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Music to Our Ears: Inside Northern Kentucky’s Music Scene

The Northern Kentucky region has fantastic entertainment venues for music lovers.

By Kelly Rogers on April 3, 2023

Kip Moore plays at MegaCorp Pavilion in Newport, which is part of the Northern Kentucky region.
Twin Spire Photography

Experiencing live music is so much more than just listening — it’s the combination of sound and atmosphere, of audience and energy. And where live music is performed can be just as important as the quality of the music itself, not just for acoustics but for ambiance as well. In Northern Kentucky, music lovers are spoiled for choice when it comes to entertainment, with venues that showcase acts of all different sizes and genres

Casual Listening 

Rabbit Hash General Store, which sells groceries, antiques, sweets and collectibles, offers an amazing family-friendly atmosphere. It regularly hosts live music inside the store and outside on the lawn (with the Ohio River serving as a picturesque backdrop) and organizes an annual summer concert series. But perhaps most popular are the barn dances, which is exactly what it sounds like: live music, with dancing, in a barn — just like in the olden days. It’s an experience that evokes nostalgia and a sense of community, connecting visitors to the region’s deep-rooted music history. 

Just down the road, Jane’s Saddlebag also provides a welcoming atmosphere, with homestyle cooking to enhance the listening experience. In addition, Jane’s Saddlebag invites local musicians to play on the back patio each Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. This tourist hot spot is perfect for families, as it offers additional entertainment for kids with its playground and petting zoo. 

Transcendent Shows 

The Southgate House Revival is an intimate, otherworldly venue with acoustics that transcend. Originally a church built in the late 1800s, it has now been renovated and transformed into a concert venue and bar with three separate performance spaces. However, the building maintains its original charm, with large organ pipes, vaulted ceilings, and stained-glass windows throughout. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition to the huge variety of music acts that perform, including punk, rock, metal, indie, acoustic and folk. 

The Great Outdoors 

When the weather is good, there’s no better feeling than listening to live music outside with a nice breeze, cold drinks and friends all around. That’s exactly what PromoWest’s MegaCorp Pavilion at Ovation offers. An expansion of the indoor venue, which seats 2,700, this new outdoor amphitheater can hold up to 7,000 attendees with a mix of seating, standing and lawn options. Located on the Ohio River, MegaCorp Pavilion opened in 2021 and continues to book large, popular performers like Ke$ha and Bon Iver. 

For those who prefer a more classical music experience, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (KSO) is a great option that does not disappoint. During its summer series, KSO performs at the Devou Park Band Shell in Covington. Prepare to be dazzled by beautiful orchestral sounds in a secluded, natural setting. 

Want to learn more about living and working in the Northern Kentucky region? Check out the latest edition of Livability Northern Kentucky.

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