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Columbia Sounds and Scenes

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In years not too long past, Columbia’s music scene was nearly non-existent, save for a big name show or two, once or twice a year. Fortunately, Columbia’s music scene has grown and evolved into one that would make even a big city proud for the diverse and abundant offerings. And it  is in full swing for the summer.

Columbia teems with widely varied venues. Many are small and too easy to overlook. Yet some of the most unassuming venues boast some of the most vibrant performers and eclectic musical events, too.    Bill’s Pickin’ Parlor   on Meeting Street in Cayce is one such jewel. Beyond booking  amazing talent, Bill’s consistently offers music for  the whole  family to experience together, in a smoke-free, alcohol -free environment. Friday evenings are about the  Open Stage and Bluegrass Jam Session. Open Stage from 7:30 to 9:00 is followed by the Jam Session that lasts through midnight.  And with a mere 5.00 donation opening the door, (with kids 8 and under admitted free), Bill’s delivers a lot of music for a little price. Don’t forget to check their monthly calendar for the host of other shows and performances to watch in the 300-seat concert hall.

Columbia’s larger venues, like The Koger Center, offer plenty of  musical variety, and occasionally some real surprises, such as the classic metal of Alice Cooper, performing June 13.  Both The New Brooklyn Tavern and  Hunter- Gatherer are reliable places in Columbia to find new music and plenty of live performances.

Columbia’s own Music Farm is a little bigger than what’s found elsewhere in the Columbia area.  They have the Freeway Music Festival on May 20.The all-ages, budget- friendly show starts up at noon. Tickets are only 12.00 in advance, and 15.00 day of show. Local legend, Danielle Howle will be there, along with many other local favorites  such  High Divers, The Mobros, FatRat Da Czar , The Restoration, and the list go on and on. It will be hard to find another local show with this many genres coming together in one evening.   Kudos to the Music Farm, for bringing such quality and variety to an affordable  all-ages show. The shows keep flowing all season long at the Farm. July 9 is definitely noteworthy, as Country/Western/Outlaw star Cody Jinks plays Columbia’s Music Farm. Show starts at 7:30, and doors open at 6:30. Advance tickets are 25.00, but it’s 30.00  day of show.

Not too far away, and well worth the ride is The Discovery Festival/ Blues Cruise in  Greenwood, SC. Anticipate an exciting extended weekend July 6-9. The Blues Cruise will present more than a dozen blues bands, and that’s just on the Main Stage. Other nearby  restaurants, pubs and other venues will have many, many more.  For those craving something different, don’t miss the unique style of The Sauce Boss, who brilliantly combines guitar sounds and food, yes, food!  Others may prefer the more tried and true, such as Shrimp City Slim or the legendary  National Folk Heritage Award winning John D. Holman. Don’t miss out on this one!

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