Top 15 Live Music Venues in Jackson

By: Rebecca Calkins | Communications Director | Originally appeared in the Online Exclusive for the February Jackson Magazine. 

Why enjoy live music anymore? Everything is available for free on the internet, people often say. When I’m sitting in the Weatherwax Hall at the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, watching and listening to the latest Affinity Series Concert, I feel powerful emotions that I do not feel alone in my car or in my living room. Here are my reasons to go see live music in Jackson:

Dedication and Passion
First of all, it’s about seeing the passion and dedication in the face of the musician on stage. These are artists that are banging it out trying to make a living at this or just really enjoying their favorite hobby. Seeing the joy of the musician being able to play live brings joy not only to the player but to the listener as well.

Shared Experience
Whether you bring a spouse, a group of girlfriends, or even if you arrive at the venue alone, you are surrounded by a group of people that are experiencing the same thing as you. This experience creates memories that last a lifetime. It builds a bond with the friends and family you arrived with, or perhaps the stranger sitting next to you.

Inspiration to Learn
I have a connection, although quite limited, with creating music as well. Although my connection to high school choir or second grade piano lessons may be far behind me, I still feel occasionally inspired to hit the karaoke bar or pick up a guitar. Seeing that passionate and talented musician in front of you can inspire you to create your own music, maybe finding a new creative outlet you never knew you had.

Show Your Support: Shop Local
You may have heard Shop Local over this past holiday season to encourage you to support your favorite Mom and Pop retail and restaurant locations, but what about supporting your local musicians too? As a representative of Experience Jackson, I am often met with the tired old phrase, “There’s nothing to do in this town.” If you do not support what is here, how can you expect to get better things to come? If we are known as a town that doesn’t support theater, dance or live music, how can we expect those types of entertainment to come to town? Supporting the local smaller acts that are already here will only encourage the bigger acts to want to stop for a show.

Cabin Fever
Finally, if nothing else, fight that mad case of cabin fever you’re getting this time of year and get out of the house! What better excuse to venture out then a music hall concert, coffeehouse acoustic night or brewpub jam session?

Here are my picks for the best music venues in Jackson:

1. Jackson Symphony Orchestra – Weatherwax Hall aka “The Wax”
215 W. Michigan Ave.
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 782-3221
Affinity Series Concerts monthly, as well as a fall and winter concert series at the Potter Center, a summer pops concert, upclose ensemble performances and holiday concerts.

2. Michigan Theatre of Jackson
124 N. Mechanic St.
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 783-0962
Both local and touring musicians like Echoes of Pink Floyd as well as kid’s movies, classic films, and live theater.

3. Sandhill Crane Vineyards
4724 Walz Rd.
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 764-0679
The café is open late on Thursday nights for “Thirsty Thursdays” from 6 to 9 p.m. with live music and an extended menu as well as Second Sunday Jazz Brunch and
special events like Wine & Wool Festival, artist receptions and wine release parties.

4. Bifferhaus Brewing Company
900 Lansing Ave.
Jackson, MI 49202
(269) 832-8940
Facebook: Bifferhaus Brewing Company
Fridays and Saturdays feature live music or comedy nights.

5. 127 Brewing Company
3090 Shirley Drive
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 258-1346
Facebook: 127 Brewing Company
Fridays and Saturdays feature live music or comedy nights.

6. Cherry Creek Winery
11000 Silver Lake Hwy
Brooklyn, MI 49230
(517) 592-4663
Fridays and Saturdays feature live, often acoustic, music.

7. Shady’s Tap Room
110 N. Main St.
Brooklyn, MI 49230
(517) 938-8733
Saturday Music Night

8. The Pointe Bar & Grill
1200 Eagle Point Drive
Clarklake, MI 49234
(517) 529-7116
Live music on Fridays and Saturdays

9. Jackson Coffee Company
201 S. Mechanic St.
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 990-6770
Live music every Friday night

10. Biggby East Michigan
3039 E. Michigan Ave
Jackson, MI 49202
(517) 990-0800
Facebook: Biggby Coffee -
Jackson, East Side
Live music on Friday night

11. Hard Knock Grill
3705 Ann Arbor Rd.
Jackson, MI 49202
(517) 962-5415
Facebook: Hard Knock Grill
Live music on Fridays and Saturdays

12. Roadhouse Grill & Bar
4112 Lansing Ave.
Jackson, MI 49202
(517) 782-7711
Live bands every Friday and Saturday

13. Bella Notte Ristorante
137 W. Michigan Ave.
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 782-5727
Live bands every Friday and Saturday

14. The Fourth Wall
809 Greenwood Ave.
Jackson, MI 49201
(517) 292-4365
Thursday Acoustic Jam Sessions

15. Hanover Horton Heritage Park
Conklin Reed Organ Museum
101 Fairview St.
Hanover, MI 49241
(517) 563-8927
Monthly Bluegrass Bonanza

Click here for a full list of Live Music Venues in Jackson.

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