Over the years, The Blue Note has found a new home and new owners, but one thing has never changed: its spot as the leader of the Columbia music scene.
The Blue Note opened its doors at its original location in 1980 behind the ownership of Phil Costello and Richard King. Located off of business loop 70 East, it was away from downtown Columbia as well as MU’s campus. However, it’s distance didn’t stop The Blue Note from gaining big name acts to take its stage. The Pixies opened for Soul Asylum before making it big themselves. Along with them, the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Replacements and Johnny Cash also played at The Blue Note’s original location.
A decade after its inception, The Blue Note got a new home on 9th street in the heart of downtown Columbia. Originally a theatre, The Blue Note grew to become the most popular venue in Columbia. Over the last 28 years, they have brought in groups like The Violent Femmes, The Dave Matthews Band and Arctic Monkeys to Columbia. From The Blue Note, King grew his music empire to include Rose Music Hall, formerly known as Mojo’s, as well as our own Roots N Blues N BBQ festival. Longtime owner King sold The Blue Note after 34 years back in 2014, but still remains the president of Roots N Blues.
With a capacity of over 750, The Blue Note is the perfect balance of an intimate show with big name groups. An open layout and a killer balcony make for a great concert experience for one to have. Over the years, I have seen many incredible acts their that have also played Roots N Blues like Houndmouth, Lake Street Dive and Lee Fields.
With the fall beginning, the calendar is filled with many phenomenal shows to come. Roots N Blues alum Pokey LaFarge returns in November to make up a date from his spring tour which was cancelled due to illness. Also in November, rising country star Tyler Childers will make his first appearance to a sold out show days later. If November is too far away for your liking, other notable shows include Here Come the Mummies (10/11) and Yonder Mountain String Band (10/21).
The Blue Note is a must for all music junkies in Columbia. Personally, many of my great memories stem from Blue Note shows. From my first show (including two friends who met that night and are now happily married) to my first time going solo to a show, the Blue Note has, and will continue to be, a staple of the Columbia music scene.