Philly Named No. 1 Music City in North America

Philly beats out musical hubs like Nashville, Atlanta and New York to claim the No. 1 spot on this top 20 list.

DJ Armin van Buuren at Festival Pier | Photo by Steve Garfinkel

DJ Armin van Buuren at Festival Pier | Photo by Steve Garfinkel

Vivid Seats, a website for buying and selling music, sports and theater tickets, recently compiled a list of the 20 best North American cities for live music. It should come as no big surprise that Philly was at the top of that list. They analyzed factors like number of concerts and average ticket price for upcoming shows to rank the cities, all of them being from the U.S. except for Toronto. They noted that Philly was particularly great for genres like alternative, blues, jazz, country and folk.

Kurt Vile at Union Transfer | Photo by Tom Beck

Kurt Vile at Union Transfer | Photo by Tom Beck

We know in the City of Brotherly Love that musicians and music lovers of all kinds will always have a home. While we have seen the closures of the North Star Bar and the Legendary Dobbs (which, in its heyday, hosted groups like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Green Day), other venues have stepped up to carry the torch. Take for instance, the brand new Fillmore Philadelphia, which has already held amazing concerts like Hall and Oates, Frank Turner and Gary Clark Jr. And of course, Philly has fostered some homegrown greats, like indie heroes Kurt Vile and the The War on Drugs, and hip-hop mainstays like The Roots, who perform in living rooms across the country every night as the house band on The Tonight Show.

The music world is taking notice. As Ticket music writer Tom Beck wrote earlier, “in April, Noisey wrote that ‘It feels like all the bands are from Philly at the moment.’ And then, when Rolling Stone named Philly band Hop Along’s latest album one of their 45 Best Albums of the Year So Far, it wasn’t without a ‘What’s up with Philly lately?’ shoutout to the City of Brotherly Love.”

For East Coasters, Philly shows can be a much more intimate experience than anywhere else. As a native New Yorker who relocated to Philadelphia for school, I felt much more up-close-and-personal here with both my favorite bands and their dedicated fans. This was especially important with bigger acts like Arctic Monkeys and Muse, who have played at the Mann Center and Wells Fargo, respectively. Madison Square Garden in New York, on the other hand, is often just too packed for you to feel like a part of a show.

With its niche and eclectic spaces — from West Philly’s energetic underground punk/indie scene to the reopened Boot & Saddle on South Broad Street — Philly’s music culture is still thriving. Nashville, eat your heart out.

Check out Vivid Seats’ infographic below to see how we stack up to other city’s including Boston, who is No. 2, and New York at No. 10.



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  • Brotha J

    Washington DC loves live music so much we created our own genre. Twenty or 30 go-go bands play here every weekend and have done so since about 1980. That’s live music played by local musicians for people born and raised here, every weekend for over 35 years. Chuck Brown started it in the 70’s and like the name implies, it’s still going. When you add all of the legendary venues we have and all of the national acts who record their live albums here (because of the energy they get from a DC show) no one tops DC for live music.

    • Greg

      Wrong. Philadelphia does.

  • Pete

    Kinda hilarious that the top genres per city are alphabetized instead of ranked. Adult Contemporary and Alternative are making a huge comeback across the nation!

    • Geoffrey Buford Rushman

      Adult Contemporary is huge, think about how many old people there are with money to burn. Alternative is huge, too, think of all the people who love crappy 90s rock.

      • laurenalice

        What current performers are doing Adult Contemporary? Serious question; I only checked the first page of google yet. Like, Celine Dion?

        Separately, I loved parts of this article and agree with how many great bands I saw in small and large venues.

  • Geoffrey Buford Rushman

    Every single genre they mention is terrible, and good shows are between $15 and $30. While the list is accurate, it only accounts for the worst music around. The only redeeming quality of this article is that it mentions Kurt Vile and the War on Drugs. No need to pay over $100 for a concert!! That is ridiculous, who is this article for?? Someone’s parents? Come on

    • DaBag

      The article is for anyone who wants to read it. What genres do you like then?

  • Rick Reinhart

    Well if Philly is number 1, check out some of Philly’s best. This is a label livicated to bringing the best music Philly has to offer. Thanks.

  • Peter Stone Brown

    Country? Give me a break. Philly’s never been a good town for country music, either hosting shows or for local musicians who play it.

  • tightlines

    Lol, can you people take pride in anything?

  • jordi vaquero

    I am sorry but, Minneapolis is there, and not New Orleans?, or Austin?,
    Come on…..