Emerging artists looking for the right place to call home to have many intriguing options around the United States. There are specific locations, like New York City and Nashville, Tennessee, specifically known for producing new talent in the music industry. There are also numerous places recommended as cities for artists because they’re culturally active without being too expensive (such as Baltimore, Maryland, or Fort Collins, Colorado). And really, any mid-size town will at least allow you to play some bars and other small local venues as you look to develop your early audience.
However, they are sometimes overlooked in discussions about strategic homes for emerging artists in Las Vegas. This is perfectly understandable as Vegas is known for gaming resorts, being home to some of the world’s biggest casinos, poker rooms, and slot machine floors, and catering to millions of tourists each year. And when one does consider the arts scene in the city, it is typically about massive resort residency and tour shows performed by some of the biggest names in music. With the primary spotlights shining on towering resorts, busy poker tables, and larger-than-life concerts, it doesn’t exactly look at first glance like a place for an independent artist to get a leg up.
When you look at Vegas a little more closely, though, you will find that there are several reasons it might just be ideal for an emerging artist.
Las Vegas is known to have a very vibrant spirit, perfect for those who want to live life to the fullest. Aspiring artists can appreciate the electric environment of the city, as this can contribute to inspiring them. They will also encounter interesting people and experiences that will become memorable events in the future. Vegas’ overall atmosphere has become a hub of creativity, so much so that there are movies, paintings, and songs dedicated to just how fun it is to be within its vicinity.
Another exciting factor is that the main attractions of Vegas command so much attention that many who live in or visit the city are inclined to seek alternative interests. If one doesn’t want to see a big resort pool, dine at a fancy restaurant, play poker, or anything of the like, that is, one may as well explore the rest of the city. This, in turn, has gradually led to a fun off-the-beaten-path scene where there’s plenty of attention to go around for independent artists or small venue performers.
Expanding on the idea of off-the-beaten-path appeal, we should note that Las Vegas is specifically home to several intimate spots for live music — as opposed to just major concert venues attached to towering resorts. Places like the Double Down Saloon, the Sayers Club, and Brooklyn Bowl (to name a few) have hosted new and established artists alike. In some ways, they provide ideal stages for more unique musicians looking to develop themselves — big and noteworthy enough to draw some of the Vegas crowd, but small enough that they’re not reserved only for famous and established artists.
As you grow in your career, Las Vegas also presents the option of playing at much larger locations. Numerous hotels host significant events like the biggest poker tournament globally that can cater to your needs as a performer. Places like Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino have hosted gatherings like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), where players worldwide meet to challenge each other. During 2021’s WSOP, which happened at the hotel’s convention room, hundreds of people were able to gather while still following Covid safety protocols, making it an ideal place to hold events under the current circumstances. The range of venues that artists have to choose from makes Las Vegas one of the perfect places to reside in when working your way to becoming a musician.
An Established Track Record
If all of the above isn’t convincing enough, we’d also point out in closing that the city has a pretty decent track record of churning out musical talent. In various ways, the likes of Panic! At The Disco, The Killers (and by extension solo act Brandon Flowers), Imagine Dragons, and Ne-Yo can all claim to hail from Las Vegas. So too can individual members of other popular brands, such as Mark Slaughter (of Slaughter), Ronnie Radke (of Escape The Fate), and Tony Fredianelli (formerly of Third Eye Blind). That’s quite a collection for a city most think of as a stopping point on tours more than a home base for emerging talent!
In the end, Las Vegas is still just one of many good options for emerging musicians looking for the right place to try to make it. And it will always be associated more with its defining features — the opulent resorts, the poker tournaments, the gourmet restaurants, and resort pool deck parties. If anything, all of this has given cover to the fact that Vegas is a pretty great town for independent music.