You can’t have a music scene without providing places to hear music. From pint-sized bars to massive entertainment venues, Columbia is awash in concert venues that attract a remarkable variety of musicians.
Just steps away from a variety of hotels as well as dozens of bars and restaurants, the 18,000 seat, state-of-the-art Colonial Life Arena is South Carolina’s largest concert arena. “Columbia has been blessed with great sports and entertainment venues for many years including The Township, Koger Center and the Carolina Coliseum,” says Wilson Howard, a concert promoter with Live Nation. “In November of 2002 the Colonial Life Arena opened and has continued and enhanced that tradition of presenting AAA events. Artists really enjoy performing there again and again. Columbia has great audiences to play for and the bands love them.”
Two Columbia venues are notable for their remarkable acoustics. Built in 1988, the 2,254-seat Koger Center for the Arts hosts performances by the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra as well as artists like James Taylor and the Vienna Boys Choir. Open since 2014, the W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall had its acoustics designed by JaffeHolden, whose resume includes Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.
Then there’s the Township Auditorium, which was built in 1930 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Fully renovated in 2010, it has hosted everyone from Tony Bennett to Widespread Panic on its historic stage.