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SLO County’s best concert venues

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Fremont Theatre. Photo by Lauren Grasmick

New music venue additions in San Luis Obispo county are on the rise.

Nearly every night of the week, there is somewhere to go to enjoy live music. The top favorites range from Avila Beach up to Paso Robles, with each venue providing something different for the music loving individual. 

The question is, which venue is the best?

Factors such as ticket cost, location, and size all make a difference for residents looking to attend a show. Another component is the venue’s notability of music genre. 

A consistency of a music theme leaves concert-goers with a sense of comfort in terms of what to expect and their money’s worth. On the other hand, a venue that provides an eclectic mix of music genres allows the public to have new experiences.

Restaurants-turned-venues are becoming largely popular within the community. SLO Brew Rock has expanded from a brewery-fun atmosphere to including free daytime acoustic sets, accompanied with their evening event center open for concerts. 

The cost of event center tickets range from $16 – $50 depending on the artist’s  popularity and the date of the concert. The genres typically seen at SLO Brew Rock are reggae, pop, R&B and rap. 

“I like to go for the live music on the weekends,” said Gabby Lazo, a business student at Cuesta College. “SLO Brew Rock has all the cool stuff of the best games, great beer and food. I’ve always been a fan of the music SLO Brew puts on and I look forward to their concert announcements.”   

Further north is the Vina Robles Amphitheatre. This location hosts some of the top names in entertainment, from Grammy award winner Kacey Musgraves, to 1970s soul band Earth, Wind & Fire, and several notable comedians such as Nick Offerman and Steve Martin. 

With these top performers comes a price. The cost of a typical show at Vina Robles Amphitheatre varies around $100. This doesn’t include the cost of food, beverages, and gas to get to and from Paso Robles. This venue has levels of seating, from general standing rising up to the top lawn. 

Following close behind for concert venues with high ticket prices is Avila Beach Golf Resort. Typically performing here are top names in reggae, dance pop, and country music. 

General admission is the lowest cost ticket and they can increase much higher for a more exclusive music experience. This large venue with ocean views acclaims continuous sold out shows with top artists and festivals. Home to the annual Blues Festival and Tequila Festival, brunch pop-ups and concerts here are fun for friends and family of various ages.

For college students a venue most fond of is the Fremont Theatre, located in downtown San Luis Obispo. It is centrally located near student housing, making it more accessible for walking or ride sharing. The Fremont attracts fans of EDM and rap genres. Tickets range from $20 to $50, with an additional $10 for a fastpass to skip the long lines. 

“The Fremont hands down, the location and general venue set up always makes for the best experience,” said Taylore Johnson-Hetman, an agriculture student at Cuesta College. “I like how open of a venue it is and the nostalgia of growing up going there.” 

Downtown San Luis Obispo brings live music to any restaurant, especially if there is an outdoor seating area, and is home to diverse concert venues offering a music interest for any resident.

Local venues have postponed their live music shows due to COVID-19. New dates have been released while some venues have not announced certain artists’ rescheduled dates.