The sound of music can be heard all year long in Santa Barbara. At clubs, restaurants and nightspots, you can sip a glass of wine or a cocktail, order a meal, or simply come to listen to musicians — from homegrown singer-songwriters to world-acclaimed ensembles — as they offer up rock, pop, world, blues, jazz, folk and other genres.
Theaters in town and on local campuses also play host to a lively event-filled calendar of visiting orchestras, singers, and musicians.
The warmer months promise a special seasonal bounty of tuneful listening, as bands take to the parks and other public spaces, providing open-air concerts that are family-friendly and often free of charge.
In addition, from April through October, major headliners of every musical genre — from country to jazz, reggae to rock, indy pop to mariachi, folk to… you name it — bring their talents to Santa Barbara’s historic outdoor amphitheater, the Santa Barbara Bowl. Nestled into a hillside, this cherished 5,000-seat bowl is a favorite stop on many celebrity musicians’ tours.
Classical music fans have their own summer festival from mid-June through mid-August, when promising young artists join faculty and visiting musicians in orchestras, chamber groups, and solo concerts. Open to the public, too, are the master classes for every instrument, as well as for singers who perform in scenes and fully-staged operas. Evening and weekend concerts take place in downtown theaters and at the lushly landscaped Music Academy of the West, a Montecito estate where pre-performance picnics are a delicious treat.