On the web: www.ncarts.edu
1533 South Main Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27127
Other musical events such as the annual Culturefest and shows at Salem College occasionally arise, and a good place to keep an eye out for them is the Winston-Salem Journal or Smitty’s Notes. On the web: www.journalnow.com, and www.smittysnotes.com, respectfully.