Music to Our Ears

Tallahassee marches to a new beat as music scene expands

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Colin Abbey

Chance the Rapper performs for an enthusiastic crowd at the Civic Center. The artist’s third album, Coloring Book, was nominated for three Grammys and was the first streaming-only album in music history to have been nominated.


Light streams from Doak S. Campbell stadium, and thousands of voices erupt in song, not cheers and chants. In a converted feed store, honky-tonk tunes reverberate off of exposed-brick walls, and boots stomp hardwood floors. Under a starlit sky in Cascades Park, couples sit close on blankets, their arms wrapped around each other, as they listen to the soulful croon of Alabama Shakes. Beer glasses clink in a bar on Gaines Street as college students sing along to Top 40 covers and Eagles tunes played by an acoustic and percussion duo. The next morning, mimosas and eggs benedict are enjoyed in the presence of a folk-music trio. On any given weekend, music is in the air in Tallahassee.

Tallahassee is known for its hometown-college-town atmosphere, political decision-making and acres upon acres of swaying live oaks. We do not claim to be a Nashville, or New Orleans, but our music scene is ever evolving and is progressing in a notable direction. That is not to say we are a “music town”; but we are being put on the map as a destination not just for local, but also national talent. 

Visit Tallahassee’s campaigns have done a superb job at promoting the appeal of this city. Their most recent goals have involved marketing Tallahassee in three areas: the food/craft beer scene, the untouched nature scene and the arts scene — with music heavily represented. As the state’s capital and as a bustling city that is reachable from Northeast Florida and South Georgia, music making its mark makes sense. 

“The music scene here has grown tremendously over the past few years and is an important aspect to the community, as well as to visitors coming to the area,” explained Lauren Shoaf Pace, Marketing Communications Director for Visit Tallahassee. “Venues of all sizes continue opening and offering live music, which speaks to the community’s interest in and demand for entertainment, as well as expanding the options available for local talent and touring entertainers.” 

Brian Durham, a musician who has performed for many years in Tallahassee with the local band, The New 76ers, agrees. “With the help and inspiration of others opening appealing venues that cater to a larger crowd, we are witnessing a growth in the music scene of Tallahassee.” 

Within the past couple of years, an amphitheater has risen in a centralized park, a mall has transformed into a music scene and Florida State University venues have welcomed national acts. 

Notes are now bumping from all quadrants of Tallahassee.

Bryan Garris Photography

The New 76ers welcome the vibrancy of the Tallahassee music scene. The band has released recordings including two full-length albums.


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