This Is the Best City for Country Music Fans

Country music has its roots somewhere in the South during the 1920s. Some called it cowboy music. However, it has a relationship with gospel and bluegrass music as well. In the 1950s, its audience grew outside its traditional boundaries as Johnny Cash became a national star and Elvis Presley emerged from Memphis. Today, Billboard treats it as a major part of the music industry and publishes a Hot Country Song list of the most popular albums every week. The annual CMT Awards are part of the TV music calendar.

Lawn Starter recently released its “2021’s Best Cities for Country Music Fans” ranking. The study looked at 182 large American cities and ranks them based on “the number of country radio stations, concerts, and performance venues.” The ranking methodology also turned to social media: “We also gauged the size of the local fandom based on Google search trends and availability of museums dedicated to the genre.”

The top city should be no surprise to anyone. Nashville took that spot. Its score of 77.13 on a scale from 0 to 100 was well above any other city. It is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which was established in 1964. It is also the location of the Grand Ole Opry, America’s most famous country music performance venue, which was founded in 1925. The city is well known for, among other things, one of the first important performances of Elvis Presley in 1956.

Next on the list is music performance mecca Las Vegas with a rating just shy of 46. Its casinos are some of the most famous venues in the world for major music artists.

The balance of the top part of the list is something of a mystery. Memphis is not there at all, only appearing in the 70th spot. St. Louis follows Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City is fourth. Fairly obscure Grand Rapids, Michigan, finished fifth and is the only northern city among the top 10.

Here are the overall scores of the 10 best cities for country music:

  • Nashville (77.13)
  • Las Vegas (45.96)
  • St. Louis (35.85)
  • Salt Lake City (35.20)
  • Grand Rapids (33.89)
  • Knoxville (31.59)
  • Tulsa (31.49)
  • Birmingham (31.40)
  • Atlanta (30.85)
  • Denver (30.40)

Click here to who are the 50 greatest country music stars of all time.