James Brown statue in Augusta

James Brown statue in Augusta

Augusta: Where Music Never Stops Growing

Learn about some of the biggest names in music and discover new artists when you visit Augusta.

Augusta is perhaps most well-known as the birthplace of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, who began his storied career as a gospel musician and mutated into a fiery-hot, funk-soul hybrid with a captivating performance style and a commanding voice. Anointed "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," Brown paved the way for countless musicians who came after him, and even in his afterlife, continues to be a one-of-a-kind icon in the world of American music.

See the commemorative cape-clad statue of Mr. Dynamite himself on Broad Street in Downtown Augusta. The statue features a "James Brown CAM" that's ready to capture your selfie with Soul Brother No. 1 and text it back to your phone as a memento.

James Brown's cape on display at the Augusta Museum of History
James Brown's cape on display at the Augusta Museum of History

Spend time at the interactive kiosks at the Augusta Museum of History’s James Brown exhibit to see one of his iconic performances or hear an oral history of the legend as told by musicians, politicians and entertainers. Family photos, on-stage costumes and other memorabilia are also on display.

Funk’s not the only thing that grows strong in Garden City musicians; opera singer and Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee Jessye Norman hails from here. Psychedelic twang-punk rockers Dead Confederate formed in Augusta, as did country darlings Lady Antebellum. Grammy-winning soul-funk queen Sharon Jones, who rose to popularity with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, was born and raised in Augusta, and cited James Brown as a vital early influence.

Great places to see live music in Augusta

James Brown arena in Augusta
James Brown arena in Augusta

James Brown Arena

Catch a show at the Augusta Entertainment Complex – also known as the James Brown Arena – which hosts acts like ZZ Top and the Avett Brothers.

Miller Theater

Visit the historic, newly renovated Miller Theater, performance home for the Augusta Symphony, now in its 64th season.

Tuesday's Music LIve

Tuesday’s Music Live is America's largest luncheon concert series. Started in 1988, the season features 12 free half-hour concerts held in the historic Saint Paul's Church at noon. Lunch is available for $12 per person afterward.

Music Cruises

Experience live music in a whole new way on a Music Cruise along the scenic Augusta Canal. Friday evenings in the spring and fall, pack a picnic and a bottle of wine and hop on board to enjoy a rotating array of live bluegrass, R&B, jazz, folk and more.

Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival
Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival

Music Festivals

The five-day Westobou Festival is a multi-arts affair dedicated to "a richer regional understanding of creative impulse." Previous years' festivals brought in the likes of the Blind Boys of Alabama and Maceo Parker to get attendees in the groove. The Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival celebrates creativity and culture with a lineup chock full of local musicians, among them blues rocker Adam Thompson and electric violin powerhouse JaVonne Jones.

Bars and Clubs

There is plenty more live music around town. Check the schedules of local favorite hangouts Stillwater Taproom, Second City Distilling Co. and The Fox’s Lair at Olde Town Inn to see where the action is. Or check out Epicenter, an all-ages venue known for experimental and indie shows, housed in an old laundromat downtown.

Record stores in Augusta

Nothing excites a music fan quite like a good record store, and Augusta doesn't disappoint. The OG here is Pyramid Records, owned by Robert "Flash" Gordon, who had close ties to the late James Brown. It boasts "over 40 years of music, culture, and soul!" And there's also Grantski Records and Psychotronic Records, both of which are well-stocked, well-staffed, and well-loved by locals.

Published: September 2019