Best place to hear local music and bands


Abigail Griffith

Hard Day’s Night performs at the Kent Stage, locted at 1025 Risman drive, during the ninth annual Beatlefest Feb. 17.

Kyle Kuchta, Reporter

FIRST: The Kent Stage

The Kent Stage has featured classic rock music since 2001, according to owner Tom Simpson. 

The venue’s performers also play 1970s, 1980s and folk music. The foundation of the venue starts with folk music. 

“There’s only one place in the state of Ohio like the Kent Stage,” Simpson said. “No other venues that bring national talent on a regular basis into a city of 30,000. There’s nowhere else in the state like this – very few places in the country.”

One of Beatlefest’s top tribute bands, Hard Day’s Night, played at the Kent Stage in February. 

In March, an Earth Wind & Fire tribute band came to the stage, and tribute shows to Bruce Springsteen and Whiteny Houston will be held in April. The venue also features live performances of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

According to the venue’s website, the stage hosts approximately 150 concerts a year. 

“We want people to have a fun, very entertaining experience with no hassles. We don’t want to have people spend 30 bucks on ticketing fees,” Simpson said. “We want people to have a couple beers and enjoy themselves.”

SECOND: The Outpost Concert Club

The Outpost Concert Club, a venue right outside of dowtown, features live music every week. 

Club promoter Trent Parker has been involved with The Outpost for the last four years.

“I think it’s really cool to have that kind of venue in that area because it doesn’t feel like there’s that style of venue unless you go to Cleveland,” Parker said. 

Being separated from Cleveland, Parker thinks it’s good to have a venue like The Outpost bringing people in the community of Kent together. 

The Outpost’s crowds sell out shows, Parker said. 

“We’ve sold out more than a handful of shows over the last year and a half,” Parker said.       “Our average is somewhere between 400-500 people.” 

Emo night and Disney-themed night are two of the bar’s best nights, he said.

Parker said he does all the promoting to get people in the door. According to him, The Outpost is successful because of its atmosphere and music.

“I think The Outpost has gone successfully because they’ve taken a lot of pride in sound quality when it comes to the main stage which is what you need in a good venue,” Parker said. “We make sure everyone is safe and that they have a good time, great vibes, great sound. It’s really hard to think of extreme negatives when it comes to this place.”

THIRD: Water Street Tavern

In addition to its watch parties, restaurant menu and drink specials, Water Street Tavern also hosts live local bands and musicians every Friday. 

General manager Dan Friend has worked there for over a decade and said  both older crowds and college-aged students come in frequently on weekends.

“We have bands from six to nine so the older crowd can come in and see the bands play and then the college kids don’t come out until later,” Friend said. “Most of the time the older people are done with the bands and then pack up as college kids come in right after.”

Water Street Tavern promotes itself through Kent festivals like BeatlesFest, Blues Fest, Round Town Fest and The Roots Fest. Friend said he believes the vision is good for Water Street since they have had a consistent presence in the community for several years.

“We’ve been a staple in Kent for over 20 years so we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” Friend said. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Kyle Kuchta is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]