Music is a near-universal mode of human expression. Seeing music being performed live can be an immensely liberating and connecting experience. Over the years, people have tried to promote organically and some of the venues have become notorious for their atmosphere, program or associated social scene. Here are some of the most legendary music venues from around the world. All of these music venues are still open today.
Sydney Opera House
Think of Australia, and it is more than likely that a vision of the Sydney Opera House flashes before your eyes. A masterpiece of mid-century architectural design, the opera house – perched on a small strip of land in Sydney Harbor – is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Although mostly used for classical music and operatic performances, the building houses multiple venues that are also used for popular music and theatre.
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden – usually referred to by its initials MSG – is a New York City Institution. Although the current building only broke ground in the 1960s, there has been a venue in New York known as ‘The Garden’ since 1879. Getting online concert tickets well in advance for a show at Madison Square Garden is important: it is the second busiest music venue in terms of ticket sales in the world behind the O2 Arena in London. MSG isn’t just a music venue. It is home to the New York Knicks basketball team and is known as the ‘Mecca of boxing’ due to its long history of hosting prizefights. Muhammed Ali famously battled Joe Frazier in MSG during the ‘fight of the century’ in 1971.
Blue Note has been a destination for jazz aficionados in New York City since the early 1980s. Located in Greenwich Village on the Lower East Side, the Blue Note attracts some of the best performers in the world. It is not unusual to see famous regulars like Stevie Wonder get up on stage to join in with a performer.
The New Afrika Shrine
Every Afrobeat fan should take a pilgrimage to the New Afrika Shrine at least once in their life. Opened to replace the original Afrika Shrine that burned down in 1977, the New Afrika Shrine honors the legacy of Fela Kuti – the political activist and musician who brought Afrobeat to the world. Lagos, Nigeria, is home to this venue, which is managed by the children of the late Kuti. Every year, the annual Felabration event is held here to celebrate Fela’s artwork and contribution towards African music.
The 100 Club
The 100 Club was an important part of London’s punk scene in the 1970s and 80s. The tiny venue is well known for hosting bands like the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Buzzcocks. It has been a live music venue since 1942 when it opened as a swing bar. The 100 Club still has a busy schedule today, although punk bands are less of a feature of the programming. Many jazz acts have traditionally also called the 100 Club home.