Cowtown (one of our more popular nicknames) offers dozens of amazing music venues without the Mad Max-levels of traffic and parking shortages that plague other large cities. Fort Worth is also home to one of the region’s largest music festivals — Fortress Festival. This year’s headliner is R&B sensation Leon Bridges. The two-day fest (April 27 and 28) also features Scottish synth-pop group CHVRCHES, Dallas-based rapper Bobby Sessions, Fort Worth’s favorite post-punk rock outfit War Party and many others.
Fort Worth’s growing notoriety as a live music destination wouldn’t be possible without our noteworthy music halls and venues.
MASS cohabits a growing area within the Near South Side called South Main Village. The venue was built with a singular focus: presenting live bands. Beyond easy parking and accessibility, I love how this space hosts fun events throughout the week like pop-up art shows, stand-up comedy acts and other quirky shows that locals think up.
Shipping and Receiving is a medium-sized outdoor music space that sports an amazing indoor bar. Most weekday evenings, it’s a sleepy watering hole nestled one block from South Main Street. S&R periodically blossoms into a fun, if somewhat raucous, event space when big acts and art shows squeeze several hundred bodies within its confines. If you want to get a flavor for hyperlocal nightlife, this is the spot.
A gilded $65 million performance hall may stick out among these more pedestrian picks, but Bass Performance Hall is a must-see for visitors and tourists. The pristine concert hall hosts traveling acts, musicals, high opera and everything in between. Our Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is saying goodbye to its 20-year music director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, this season.
This one’s a twofer. Lola’s Saloon has cornered the Fort Worth Weekly’s voters’ choice for best music venue since forever. The cozy music venue recently added Lola’s Trailer Park, an outdoor venue with its own full-service bar. This Fort Worth favorite has a history of supporting new, local talent. Leon Bridges’ earliest performances were at Lola’s Saloon, long before he was a twinkle in Columbia Records’ eye.
Magnolia Motor Lounge has weathered years of nearby business turnover by sticking to what it does best, serving delectable noshes and booking quality music. The strains of country and rock often fill this space, which offers plenty of seating options and an outside patio. My fourth favorite local band, Vodeo, performs there often enough, and I enjoy the walkability to nearby restaurants and bars in the West 7th corridor. Parking can be a bit tricky here. My advice is to Uber or to be prepared to walk a few blocks.