The Best Live Music Venues in Salzburg

Salzburg has a well-documented musical history
Salzburg has a well-documented musical history | © bluejayphoto / Getty Images
Photo of Mike Evans
Freelance Writer19 December 2019

There’s a fascinating dichotomy in Salzburg between the city’s popular classical music events and the ever-flourishing (but consistently struggling) contemporary music scene. The city has a well-documented history within the classical space, but whilst droves of classical music enthusiasts flood the city each year in honour of the Salzburg Festival, beneath the surface, there’s more to Salzburg’s live music scene than Jedermann and Mozart.

Szene

Music Venue
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Szene
Multidisciplinary event space Szene has worked with many of Salzburg's cultural behemoths | © Courtesy of Szene

Housed in what was formerly known as Republic, Szene puts on more than 120 events per year and welcomes over 120,000 visitors. The multidisciplinary event space runs a suitably diverse programme consisting of dance, theatre, lectures, concerts, cabaret and more. Cooperating with many of the city’s cultural behemoths (including the Salzburg Festival, Jazz & The City and the Mozarteum Foundation), it’s a good bet that if you enjoy live performance you will pass through the venue’s doors at some point. Expect high quality programming across a multitude of genres including afrobeat, jazz, latin and dub.

MARK

Music Venue
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Mark
MARK facilitates participation in the arts for all | © Courtesy of MARK, Salzburg

MARK is an independent events centre for contemporary art and cultural mediation. It aims to be a space facilitating participation in the arts, for those of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and supports artistic development. Consequently, MARK is a great place in Salzburg to bear witness to a diverse array of musical spectacles, from metal shows to psychedelic trance nights to avant-garde performances. The venue lies in the north of the city close to Salzburg Sam and, despite its distance from the centre, is well worth the trip for its alternative offerings and reasonable prices.

Jazzit:Musik:Club Salzburg

Music Venue
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Over the years Jazzit:Musik:Club has acquired a dedicated community following, and is the preferred venue for a handful of Salzburg’s most interesting promoters. Established greats such as Pat Metheny, Charles Lloyd and John Scofiled – as well as more fresh-faced jazz cats including Nubya Garcia – have all graced the venue’s main room. While this is where the club’s roots lie, it’s their willingness to host younger, more experimental collectives such as Trips (whose club nights focus on creating immersive experiences for the city’s emerging electronic scene) that has kept the club relevant.

Minerva Records

Store, Music Venue
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Interior of the store
Interior of the store | © Minerva Records

Whilst not a music venue per se, Minerva Records has become something of a hub over the past years, weaving together the disparate threads of Salzburg’s music scene. Focussing mainly on techno, house, hip-hop and dub, their weekly in-store DJ sessions showcase the city’s best selectors. On several occasions they have also hosted live performances in their stylish store, and at any given time the staff here can point you in the direction of something sonically interesting. Open Wednesday to Saturday, visitors to the city should stop by to browse their excellent vinyl collection and find out what the store has coming up.

ARGEKultur

Music Venue
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Argekultur
Each year ARGEKultur hosts around 40,000 visitors | © Courtesy of Argekultur

ARGEKultur is the largest independent cultural centre in Salzburg. The venue was set up to facilitate and push contemporary, innovative and socially critical culture. Visitors will experience a modern but sparse industrial setting, that can be perfect for the right performance. Each year ARGEKultur hosts around 40,000 visitors for a variety of workshops, performances, seminars and rehearsals across multiple genres and disciplines. While recent programming has been seemingly less progressive than its original output, you can occasionally still find something really special here.

Rockhouse

Music Venue
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Rockhause
Rockhouse supports the local music scene | © Courtesy of Rockhause

This 19th-century building was formerly a wine shop before being refurbished and made into a live music venue in the 1980s to try to address a cultural deficit within Salzburg. Located on Schallmooser Hauptstraße, just a short walk from the old town, the venue boasts vaulted ceilings and both a bar and a live room, the latter of which is used for bigger performances. It can be difficult to attract international touring artists to Salzburg, who are often more likely to stop in Vienna or Graz, but despite this, the Rockhouse continues to support the local music scene while bringing in the occasional bigger international act.

StageBar

Music Venue
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Stagebar
StageBar puts on live music in Salzburg throughout the week | © Courtesy of Stagebar

More than a handful of pubs around Salzburg boast live music events. And for those with a soft spot for acoustic renditions of pop-rock hits, you won’t struggle to find a cosy bar with a musical offering that fits the bill. StageBar, as can be assumed from the name, goes a little further and makes live music an inherent part of their vibe. Ensuring a heterogeneous line up of jazz, latin, blues and folk as well many winding detours in between, music fans searching for live music in Salzburg throughout the week would be wise to start here.

Schnaitl Music Pub

Music Venue
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For those looking to escape the tourist crowds, this local dive bar is not a bad venue to head towards. Attracting a slightly grungier crowd than some of the other venues on this list, Schnaitl Music Pub serves beer from the Schnaitl family brewery, which has existed since 1842. Frequent visitors enjoy the relaxed vibe and pool tables, and it’s a pleasant place to listen to some great music and stop for a beer. Despite its name, the bar doesn’t have a regular live-music schedule, but does still continue to host live music events on occasion. It’s conveniently located right in the heart of the old town.

Performing Sound

Music Venue
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Not strictly a music venue but a promoter, Performing Sound hosts many of its nights at the outstanding 5020 Gallery as well as ARGEKultur. The promoter is arguably the city’s unsung hero when it comes to putting on live events. The nights they organise usually sit on the far left of the scale, promoting avant-garde artists from around the world. It’s certainly not for the faint hearted, but those looking for evidence that the city has more on the menu than the Sound of Music tour should stop by. A group on Facebook highlights its upcoming activities.

These recommendations were updated on December 19, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.