Are you a big fan of indie bands? If so, there’s a good chance you probably prefer to stray off the beaten path. The next time you gas up the van for a scene-seeking road trip, consider paying a visit to one of these lesser-known hamlets.
Anchored by the University of North Texas—which is considered to be one of the best music schools in the country—this hotspot boasts no fewer than 100 active bands and many live-music venues within walking distance of downtown. The city is located about an hour’s drive north of Dallas, so residents of that metropolis won’t have to go far to get their indie fix. Economic Development Partnership of Denton, Texas explains that while the town has lost a number of venues in recent years, the local bands are game for setting up just about anywhere—even fast-food joints.
The Hoosier State is the birthplace of a number of well-known musicians, from Michael Jackson to John Hiatt to Axl Rose. Still, the sleepy city of Valparaiso (known to locals as Valpo) tends to fly below the radar—unless you’re an indie music lover, in which case it may have already earned a spot on your bucket list. Grieger Motors talks about how Valpo is home to some of the nation’s most intriguing underground music venues. Be sure to drop in at Fluid Coffeebar (perhaps more than once) to see if a spontaneous session has broken out.
Anyone who’s driven through Utah knows that there’s not a great deal to see (apart from Salt Lake City), but Provo is aiming to change all that with a burgeoning rock scene, bolstered by the emergence of home-grown bands Neon Tree and Imagine Dragons. Downtown, you’ll find over a dozen venues, many of which serve up great food to go along with the tunes. Try to time your visit around the annual Provo Rooftop Concert Series, with local bands blasting tunes from the roofs of buildings all through the town.
Athens may be the best-known spot on this list, thanks to its claim to fame as the place where R.E.M. and the B-52s got their respective starts. The underground scene, though, is still alive and kicking. Red and Black discusses how The Foundry, formerly known as the Melting Pot, hosts a number of assorted acts, appealing to the full array of musical taste buds.
No matter which corner of the country you decide to explore, it’s easier than ever to find a town that’s kicking with the indie music vibe.
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