We begin our tour here at the soon-to-be crown jewel of the Huntsville live music scene: The Orion Ampitheatre. Known as the Huntsville Ampitheatre throughout its development, the newly dubbed shining star of Huntsville’s music scene is set to open in May 13th-15th, 2022, and will do so with a tender musical bang! The opening weekend, nicknamed The First Waltz, will feature a wish list of performers including Brittany Howard, Drive-by Truckers, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, John Paul White, Mavis Staples, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and Waxahatchee. With a list of performers as illustrious as that, you could correctly gather that Huntsville itself is somewhat of a live music crossroads here in the American South, and, while the Orion will certainly be a powerhouse in the scene for the foreseeable future, there’s plenty of other venues of all kinds for us to check out!
Looking for a more laid back, outdoor music venue perfect for a weekend hangout with friends both human and canine alike? Head just a little ways away from the Orion Amphitheatre and we’ll find ourselves at The Camp! Here in Huntsville’s happening new Mid City District, The Camp is a splendid little oasis that is sure to elicit feelings of southern hominess. A slew of unique artists come to the modest outdoor stage here to perform their tunes and jam out while audience members enjoy food and beverages from any of the several individual vendors located on The Camp’s grounds. Come check out this unique venue, and make sure you head by the coffee shop before you head out. You can’t miss it, it’s made out of a shipping container! We have just a bit of a drive until we get to the next venue, but for now hop onto University Drive and head towards downtown.
As we follow US Route 72 into the city, it becomes the Huntsville thoroughfare University Drive. Working in tandem with the more southerly located I-565, University Drive is one of the two main Western entryways into the city. Stay straight here for a bit and start to acclimate yourself, because the next stop we have is a bit of a wild one!
Did you happen to roll into Rocket City on your Harley? Do you like live music every night? Well then, “It’s Time To Shag, Baby”! Shagnasty’s Grubbery & Pourhouse has something for everyone, whether that be the live music every night, a 12 foot HD Big Screen for all of your most radical sports event viewing desires, or the expansive outside patio and bar where some of the region's top acts perform. Not only is this biker friendly owned and operated venue one of the coolest in town (just head over for Thursday bike night and see for yourself), but they also have one of the most killer grills this side of Huntsville. Starting as just a gathering of good friends who liked live music and great whiskey, the dream of Shagnasty’s became a reality in 2016 when this dive opened as an essential stop during a night out in Huntsville.
For our next stop on the list we find ourselves here at the incredibly unique Stovehouse! Built on the bones of the 100-year-old Martin stove factory, this once industrially-focused plot of land is now squarely aimed at pleasing people! With multiple stages for live music that feature a diverse set of events, as well as incredible food, shopping, and leisure options, Stovehouse is one of Huntsville’s premier destinations, period! Come chill out in the courtyard and play your partner in a game of “cornhole at the OK Corral” as you listen to the dulcet tones of one of the countless live performers that grace the stages of the Stovehouse throughout the year, there’s almost no way you could be disappointed!
Perhaps one of the most potent signs of Huntsville’s resurging neighborhoods is the existence and flourishing of our next venue, Campus No. 805! From 1951 to 2009 this building served as an educational building in several forms, including the most recent Roy L. Stone Middle School, which closed in 2009. Finally, in 2014 the building was bought, and now serves as a commercial crossroads for all of Huntsville! Come Check out the Lone Goose Saloon to check out awesome live music and sip incredible local beer, or any of the other venues that now populate the halls of this former school! Straight to Ale, Yellowhammer Brewing, The Bar, and countless other food, shopping, and entertainment options are right at your fingertips as well, so even if the music is what brought you here, there’s plenty more reasons to stay!
Up next we have probably the most significant venue in all of Huntsville, or, at least the most expansive! Named for the famous rocketeer that brought a renaissance to Huntsville, The Von Braun Center is a multipurpose facility and convention center that hosts an incredible slew of acts and events throughout the year! Within the extensive grounds of the VBC, several of Huntsville’s most premier music venues are housed. Whether that be the Propst Arena, which is equipped to handle major concerts the likes of Five-Finger Death Punch and others, or the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, which is a perfect venue for performing arts from Broadway and ballet, to symphonies. If two of the biggest capacity venues in Huntsville weren’t enough to impress you, the brand new Mars Music Hall is the VBC’s newest and hippest live music outlet, and features legendary acts like Graham Nash, Primus, Coheed and Cambria, Wale, Flogging Molly, and more! Now, if any of those options feel like too much for you, the eclectic Playhouse, or the scenic rooftop Rhythm on Monroe bar are sure to strike your elevated fancy!
Here we are, smack dab in the middle of Downtown Huntsville! Amongst the Rocket CIty’s bustling downtown are two of its most happening live music venues, the first of which we’re passing now: The Voodoo Lounge. With live music 7 nights a week, the great staff and bar menu are sure to get you in the door here, and make you keep coming back! Located in an attractive underground space that was originally purchased by a blues musician, this downtown dive is one of the cooler spots on Huntsville’s nightlife tour.
As we turn onto Eastside Square, we approach another key concert venue in Huntsville’s downtown: Humphrey’s Bar and Grill. Yet another hot spot on the nightlife scene where you can hear live music and order tasty treats seven days a week, Humphrey’s offers a complete menu of food and entertainment! COme check out the happy hour, drink specials, and, of course, constant good tunes!
For good times, and good people, head on over to this next destination on our tour to get #Sidetracked. Located just outside the heart of downtown, Sidetracks Music Hall is one of the more robust venues in this area of the Rocket City. Plenty of delicious drinks and eats are at your fingertips, and the slick sounds of multiple different genres of musical acts fill the air about the stage here. Looking over the band, is the venue’s iconic mural, featuring a 60s-style robot snatching a rocket from the City’s sky. Surreality is something just within reach here at Sidetracks, so come on down and try your hand at letting loose.
As we begin to wind down our tour, we come to our last venue in the downtown area of Huntsville: the Furniture Factory. A similar vibe to the aforementioned Camp outdoor venue, this outdoor-based live music outlet has been a mainstay in the scene. A great place to meet friends both new and old, the awesome patio, delicious kitchen and contagious tunes are all something you can find here at this historic downtown Huntsville location. Not only does music fill the air here, but jumbo-tv’s fill the walls, and are sure to satisfy all your sports-viewing desires! Stay and wind down for a bit, because our last stop on the tour is located near Monte Sano State Park, just outside of the center of the CIty!
I hope you enjoyed the scenic ride out here! We didn’t come all the way out here for nothing, this next stop is probably the most scenic! Here at Burritt on the Mountain, one can find themselves lost in a whole different world. Once the home of a wealthy Huntsville resident, the property here has been transformed into a beacon of education and culture that resonates down the mountains here and across the city. Connecting the growth of civilization in Huntsville with the interminable staying power of nature in Monte Sano State Park results in a spectacular space here on the mountain, one that attracts artisans and musicians of all kinds, a fact highlighted by the newly incepted Round Top Folk Festival in November. Burritt on the Mountain is a special place, and you can find all the reasons why we love Huntsville right here.