There are a lot of reasons to come to St. Augustine–our history, our beaches, our restaurants, our art scene. It’s time to add another one to that list: the live music venues, and the many opportunities to hear great musicians and amazing bands.
The hub is a HUGE music fan–writing songs with his friends all through school, going to concerts, and complaining that there hasn’t been a new episode of Live from Daryl’s House since 2016. When the hub and I searched for our first house in Baltimore, the first item on our ‘need’ list was room to store his cd’s and vinyl.
Despite that musical background, we didn’t ‘get’ how great the live music in St. Augustine was until we moved here. There are so many venues around town–and they get great acts and a huge variety of music. You like country music, alt rock, classic rock, dance music, classical, reggae or heavy metal? You can find all of it in St. Augustine. Here is a round up of some of our favorite St. Augustine live music venues:
The St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Just 2.4 miles away from the Bayfront Marin House, across the Bridge of Lions. This outdoor amphitheatre is small, and perfectly situated among trees (and practically in the shadow of the St. Augustine Lighthouse). The venue seats 4100. They get an unbelievable variety of acts–think about Brad Paisley, Harry Connick Jr., ZZ Top, Slightly Stoopid, the B-52s, Violent Femmes, Willie Nelson, The Decemberists, Boy George & Culture Club, Paramore, Salt N Pepa, and Donny & Marie!! (Seriously, their booking folks do a great job offering musical variety!)
The Amp is located at 1340c A1A South in St. Augustine–get there via car (there are multiple parking lots), uber, or even a pedicab. 904.209.0367. Photo courtesy of St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s Facebook Page
Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
Twenty-one miles from the Bayfront Marin House, and just over 18 miles from our Beachcomber Cottages, The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall is an amazing venue with 450 seats. The venue was previously the Cornerstone Baptist Church, so the acoustics are great–a real plus for music lovers. One downside people sometimes mention is the fact that the seating is folding chairs and the floor does not have a slope–but that has never bothered me, because every chair is literally so close to the stage that you could throw a football to the performers. We’ve seen some great acts here–Art Garfunkle (an acoustic show with just him and a guitar player–and he talked a lot about his career and recent throat therapy), the Zombies (twice, because the first show was so great!), Todd Rundgren, David Crosby, and Justin Hayward from the Moody Blues (you can see our musical taste–and age group–shining through here).
Colonial Oak Stage at Colonial Quarter
In addition to bigger acts, St. Augustine has an amazing local music scene (see more on that below). Colonial Oak Stage is an outdoor amphitheatre that is anchored by–imagine that–a huge Colonial-era oak tree! Its huge branches, strung with lanterns, stretch above 175 seats. They have some great local musicians here–like Paper City Hustlers, the Kristen Lee Trio, and JW Gilmore & The Blues Authority–and Narrow magazine (again–see more on that below!) hosts an open mic with new talent several times a month. I’ve also seen my brother’s favorite Southern Culture on the Skids–twice! Grab some food at the St. Augustine Seafood Company in Colonial Quarter, then grab a beer and a picnic table…you’re in for a great night. Colonial Oak Stage at Colonial Quarter, 12 S Castillo Street, 888.991.0933.
For a long, long time (they opened in 1945), Tradewinds has been THE place to see live music in St. Augustine. Jimmy Buffet played here before he became a household name (the owner of the bar famously suggested that Buffett keep his day job), as did Gamble Rogers, the Platters, the Byrds, and the Coasters. Today, you can hear a great line up of local musicians: Spanky, Cottonmouth, Those Guys, Blistur.
You can walk past them pretty much any night and the doors will be flung open to the street with loud, happy, head-bopping, toe tapping tunes coming from the interior. Oh, and there’s a dance floor and cold beer too.
Another cool stop for music lovers in St. Augustine. Right across the Bridge of Lions, Hornski’s has been described as one part rec room, one part man cave and one part music collection. They have a great selection of vinyl, and cold craft beer. Closed Mondays, and open at 4:00-ish from Tuesday through Sunday, closing at 10-ish (or a little later if the conversation is really good!)
Hornski’s Vinyl Lounge, 106 Anastasia Boulevard. No phone.
Want to learn more about our local bands and musicians? If you’ve been to St. Augustine before, you know that almost every restaurant and bar has live music (and some truly great musicians too). When we want to see what’s going on, we pick up NARROW magazine, which focuses on all things music in St. Augustine and Jacksonville Beach. There are over 300 places to pick one up around town–if you’d like a copy, just let us know.
Sing Out Loud
Our own annual music event, Sing Out Loud (aka South by Southeast) takes place every September, this year from September 6 – 29. There are literally HUNDREDS of free concerts during the month, held in public spaces like the downtown gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitucion, area churches, almost all the downtown parks, and even on the sidewalks in front of popular retail areas . The month-long event culminates with a big concert in the Amp–this year, it’s KACEY MUSGRAVES!! That concert is the only one that has a ticket cost.
Other acts include St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Shovels & Rope, Jenny Lewis, and Kurt Vile and the Violations. More acts are announced each week–check out their website to stay on top of the schedule. www.singoutloudfestival.com.
There are some super exciting changes this year to this event–for instance, this year, all of the bed and breakfasts in town are offering special pricing and events throughout the month. Beer tastings, street fairs–all sorts of awesome plans! There are 25 bed and breakfasts in town, and we’re all participating in the Sing Out Loud Extended Play/Extended Stay special.
Your own Bayfront Marin House is planning TWO house concerts with some of our favorite artists–Jill Sobule will be playing September 8 and Francis Dunnery will be here September 12. Jill was last here in 2013…you may remember her from her hits Supermodel (from the Clueless soundtrack), and the original I Kissed a Girl. Her concerts are fun and intimate–and we just love the sense of humor in her lyrics. Plus, her voice!
Francis was here in 2018–he played to a packed house that absolutely rocked! Francis was the lead singer and a songwriter for the English band It Bites…and his guitar skills are amazing. He toured with Robert Plant (last year he told us a funny story about playing on David Letterman), as well as Santana, Lauryn Hill, and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.
Sing Out Loud is a fun event for the entire family (it’s never too early to instill musical tastes in the young ones), and each year is more and more popular–so book your room early and check the website for additional information on the booked acts.
If you haven’t heard of Gamble Rogers, you owe it to yourself to listen to some of his work. You can hear recordings every Saturday morning on local radio 88.5, or use the iHeart Radio app and search for Radio Free Oklawaha County. Gamble wasn’t just a great singer and guitar picker, he also was a great storyteller (Oklawaha County is a fictional county full of interesting fictional residents). A music festival has been held in his memory for 23 years, usually the first weekend of May. This year, performers sang and shared stories under the big oak tree at Colonial Quarter. There were over 55 bands, plus crafts and activities for kids. Watch the website for news about the 2020 fest!
If you’re a music lover and want to share your favorite hidden spot, please leave a comment below. We’re always looking to ‘discover’ the next great musician here in St. Augustine!Book Now