From blues and bluegrass to Beethoven and rockabilly, music of every description can be found in Columbia. Located smack in the middle of South Carolina, equal distance from mountains and beaches, Columbia has served as a great musical melting pot, welcoming and nurturing folksingers, punk rockers, jazz boppers, classical composers, and almost any other type of musical performer you can imagine.
We’re home to Randy Lucas, a national champion banjo picker, and the South Carolina Philharmonic, which thrives under the direction of Morihiko Nakahara. The pop-rock band Hootie & The Blowfish might be our most famous export, but followers of punk celebrate the international success of the Columbia band Stretch Armstrong. The new “chill wave” movement of ambient electropop has deep roots in Columbia, thanks to acts such as Washed Out and Toro Y Moi.
There is a strong presence of contemporary classical music and avant-garde jazz in Columbia. Music editor Patrick Wall recently reported in Free Times that, “There’s never been a better time for new music in Columbia” with independent promoters “bringing into town a steady stream of hot young jazz players and avant-garde titans.”
These more progressive shows take place in clubs such as Conundrum and The White Mule, while more traditional jazz can be found weekly in places such as the Hunter-Gatherer Brewpub and Speakeasy’s in Five Points.