Some awesome music spots in Champaign-Urbana

What’s Champaign-Urbana’s music scene like?

Payton Jarzyna is a University of Illinois alumna, receiving a dual degree in creative writing and advertising in Spring 2024.

One of my favorite pastimes is discovering new music. I love scrolling through YouTube and watching concert performances from artists I haven’t heard of. One way I’ve started discovering new artists is through their performances in Champaign-Urbana. 

When I enrolled at the University of Illinois, I didn’t realize I’d have so many options for watching live music. Champaign-Urbana has everything from clubs to theaters to music halls. If you’re a fan of live music, you should check out some shows in the area! 

Students at the Canopy ClubCanopy Club

Being in The Canopy Club feels like being at a fun city spot. There’s lots of cool lights, and there’s plenty of room to dance or jump around. But, the best part about the Canopy Club is their theme nights. On theme nights, they play music from various genres—some particularly popular ones include disco nights, Latin nights, emo nights, Taylor Swift nights, and jazz nights. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet people with similar interests!

"I love the layout of the Canopy Club. It’s a great place to hangout with friends and listen to music," said Leyla Turkoglu, a student in intradisciplinary psychology. "It’s also non judgemental; I feel like no one would make fun of your dancing there."

The Canopy Club has had performances from popular artists like Matt Bennett (Robbie from Victorious) in the past, and Royal Otis will be playing there this September!


Krannert Center 

Krannert Center for the Performing ArtsThe Krannert Center for the Performing Arts has five indoor stages as well as an outdoor amphitheater. One of the stages–Foellinger Great Hall–has one of the world’s premier acoustic environments. The interior is beautiful with high ceilings and paneled walls and a wide theater for performances. There’s plenty of seating on the floor or elevated. Krannert is an amazing spot to see student performances, whether it’s orchestras or choirs. The sound is always amazing.

They’ve also hosted popular music groups like the Grammy winning Kronos Quartet and the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the national orchestra of Bulgaria. There’s also dance performances, and guest speaker events from best selling authors like Joanne Lee Molinaro or Joy Harjo. No matter your interest, there’s something for you at Krannert!

Virginia Theater

Virginia Theater in ChampaignThe Virginia Theater opened in Champaign over 100 years ago and at the time offered the city live performances and silent films. Now, the theater has dance shows, music performances, movies, comedy shows, and more! Walking into the Virginia Theater almost feels like being in a museum because the interior is so detailed and ornate. It has a completely different atmosphere than a typical modern theater because it’s so immersive and unique that you feel like you’re living in a completely different decade. 

Some performances at the Virginia Theater has held include rock bands like The Wallflowers and country stars like Zach Williams. They’ve even had Broadway artists like Renee Elise Golsberry. But, they don’t just host musicians. They’ve also shown popular comedians like Hasan Minhaj and Brad Williams. If you’re into live performances, movies, or history, you should stop by the Virginia Theater!

The live music scene in Champaign-Urbana is one of its major draws. I’ve made lots of memories listening to live music with my friends at Chambana spots. Whether you’re an emo music fan or a pop junkie, there’s a show you can go to at the University of Illinois!

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Payton Jarzyna