The City Magazine Since 1975

Sounds Of Summer - The Classics

These venues stand out as rooms that have built bands and cultivated a loyal local audience for decades. Although they now compete with upstarts for bookings, the attitude among most owners and managers is that a rising tide floats all boats. “There’s more competition than ever, but there are also more bands coming to the Lowcountry,” says Alan Coker, marketing director at the North Charleston Coliseum and PAC. “We get a lot more than our fair share of concerts for a market our size.”

(Left to right) Poster for Punk Night at the Farm; G. Love and Donavon Frankenreiter with Chuck Treece and Matt Grundy at the Music Farm.

Charleston Music Hall & The Music Farm

General manager Charles Carmody has led the transformation of these iconic downtown venues, and the partnership between them allows him to build bands from one room to another. At the Farm—refurbished in 2022 with a new HVAC, sound system, and upgraded patron amenities—he’s leaning into the “something-for-everyone” approach to booking upon which the room built its reputation. “The Farm’s summer lineup is crazy diverse, from big pop rock to Irish music to hip-hop to metalcore to indie,” says Carmody. And in July, he points out that it may be 110 degrees outside, “but it’ll be 71 in the Farm.”

Around the corner at the Music Hall, the ability to remove seats in the pit upped capacity for general admission shows to 1,200 patrons. The venue also installed a new PA in 2022, taking an already best-in-town audio quality to a new level.

Charleston Music Hall
Capacity: 1,200
Key Shows:
Boz Scaggs, June 7
Ziggy Marley, June 21
Milky Chance, July 19
Mary Chapin Carpenter, August 9
37 John St.,

Music Farm
Capacity: 960
Key Shows:
Summer Salt, June 3
Native Sons, July 1
Five for Fighting, July 2
32 Ann St.,

In its three decades, the North Charleston Coliseum has hosted the likes of (clockwise from bottom left) Jimmy Buffett, Taylor Swift, Prince, and Bruce Springsteen.

North Charleston Coliseum & the Performing Arts Center

“It never rains in the Coliseum,” laughs Alan Coker, marketing director for this familiar pair of venues that has hosted everyone from Prince to Hall & Oates. As outdoor options like Firefly and Credit One draw bands elsewhere, the PAC continues to diversify, scheduling Broadway musicals like The Book of Mormon, while the Coliseum hosts the South Carolina Stingrays, rodeos, and monster truck rallies. In February, the Coliseum brought Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle, arguably the largest comedy performance in Charleston’s history. “I’d put that on the Mount Rushmore of our shows,” says Coker.

In 2022, rock/reggae band Slightly Stoopid had to shift a performance from Woodlands Nature Reserve to the Coliseum. This year, they opted to return for one of a handful of marquee shows this summer.

Capacity: 13,000
Key Shows:
Zach Bryan, May 24
The Smile, July 2
Slightly Stoopid, August 3
5001 Coliseum Dr., North Charleston;

The Windjammer

Since 1972, the Windjammer has offered a unique beachside experience: eat dinner, have a drink, and see a band with a view of the ocean. Its outdoor stage allows them to book bigger bands and lets patrons dig their toes in the sand while they groove. In addition to doubling down on booking emerging big-name acts such as Morgan Wade and Wilderado, the Jammer emphasizes fast service. “Our whole team is firing on all cylinders,” says Scottie Frier, the venue’s talent buyer. “There’s nothing I hate more than going to a show and missing three songs while trying to get a drink. That doesn’t happen with us.” 

Capacity: 1,100 (outdoors), 450 (indoors)
Key Shows:
Robert Randolph, June 4
The Disco Biscuits, June 7
Andy Frasco & the UN, June 22
The 502s, July 7
Charles Esten, August 12
1008 Ocean Blvd., Isle of Palms;

Charleston Pour House

Alex and Vanessa Harris founded the Pour House in a West Ashley strip mall before moving to James Island to build what most local musicians consider home base for Charleston’s live music culture. “People come out to the deck without even knowing who’s playing,” says Vanessa. “It’s our regular patrons who help us really stand out among venues.” 

The deck shows recently got an upgrade with new speakers. After dark, the evening outdoor shows segue to headliners on the indoor stage (now visible from outside after a renovation, allowing extra breathing room for the audience). The Pour House is also home to two popular local restaurants, Kwei Fei (Sichuan) and Malika Canteen, which serves Pakistani street food on the deck.

Capacity: 450
Key Shows:
Souls of Mischief, June 25
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, July 1 and 2
Son Volt, July 13
1977 Maybank Hwy., James Island;