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Campus Guide '17: Concert venues highlight the city's music scene

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Sean Gundu | The Daily Wildcat

191 Toole is a non-profit concert venue located in downtown Tucson and is dubbed the Rialto's sister-location.

Tucson’s live music scene is quite eclectic, with rock, alternative, country and hip-hop among the genres represented. Several venues regularly sell out shows for local artists as well as national acts who make a point of adding Tucson to their tours. Incoming students can look forward to seeing the many different artists and bands that contribute to Tucson’s ever-growing music culture and community.

Darien Bakas | The Daily Wildcat

The Rialto Theatre, a concert venue that hosts both local and popular artists, lights up Congress Street in downtown Tucson on Sunday, July 9, 2016.

Rialto Theatre: 318 E. Congress St.

The Rialto Theatre is located in the center of downtown. Among UA students, this refurbished venue is a popular spot for catching a variety of local artists and touring bands. Many genres of music are performed here, so there’s something for everyone. Located across the street from Hotel Congress, the Rialto is at the heart of the metro Tucson’s nightlife every day of the week. 

Standing general admission is the rule, but there is some chair seating above in the balcony. Drinks are available during most shows.

Becca Hammen, who works in the box office at the Rialto, said that self-expression for visual artists is also one of the things that makes this venue special. The Rialto showcases hand-painted murals on the sides of the building which represent the talent of local artists.

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“We serve as a venue for events or fairs so it’s really diverse, it’s really versatile and it does showcase local art as well as art from big cities,” Hammen added.

Some concerts to look forward to at the Rialto are 2 Chainz, Fleet Foxes, DJ Quik + Scarface: The Live Experience, The CTRL Tour – SZA, Natalia Lafourcade, Tove Lo and Phil Vassar.


Sean Gundu | The Daily Wildcat

191 Toole is a non-profit concert venue located in downtown Tucson and is dubbed the Rialto's sister-location.

191 Toole: 191 E. Toole Ave.

Named after its street address, 191 Toole is a non-profit venue where people of all ages can enjoy live shows, festivals and local acts year-round. This smaller space is the sister venue to the Rialto Theatre.

“It’s basically the Rialto Theatre for smaller shows,” Hammen said of 191 Toole.

According to her, this venue shares the same philosophy of self-expression as the Rialto. Several underground acts perform here, providing a unique music experience for those looking for something different in the downtown area.

Some concerts to look forward to at 191 Toole include David Cook, Electric Guest, Luke Pell, Chelsea Wolfe and Ty Segall


A band performs at the Rock, a local music venue. Many famous bands and artists have performed here, including Korn and the Goo Goo Dolls.

The Rock: 136 N. Park Ave.

The Rock is a long-standing music hub in Tucson that has hosted numerous hard rock, metal, punk and pop acts over the years, and recently begun hosting acts from additional genres. Located a few blocks south of the UA campus, this small venue continues to welcome local, national and international acts. The Rock offers shows for all ages with a separate 21+ bar area.

The small size of this staple concert venue gives incoming students the chance to be as close as possible to the artists that perform here. According to the owner Kent Van Stelle, this intimate, up-close and personal setting is what makes the Rock different from other venues.

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The Rock’s concert history is also something that the venue is known for. Van Stelle said that thousands of world-famous acts have performed here, including Gwen Stefani, The Goo Goo Dolls and Korn.

Some concerts to look forward to at The Rock include Myles Parish, The Queers/The Ataris, and Obituary & Exodus


Sean Gundu | The Daily Wildcat

The AVA Amphitheater at Casino del Sol, located on Valencia Road, hosts a variety of concerts and can hold almost 5,000 people in addition to its lawn area.

AVA Amphitheater at Casino del Sol: 5655 W. Valencia Rd.

Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater, more commonly known as the AVA Amphitheater, offers an opportunity to enjoy the performances of the biggest stars who venture to Tucson. Acts such as Shakira, Snoop Dogg and Van Halen are a few of the many musicians and performers to showcase their talents in the amphitheater. Popular Latino artists are a staple of the AVA because of the diverse culture the city hosts.

Located next to Casino del Sol, the AVA Amphitheatre has almost 5,000 seats and a large lawn area. Concertgoers can choose to stand or bring blankets to lie down and relax. For a wide variety of big-name entertainers performing in a fantastic outdoor environment, be sure to check out the AVA. The venue’s event calendar specifies which shows are 21+.

Some concerts to look forward to at the AVA include Matchbox Twenty, Flo Rida,  comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias and Toby Keith


Judith Franklin (as Martha Reeves, center) and the cast of "Motown the Musical" perform during the musical's first national tour at Centennial Hall.

Centennial Hall: 1020 E. University Blvd.

Built in 1937, Centennial Hall provides the UA and Tucson with a chance to enjoy music in a classical setting. This historical venue is conveniently situated on the west side of campus, between Old Main and Main Gate Square. Performances here include classical and jazz concerts as well as Broadway plays — although the hall occasionally hosts comedians such as Trevor Noah. Centennial Hall opens its doors to everyone, beckoning patrons with its glistening chandeliers and luxurious red velvet seats.

Some acts to look forward to at Centennial Hall include Pink Martini, The Little Mermaid , Beautiful — The Carole King Musical and KC and The Sunshine Band


Music Festivals

Sydney Richardson | The Daily Wildcat

Local Tucson band, Calexico, performs at the Dusk Music Festival on Oct. 22, 2016.

The Oro Valley Music Festival and Dusk Music Festival are two major events in Tucson that students can look forward to this fall.

The Oro Valley Music Festival is Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1. Tickets range from $49.50 to $259.50.

Saturday’s lineup includes Lee Brice, Brothers Osborne, Drake White and the Big Fire, Michael Ray, Brooke Eden and Kaylor Cox. Sunday features Train, Gavin DeGraw, Michael Franti & Spearhead, LeAnn Rimes, Echosmith and the Rich Berra Band.

The Dusk Music Festival is Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7. Tickets range from $69 to $139. Performers include Big Sean, Steve Aoki, Milky Chance, Vince Staples, Policia, Madison Beer, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Trackstar the DJ.


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