Macon is where soul lives. Otis Redding, Little Richard, the Allman Brothers Band, and countless others got their start in Macon and that music heritage is still alive today in downtown’s historic venues. While you’re exploring Macon, be sure to tune your dial to 100.9 to hear The Creek for the best in Americana music and to hear about all the great things happening in downtown Macon.
Book a Rock Candy Tour to learn the extensive history of Macon’s musical past. Downtown walking tours take you to the main spots where greats like Little Richard, Otis Redding, and the Allman Brothers got their start. Or pick up the Historic Macon Music Registry brochure from Visit Macon to go on your own tour and look for the green plaques commemorating Macon’s music heritage. Also check out maconmusictrail.com to find notable stops downtown and throughout Macon. These are a few stops you won't want to miss:
Mercer Music at Capricorn
Visit the recently rehabilitated Capricorn Sound Studios! Mercer Music at Capricorn features a museum, music incubator, offices, and co-working spaces. This truly unique revitalization project operated by Mercer University leverages Macon’s music history to build Macon’s music future. The public can tour the museum, featuring 1,200 square feet of artifacts, murals, and interactive digital kiosks that interpret the history of Capricorn Records and Capricorn Recording Studios, and Studio A, the original recording studio of Capricorn that looks and sounds as it did during Capricorn’s heyday. Thanks to Mercer’s vision, recording artists can still record in the historic Studio A.
Otis Redding Foundation
The Otis Redding Foundation carries on the legacy of Otis Redding by empowering and enlightening all young people to fulfill their dreams through programs like the Otis Redding Music Camp and the Otis Redding DREAM Choir. The Foundation’s headquarters are located on Cotton Avenue in the heart of downtown. Stop by the foundation where many Otis Redding artifacts are on display. Plus, it’s the perfect place to pick up Otis Redding merchandise as a souvenir for your trip. And all proceeds benefit the Foundation’s work.
Rose Hill Cemetery
Take a walk through the rolling slopes of historic Rose Hill Cemetery. This site was an inspiration to the Allman Brothers Band. You’ll recognize the Bond Monument that was the backdrop for one of the Band’s first album covers. While you’re here, pay respects to Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, and Berry Oakley who are all are interred here.
Stop in Gallery West to see the photography collection of Kirk West. Kirk spent 20 years as the “Tour Mystic” for the Allman Brothers Band and is the founder of the The Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House. Stop in to take a look and find the perfect souvenir to complement your time spent in Macon.
Of course you’ll want to hear live music while you’re here. Check out these venues and dives:
- Grant’s Lounge
The historic Grant’s Lounge was the unofficial audition stage for the Capricorn Records music label. The bar is still open and has live music regularly, including notorious jam nights with local talent. Plus, you can see the Wall of Fame featuring historic images and articles from the last 50 years.
- Hargray Capitol Theatre
The historic Hargray Capitol Theatre brings in the best acts in Americana music. Check out their website for a list of shows.
Macon’s current music talent regularly plays at JBA at the corner of Poplar and MLK. Stop in for craft cocktails and good music. There’s never a cover!
The Hummingbird regularly hosts small indie bands and local talent. Grab a PBR and enjoy the show.
- Macon City Auditorium
The Macon City Auditorium books big names in entertainment across all genres like the Tedeschi Trucks Band, ZZ Top, Earth, Wine, and Fire, Alison Krauss, and Gladys Knight.
- A Brooke Haven Lounge
A Brooke Haven Lounge offers a more sophisticated and upscale entertainment experience. Enjoy jazz, R&B, and many other genres performed by local talent. Be sure to look the part as a dress code is enforced.
Be sure to plan your dining experiences around Macon’s music history:
- Famous Mike’s
Famous Mike’s features a burger menu where the names are all inspired by the Allman Brothers Band. Stop in to see Mike’s extensive poster collection on the walls while you chow down. We recommend grabbing a Sweet Melissa cinnamon roll for the road.
- Downtown Grill
If you’re looking for fine dining, book a reservation at Downtown Grill. This is where Gregg Allman proposed to Cher and was the spot many of the rich and famous visited when they were in town doing business with Capricorn Records.
- Tic Toc Room
Good golly Miss Molly! Little Richard performed some his first shows at Miss Ann’s Tic Toc Bar and Restaurant in the 1940s, where he also worked as a dishwasher. Miss Ann’s Tic Toc Lounge provided African American musicians a safe space to perform and became one of the hottest night life spots in town. Today, the Tic Toc Room offers fine dining and a late nite menu.
H&H serves up classic soul food favorites with new twists on Southern staples, including an extensive biscuit menu. Former owner, Mama Louise Hudson, took pity on the young members of the Allman Brothers Band and helped feed them before they made it big. She later toured with the Brothers and this spot continues to be a pilgrimage for Allman Brother fans and locals looking to cure their Saturday night hangovers.
Annual Events Recommended for Music Lovers
Bragg Jam offers Macon’s biggest weekend of music during the last weekend of July each year. Downtown restaurants and bars become venues for concerts featuring indie bands from all genres.
Rhythm n Jazz
Rhythm n Jazz is an outdoor concert series that takes place in Otis Redding Park, where the iconic bronze statue of Otis Redding sits. Listen to music under the stars in an inspired setting.