New Bedford 360 -
New Bedford: Live Music in the City
AHA! (Art, History & Architecture)

AHA! presents 2nd Thursday year-round FREE nights of Art, History & Architecture programs in Downtown New Bedford with 37-venue partners.

Call us at 508-264-8859 or visit us at

The AHA! Project was formed in 1999 by a dedicated circle of cultural leaders, downtown businesses and individual artists. Since July of that year, the project has continuously presented its 2nd Thursday events. What originally included 14 venues now numbers 37 and spans eight galleries, three museums, The National Historical Park, City Hall and The Library, many of the downtown’s unique stores, restaurants and cafes as well as individual artist studios, a meditation center, several churches, The Bristol Building, The New Bedford Preservation Society and The UMass Dartmouth CVPA Star Store.  AHA!’s mission is to collectively promote downtown culture and work towards greater sustainability of the downtown cultural scene and partner organizations.

AHA!’s articles on are part of an expanding effort to bring more attention to the wealth of cultural events and experiences happening in downtown New Bedford.

By AHA! (Art, History & Architecture)
Published on 05/5/2007
Music is always best when experienced live and it's local. Here is a round up of New Bedford's wealth of live music in the heart of this cultural city. Spend a night out soaking it in. You'll love it!

Live Music in the City of New Bedford
Music is always best when experienced live and local.  A booming live music scene is emerging in hub of New Bedford and in this cultural city you can catch the best of local artists and often national and international musicians in unique and intimate settings. Spend a night out soaking it in. You'll love it! Here is a roundup of the wealth of live music in the heart the city of New Bedford.

The Whaling Museum and The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum (RJD House) are two of downtown New Bedford’s most unique settings for live music. Listening to renowned artists in the dramatic Jacobs Family Gallery beneath the whale skeletons or amid the formal RJD House gardens certainly adds to the cultural experience.

On the last Friday of every month, the Whaling Museum hosts an “After Hours” party in the Jacob’s Gallery that features live music by local and regional artists.  The parties offer a selection of wines, cocktails, and a delicious buffet menu. This is a great way to socialize with friends and meet new ones…in style!  Don’t miss the next After Hours party on Friday, July 27, 6-8 p.m., with live Rock & Blues music by Blu Lobsta.  Free for members, $10 for the general public.

The RJD House hosts the summer segment of the popular “Music Through Time” concert series (held at the Whaling Museum from Fall-Spring).  The next concert is on Friday, July 13th with singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Joel Mabus, a maverick in the folk music world.

The RJD will also host The Barra MacNeils 20th Anniversary Celebration on July 27.  As a group, the six MacNeil siblings are widely regarded as one of the greatest live acts in the Celtic world. Hailing from Sydney Mines, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the family group is deeply rooted in Celtic music, culture, and history.  They continue to wow audiences around the world with their captivating vocals, harmonies, and extraordinary musicianship.  2007 will mark 20 years in the recording and touring career of the Barra MacNeils, and this special concert will celebrate this milestone.

New Bedford’s downtown restaurants and cafes offer a more intimate setting and round out the live music scene.  At the Catwalk Bar & Grille you can enjoy live entertainment just about every night of the week. Live music is featured every Thursday through Saturday and occasionally on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Regularly performing bands are The Freeze Pops, Fever Dream, Wild Nites, 57 Deep, Thick Richard Rocks, Grand Amy, Dancing Nancy, Jon the Cartoon Whale, Whiskey Poet, Naked Daze, Concrete Tuesday and more. Click on the above site link to find who's playing when.

Café Arpeggio packs in listeners who recognize this spot as one of the South Coast's finest for folk and acoustic acts. Generally acts are booked for the third Friday of each month and Open Mics happen every Thursday. Performers for the Friday evenings are national and international touring artists who are passing through the New Bedford area. Café Arpeggio's Open Mic is every Thursday from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. On the 2nd Thursday of the month (during AHA! Night) Café Arpeggio's Open Mic also offers a featured performer!  Again, check site listings for upcoming acts and dates.

Monday and Thursday nights are when you can catch live music at Freestone’s City Grill. Enjoy a relaxing evening out after work at this funky and fun nightspot with "Neal  McCarthy/Kenny Richards/Steve Mazza" on Mondays 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. and “The Whiskey Affair” on Thursdays from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m.

On a grander scale, the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center  (a.k.a. The Z) often tops the list for presenting live music in the heart of the city of New Bedford.  With a capacity of just over 1,200, The Z is still intimate enough so that you feel like you can reach out and touch the "stars".  In this little historical gem you can catch legendary performers and groundbreaking artists at their best.  Don't miss the one and only Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis coming August 3 at 8 p.m.!  Eric Burdon & The Animals and The Yardbirds will take the stage on August 9 at 8 pm.

Visit the calendar section of this website for additional listings of live music events going on throughout the city.