Bloomington’s music community includes everyone, from people who enjoy listening to music to the artists who create and play it. Genres range from punk to classical and country to indie. While the Bloomington house show community is vibrant and thriving, venues also provide musicians with stages to perform covers or original music.
Blockhouse Bar, open Tuesday through Saturday, puts on open mics where artists are able to support one another and form long-lasting relationships. The venue hosts many shows, from local bands to touring artists. They also hold honky-tonks after open mics on Tuesdays and feature call-and-response jazz on Wednesdays.
Open seven days a week, The Back Door is a dedicated LGBTQ space in Bloomington. Sundays are karaoke nights and, on Mondays, everything is half price. Wednesdays give drag performers an open stage to show off their talent. After shows on Friday and Saturday nights, DJs perform sets. On the first Thursday of every month, the venue offers free and confidential gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV testing.
The Bluebird, a rock bar, features different touring acts, local musicians and cover bands. The walls of the bar and performance areas showcase popular artists who have performed on their stage, including Koko Taylor, Jimmy Eat World and Morgan Wallen. The walls of the musician’s backroom are lined with signatures, notes and stickers from past musicians.
The Bishop Bar, open seven days a week, is half bar and half designated performance space. They occasionally hold 18+ nights, but most are 21+. The performance space leaves room for a dance floor, while booths are in the back. The Bishop Bar typically showcases indie artists.
The Orbit Room, an underground bar open Tuesday through Saturday, is known for their arcade and hot dogs. They have karaoke nights on Tuesdays, and hold many performances by artists across different genres of music. Tuesdays at the Orbit Room also mean free team trivia nights with Bloomington Pub Quiz.
The Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Kirkwood Avenue has featured artists such as Five For Fighting and Matt Kearney. It’s also a hotspot for theater, dance, film screenings, festivals and stand up comedy.
Whether you’re wanting to perform at a venue or listen to your favorite music, Bloomington has everything you need. You can find country artists, rock musicians, dubstep and many other genres of music in this community.
This article was originally published in the 2022 Orienter New Student Guide. Explore the entire guide here.