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A music venue is any setting used for a musical or concert performance. Music venues vary in size and location, from an outdoor bandstand or a concert hall to an indoor sports stadium. Generally, varied forms of venues host varied genres of music. Opera houses, concert halls and bandshells host classical music concerts, whereas public houses, discothèques and nightclubs proffer music in modern genres, for example, rock, country, dance, and pop.

Music venues may be either publicly or privately funded, and may charge an upfront fee for admission. For instance, a park bandstand is a form of a public funded music venue; such outdoor music venues do not charge for admission. A nightclub is a privately funded venue; venues like these often charge an entry fee to make a profit. Music venues do not essentially host live acts; disc jockeys at a nightclub or discothèque play recorded music via a PA system.

Depending on the form of venue, the location, opening hours, and length of the concert may vary, as well as the technology used to produce the music in the venue. Other appeals, for instance social activities or performance art, may also be present, either while music is playing or at other moments. For example, at pub or pub, the house band may be performing live songs while drinks are being served, and between songs, recorded music may be played. In fact, some types of venues may play live music in the background, like a performance on a grand piano in a restaurant.


Music venues can be classified in a number of ways. Generally, the genre of music played at the venue, whether it is temporary and who owns the venue determine many of the other features.

Permanent or temporary venues

Venues can either be permanent or temporary. Most of music venues are permanent; however, temporary music venues do exist. An example of a temporary venue would be one constructed for a music festival.

An example of a temporary venue is the annual Dance Valley dance music festival in the Netherlands. Such music festivals generally include a broad temporary stage, are arranged/organized outdoors, and include other allures such as performance art, food, and other social activities.


Music venues may be owned by private or public enterprises.


Some venues only encourage acts of one specific genre. Music venues, for example, opera houses promote actions of one specific genre.

Size and capacity

Music venues can be classified by size and capacity; a small nightclub will frequently hold a much smaller volume than that of a stadium.

Indoor or outdoor

For instance, a bandstand is an example of a lesser outdoor venue. Bandstands are generally spherical or semicircular structures that hold musical bands playing in outdoor concerts, providing housing from the weather for the musicians.

Music venues are either indoor or outdoor. Examples of outdoor venues include bandshells and bandstands; such outdoor venues provide for minimal ho using/shelter for performing musicians and are typically situated in parks. A temporary music festival is generally an outdoor venue. Examples of indoor venues include nightclubs, coffee bars, stadia and public houses.

Live or recorded music

Venues can play a recorded music, live music or a collaboration of the two, depending on the occurrence or time of day. A feature of almost all live music venue is that one or more stages do exist.

Centrality of performance

The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens. Greek tragedies frequently characterized choral music concert performed on-stage.


Although music as an art type has subsisted since prehistoric times, permanent music venues commenced with the theatre of ancient Greece


  • Opera houses

The world renowned La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy.

An opera house is a theatre created essentially for opera. The first opera house was the Teatro San Cassiano in Venice, Italy, which emerged in 1637. An opera house usually has an expansive orchestra pit, where a vast number of orchestra players may be seated at a level below the audience.

  • Bandshell and bandstands

A bandshell is a wide, outdoor performing venue generally used by orchestras and concert bands. The roof and the back half of the shell shelter the musicians from the elements and reflect sound via the open side and out towards the viewers.

  • Jazz club

Jazz clubs are an example of a venue that is devoted to a particular genre of music.

  • Live house

In Japan, small live music clubs are known as live houses, particularly featuring jazz, rock, folk music and blues, and have subsisted since the 1970s, now being found throughout the country.


  • Public houses and nightclubs

The Royal Albert Hall, pictured during The Proms, is a concert hall.

  • Concert hall

A concert hall is a pplaying venue created essentially for instrumental classical music. A concert hall may be present as part of a larger performing arts center.


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