Fort Worth, Texas is cursed with the misconception that it is just a small town feeding into Dallas when, in fact, it’s the sixteenth most populous city in the United States. Outsiders who travel to the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area, commonly visit Dallas for their musical cravings. While Dallas does possess the bigger venues and acts, Fort Worth has its own thriving music scene featuring both large and intimate venues, as well as music shops that all music lovers can appreciate.
The Live Oak, located in the trendy Magnolia district of Fort Worth, offers everything from great food to big name musicians. Comprised of a music hall, lounge, three full bars, and a busy rooftop patio, this venue ensures that everyone can enjoy their visit. The Live Oak not only showcases local artists, but has also hosted nationally known guests such as Chamillionaire, Deana Carter, and Emily Kinney (‘Beth’ of the Walking Dead). In addition to holding shows for booked acts, the venue also holds an open mic recording session every Monday for anyone that wants to perform live while also getting a high quality recording for their use.
Catered towards the younger, alternative crowd of the DFW area, 1919 Hemphill is an ideal spot to hear local punk, metal, rap, and rock artists. The longest running DIY venue in the DFW area has a famous saying, ‘No booze. No drugs. No jerks.’ There is a zero tolerance rule towards homophobic, racist, and sexist slurs or comments, making it a place for all people to enjoy without feeling any discomfort.
For a classier approach to music, Bass Hall offers a wide variety of performances, ranging from symphony orchestras to operas, ballet, and musicals. It is home to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, and the Fort Worth Opera. Bass Hall is one of Fort Worth’s most prized possessions, being a staple to the city’s downtown and cultural area.
Located in an alley with an entrance lit up by a classic neon sign, is Scat Jazz Lounge. This venue is, quite simply put, one of the coolest places in Fort Worth, Texas. The entrance captures everyone’s attention and upon entering, the elevator descends into a basement full of people, drinks, and great music. Scat hosts jazz performances seven nights a week, showcasing the best local and national jazz musicians. Held every Sunday, is the Black Dog Jazz Jam, which features Joey Carter, Paul Metzger, and a variety of special guests. Despite being, arguably, the most aesthetically pleasing venue in Fort Worth, it’s also one of the few spots in existence that solely showcases jazz music.
Founded in 2007, Lola’s Saloon is another favorite amongst DFW area concertgoers, local bands, and even some national bands. Lola’s is a venue that commonly brings touring bands, who would normally play in Dallas or Austin, to Fort Worth. This makes Lola’s one of the best spots to catch live music in the entire DFW area.
One of the most common bumper stickers seen in Fort Worth belongs to the beloved Doc’s Records. Every local with a love for music, and even some out of state visitors, get their fix at Doc’s. Some may walk in to look for a certain vinyl record, and end up walking out with cassettes, CD’s, a record player, or even vintage toys. Doc’s is also the go-to stop for record collectors to celebrate Record Store Day. Stocked full of the most sought after deals and special editions, Doc’s has a line forming at 7 AM or even earlier for some. Record Store Day at Doc’s also includes a free show with some of the best local rock, punk, and metal bands Fort Worth has to offer.
Located in the Fairmount Community Library, Dreamy Life Records has a diverse collection of vinyl records and cassettes to satisfy all music tastes. Additionally, they sell such things as guitar strings, cables, picks, and much more. Not only is Dreamy Life a small, cozy record shop, but it’s part of a bigger vision. Dreamy Life Records is also the name of a parent record company, holding Lo-Life Recordings and Dreamy Soundz under its wing.
The most popular festival in Fort Worth is, by far, the Main Street Music and Arts Festival. People from all around the area come to Fort Worth’s Downtown in mid-April for the festival. Main Street is an ideal place for art lovers, but it’s also equally exciting for music lovers. The festival hosts concerts at three different stages for jazz, indie, rock, and pop musicians. There are countless bands and solo acts playing over a span of four days, dusk till dawn, meaning there will always be something to watch. Combined with astonishingly good food, beautiful art, and unforgettable performances, Main Street Music and Arts Festival is the place to be. And it can all be experienced for free.