Musical Crossroads: A Guide to Reno-Tahoe Venues and Festivals

Find out why the region is the ultimate junction for live music.

For decades, major touring acts traveling to their next gig via the east-west or north-south interstate corridors have found Reno and Lake Tahoe’s theaters and stages to be perfect layover locales. The band and crew can park the buses, play a show or two and then hop back on the road to the Bay Area, Salt Lake City or wherever their tour is taking them. If you’re itching to strap on your dancing shoes, here’s where we suggest you point your toes.

Lake Tahoe Venues and Festivals

Summer Concert Series at Harveys Outdoor Arena

Every summer Harveys on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore puts on an outdoor summer concert series that attracts some of the nation’s biggest headliners. Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, the Zac Brown Band, Steve Miller Band, The Doobie Brothers and more. It’s a Grammy-Award-winning lineup that lights up Lake Tahoe every summer. 

The Crystal Bay Club

On the North Shore, the Crystal Bay Club’s Crown Room has a justified reputation for hosting a mix of high-caliber shows, including musicians like JJ Grey, Galactic and Railroad Earth. The CBC (as it’s known) hosts an eclectic marquee of acts that play in one of the most intimate, acoustically superior rooms in the region. 

MontBleu Outdoor Event Center

Back on the South Shore, right across the street from Harveys amphitheater, the MontBleu Outdoor Event Center features a decidedly positive vibe. The resort’s annual Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival brings in acts such as SOJA and Alpha Blondy as well as pop stars like Shiny Toy Guns and Pete Wentz. 

Reno Venues and Festivals

Reno’s Artown

Reno’s month-long Artown celebration brings 500 arts, music and craft events to Reno each July. For 2014, the event landed Los Lonely Boys, Don McLean, Judy Collins and acclaimed guitarist Jesse Cook. Based in Bartley Ranch Regional Park, the festival also fills stages around the region with scores of acts and artists. 

Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater

This wonderful amphitheater nestled against the overlooking hillside plays host to Artown and a variety of summertime shows. It’s the perfect venue for seeing the likes of Todd Snider, Rickie Lee Jones, Bruce Cockburn, the Black Lillies and Richard Elloyan. 

Wingfield Park in Downtown Reno

You’ll find the Wingfield Park stage on the island in the middle of the TruckeeRiver in downtown Reno. It’s a great venue for catching the Rollin’ on the River summer concert series, the Reno Philharmonic’s Pops on the River and the Reno River Festival’s free concerts.

Free Music

Lake Tahoe, Reno and Truckee have dozens of free concerts throughout the summer. Truckee’s concerts in the park every Wednesday night bring out picnicking music fans. Tahoe City’s concerts at Commons Beach allow concert goers to sit on the sand or dance the evening away on Tahoe’s shore every Sunday afternoon. And Kings Beach puts on a Friday night summer series on its picturesque beach.