Sounds of the South: Exploring the Evolving Music Scene of Atlanta, Georgia

When it comes to the USA’s music capitals, Atlanta might seem an unusual choice. Despite being embedded in the Deep South and sharing the same embryonic musical legacies of blues, gospel, hip-hop and country as neighbouring Tennessee, Atlanta is a city that has often been overshadowed by its more iconic cousins, Memphis and Nashville.

Yet for those in the know, the Georgia capital’s music scene has a quiet confidence, earned through its festivals, museums and record stores, much of it paying tribute to the city’s rich hip-hop tradition while continuing to attract a wide range of homegrown and outside talent across many genres. It also has some unique venues, including a converted Baptist church. Here are a few tasters.

Wednesday 08 November 2023 08:57 GMT
(Brand USA)

The Tabernacle

Opening in 1911, the Tabernacle started out as a house of worship before becoming a concert venue to entertain punters during the 1996 Olympic Games. Since then it has become one of the city’s most well-known venues, hosting Kendrick Lamar, Guns N’ Roses and Bob Dylan, to name just a few. Given that Atlanta is set to be a host for the 2025 FIFA World Cup, sports fans flocking in from out of town should look up the Tabernacle as a place to go for alternative entertainment.

(Alamy Stock Photo)

Trap Music Museum

This unique, interactive arts space pays tribute to pioneering and emerging trap artists through colourful, eye-catching displays and immersive experiences. A subgenre of hip-hop, ‘trap’ was pioneered in Atlanta in the early 2000s and this museum documents its journey from niche fringes to the mainstream. First opening its doors in 2018, The Trap Music Museum is an homage to homegrown talent such as Migos, Lil Baby and Jeezy, and has some intriguing items in its collection. Look out for the bright pink car used to promote 2 Chainz’s 2017 album ‘Pretty Girls Like Trap Music’, and don’t leave without trying the museum’s escape room: Escape The Trap.

The Fox Theatre

This ornate former cinema became a music venue in the 1930s after going bankrupt, and became an iconic part of the city’s entertainment landscape. The Fox has hosted some memorable incidents in 20th century musical history, including a sell-out run by Elvis Presley and a secret show by the Rolling Stones. It almost closed in the 1970s but was saved from demolition after a high-profile public campaign whose backers included members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Fox was declared to be a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and when you visit you’ll see why - its minarets, turrets and exquisite blue ceiling make it a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.

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Eddie’s Attic

For those whose musical tastes are more guitar-based, Eddie’s Attic is both an event space and a ‘listening room’ where punters are subject to a strict no-phones policy. The sparse arrangement of tables, chairs and stools means the emphasis is on intimacy and appreciation, and attendees over the years have soaked up the vibes of an eclectic range of artists, from Sheryl Crow to Justin Bieber.

Fantasyland Records

One of the city’s oldest second-hand record stores is still going strong thanks to the recent vinyl revival. Although it sells a range of music memorabilia, from CDs and DVDs to posters and stickers, the majority of Fantasyland’s business comes from record sales. The odd celebrity client has also been spotted, from Eric Clapton to Elvis Costello.

The Eastern

Opening in 2021, the Eastern is one of Atlanta’s youngest music venues. Designed to regenerate the Atlanta Dairies, a former industrial plant in long decline, it sits in the city’s historic eastern area and has been hailed as a state-of-the-art event space with a huge indoor capacity and great views from its rooftop bar. It’s set to host artists such as Keane, the Charlatans and Two Door Cinema Club in the coming year.

For more information and to start planning your next trip to the United States, visit

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