The 10 Best Live Music Venues in Kentucky!

When people think of cities in the south with major live music scenes, Nashville is usually the first place to come to mind. However, what many people don’t know is that Kentucky also has a thriving music scene. Most major national acts make a stop to play at either the KFC Yum! Center or Rupp Arena, and bands just getting started often get their name in Louisville, playing at local venues and festivals like Forecastle, Headliners Music Hall, and Waterfront Wednesday. If you’re looking to see your favorite band—or next favorite band—playing live, check out the lineup at the 10 best music venues in Kentucky.

1. Headliners Music Hall, Louisville, KY

Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, looks just like any dive bar: It’s relatively small, has minimal décor, and is located away from the city’s major nightlife stretches. However, many major rock, metal, hip hop, and indie bands have made appearances at Headliners over the years, including My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Lindsey Buckingham.

2. Lyric Theatre, Lexington, KY

Every Monday night, visitors to the historic Lyric Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky, can watch the live performance that is filmed for the WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour. The show features the best new and established folk, blues, and bluegrass bands and is aired on more than 500 radio stations across the country. The theater was recently renovated and is an intimate venue that offers a personal experience.

3. Waterfront Park, Louisville, KY

Louisville’s Waterfront Park becomes the city’s largest outdoor music venue on the last Wednesday of the month from April through September for Waterfront Wednesdays. Hosted rain or shine, this free event brings thousands of residents to the banks of the Ohio River to watch live bands and indulge in fair food and draft beer from local food trucks. 

4. Broadbent Arena, Louisville, KY

Broadbent Arena, located within the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky, has hosted many major national acts over the years. It was the main place for concerts in the city before the opening of the KFC Yum! Center, but now it’s biggest concerts happen during the annual Kentucky State Fair. The arena has seating for more than 6,000 people and frequently hosts major country music acts.

5. Iroquois Park Amphitheater, Louisville, KY

The Iroquois Park Amphitheater is an outdoor music pavilion in Louisville’s Iroquois Park. The venue has more than 2,000 seats, all of which provide excellent views of the stage. Major acts like the Decemberists, Modest Mouse, Billy Idol, and Ryan Adams have played shows there in recent years, and shows are played rain or shine. All shows are open seating, so early arrivers score the best seats.

6. MoonDance Amphitheater, Lexington, KY

The MoonDance Amphitheater in Lexington, Kentucky, is an outdoor theater that’s home to the city’s Summer Nights in Suburbia series. Summer Nights in Suburbia is a free concert series hosted every Friday night from May to September that features live jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, and indie bands. Residents bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy live music and indulge in food from local food trucks.

7. KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY

With seating for more than 20,000, the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, has become a regular stopping point for major national acts that are touring the nation. In recent years, the arena has hosted Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Prince, and Madonna. The KFC Yum! Center is located on the Ohio River waterfront and boasts ample parking and nearby nightlife for food and drinks before and after shows.

8. Madison Theater, Covington, KY

The Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky, is a restored one-screen movie theater that is now a live music venue. The two-level venue packs in audiences to watch rock bands play in an intimate setting. In recent years, the venue has hosted bands like the Indigo Girls, Young the Giant, and Walk the Moon. Next door you’ll also find Madison Theater Live, a smaller venue that frequently hosts local bands.

9. The Louisville Palace, Louisville, KY

The historic Louisville Palace Theater is an architectural marvel inside and out. Every detail of the venue boasts it Spanish-baroque style, and you can spend hours just wandering around the building taking in every detail of its architecture. When seeing a concert at the Palace, you’ll feel like you’re at Hogwarts: when the lights go down, the ceiling glows blue and twinkles like stars in the night sky.

10. Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY

Rupp Arena, while best known as the home of the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team, is also a great place to catch national acts touring through Kentucky. The massive arena seats more than 23,000 people, and when it’s not filled with college basketball fans, it becomes a live music venue. Rupp Arena has hosted many major acts in recent years, including Elton John, Taylor Swift, Drake, and Pearl Jam.

View more Kentucky Live Music Venues.
Select a Kentucky town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Best Things To Do Near You
Enter City / State or Zip code below
Best Places To Go Near You
Enter City / State or Zip code below
Select your town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you:

Adair County

Allen County

Anderson County

Ballard County

Barren County

Bath County

Bell County

Boone County

Bourbon County

Boyd County

Boyle County

Bracken County

Breathitt County

Breckinridge County

Bullitt County

Butler County

Caldwell County

Calloway County

Campbell County

Carlisle County

Carroll County

Carter County

Casey County

Christian County

Clark County

Clay County

Clinton County

Crittenden County

Cumberland County

Daviess County

Edmonson County

Elliott County

Estill County

Fayette County

Fleming County

Floyd County

Franklin County

Fulton County

Gallatin County

Garrard County

Grant County

Graves County

Grayson County

Green County

Greenup County

Hancock County

Hardin County

Harlan County

Harrison County

Hart County

Henderson County

Henry County

Hickman County

Hopkins County

Jackson County

Jefferson County

Jessamine County

Johnson County

Kenton County

Knott County

Knox County

Larue County

Laurel County

Lawrence County

Lee County

Leslie County

Letcher County

Lewis County

Lincoln County

Livingston County

Logan County

Lyon County

Madison County

Magoffin County

Marion County

Marshall County

Martin County

Mason County

Mccracken County

Mccreary County

Mclean County

Meade County

Menifee County

Mercer County

Metcalfe County

Monroe County

Montgomery County

Morgan County

Muhlenberg County

Nelson County

Nicholas County

Ohio County

Oldham County

Owen County

Owsley County

Pendleton County

Perry County

Pike County

Powell County

Pulaski County

Robertson County

Rockcastle County

Rowan County

Russell County

Scott County

Shelby County

Simpson County

Spencer County

Taylor County

Todd County

Trigg County

Trimble County

Union County

Warren County

Washington County

Wayne County

Webster County

Whitley County

Wolfe County

Woodford County