The rich colonial and maritime history of Annapolis is world-renowned. But did you know that the state capital also possesses an inspiring popular music history? It’s true.

Decades ago, music powerhouses including soul legends Ray Charles and James Brown performed in Annapolis while en route to shows in larger metropolitan areas, stirring local music passion. Later, in the eighties, area music venue Charlie’s Westside became the spot for nurturing local musicians. These and other early influences laid the groundwork for today’s thriving music scene, which can be experienced in downtown Annapolis just about every night of the week. Here are some of the ways that continue to make Annapolis a special place to enjoy music:

Lively, supportive “homegrown” music scene 

An organic, grassroots music scene thrives in Annapolis. In an atmosphere of mutual respect, local musicians often play repeat performances in Annapolis venues, while the allegiance of their adoring fans grows over time. 

It’s not uncommon for a dozen or more local bands to come together and perform a single show for fans. Typically, members of the audience are equally familiar with many if not all the bands—and vice versa. It’s a tight-knit scene that’s open to outsiders looking to expand their repertoire of “favorite” bands. 

Plenty of pubs that host live music

Walk through historic Annapolis on any given night, and you’re likely to hear the sounds of live music wafting out of open windows or doors of local pubs and restaurants. The question isn’t whether you’ll find a live acoustic act or up-and-coming local musician—it’s where. You could find your next favorite Annapolis band in the corner of a cozy bar, or on a restaurant patio in the summer.  

Rams Head on Stage 

Rams Head on Stage (33 West Street Annapolis)—Annapolis’s most well-known music venue—leads the way in drawing a range of phenomenal live music acts from around the region, and even the nation. Genres range from soul, rock, and blues, to jazz, country, reggae, psychedelic funk, and everything in between. Rams Head has received accolades for its unique, intimate setting and its reputation for bringing exciting musicians to town year after year. 

Summer concert series 

Warm weather and a beautiful backdrop create the perfect setting for outdoor music concerts. And in the summertime, you’ll find several outdoor concert series all around Annapolis. A Tuesday night concert series in July at Historic Annapolis’ City Dock brings the Naval Academy Band and its big band sounds to the community at large. The Annapolis Maritime Museum brings music to the public on the shores of Back Creek with its Tides ‘n Tunes series, Thursday evenings. Friday nights in the summer, the Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole hosts local talent. Whole families bring lawn chairs and blankets for this local event. Rounding out the week, Annapolis’ picturesque Quiet Waters Park holds outdoor concerts in July and August on Saturday evenings.