Live From Gwinnett
Where to catch music icons of today and tomorrow
Georgia is home to some of music’s biggest acts, from Gladys Knight to Luke Bryan. That legacy extends to Gwinnett County, which a variety of artists have called home, including singer Diana De Garmoand the rap super-group Migos. Every headliner has to start somewhere, and Gwinnett has a number of small venues—along with a state-of-the-art arena—where fans can catch the next big thing. Here are some of the county’s coolest places to hear live music.
Historic downtown Buford has no shortage of charm, and 37 Main is the extra spice in the sauce. This “rock cafe” features live music seven days a week so visitors can groove to the beat while they eat. Expect cover bands playing tributes to legends like Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, and Tom Petty. The menu features a mix of burgers, tacos, and fried apps, with names honoring famous musicians (try the Prince’s Pretzel or Cobain’s Chicken).
Everett's Music Barn
Established in 1971, this red barn in Suwanee has been a destination for folk and bluegrass artists for generations. Brothers Roger, Randall, and Leroy formed the Everett Family Band, aka the Everett Brothers, and performed for friends and neighbors in the barn. Today, their nephew Tommy continues his legacy by hosting live music every Saturday at 8 p.m. Addition to local talent, visitors might see renowned bluegrass musicians such as Russell Moore, Jeff Autry, Scott Vestal, Alan Bibey, and Wayne Benson, who have all played the venue.
The Bowl at Sugar Hill
This 1,600-seat amphitheater might be one of Gwinnett’s best-kept secrets. For fans of rock and country, this is the place to see a variety of acts, from Trace Adkins to Colbie Caillat. One of the venue’s-biggest-selling concerts was Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, which sold over 1,000 tickets in one day. This season patrons can expect a new concession stand and better handrails for accessibility, in addition to more great music. Be sure to bring supplies to follow the fan tradition of decorating tables according to the theme of the show.
Gas South Arena
There’s no need to drive to Atlanta to see some of the biggest names in music. Beyoncé, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, Carrie Underwood, and Justin Timberlake are among the world-renowned performers who have played at Gas South Arena. With a capacity of 13,000 and proximity to Duluth’s numerous hotels and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to see a weekend concert. The arena is also home to the Georgia Swarm lacrosse team and the Atlanta Gladiators hockey team.
Eddie Owen Presents: Red Clay Music Foundry
Downtown Duluth is home to quaint shops and restaurants and one live-music gem, Red Clay Music Foundry, founded by Eddie Owen in 2015. (He also founded the legendary Eddie’s Attic listening room in Decatur, Georgia.) The 260-seat space connects audiences with the songwriters who penned some of their favorite tunes—like Jason Isbell, Shawn Mullins, and the Indigo Girls—along with lesser-known acts. The venue also hosts open mic nights and houses a music school that offers classes in songwriting, recording, and playing piano.
This article, written Kelundra Smith, originally appeared in Volume V of Explore Gwinnett Magazine.