Columbia music scene is rich and diverse thanks to downtown gems

A concert hall complete with a balcony, two bars, wood floors and stage surrounded by standing live music fans is tucked into Ninth Street in downtown Columbia. While some students may just pass by on their way to the neighboring restaurants and bars they would be missing the opportunity to experience well-known and up-and-coming artists playing everything from rap to red dirt country music.

“I thought it was very, vey cool,” said Matt Gerding, co-owner of The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall. “I definitely caught the live music bug after going to the Blue Note.”

Gerding, born in Columbia, Missouri, attended his first Blue Note concert at around 15 years old. He remembers seeing America, a classic rock band. After getting his degree from MU in marketing, Gerding knew he was most passionate about the live music industry. That is when he joined with his roommate and started looking into live music venues.

According to its website, The Blue Note has been a Columbia live music venue since 1980. Since Matt and his co-owner took possession in November 2014, they have made changes and updates to the performer’s dressing rooms, the flooring, and stage and put in a whole new sound system.

“We kind of cleaned it up and made it a little more modern,” Gerding said.

Since the pair’s acquisition of The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall, they have added some non-live music events. These events include “Brew ‘n View,” which combines classic movies, shown outside Rose Music Hall, with local brews. This past summer the Brew ’n Views included The Sandlot, Finding Nemo, Grease and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Gerding and the other organizers do try to be creative with their events. However, live music is definitely at the core of what the venues feature.

Gerding isn’t the only team member passionate about live music. Frank Klockenga, marketing coordinator for Majestic Live – Columbia Area (covering the Blue Note, Rose Music Hall and the Ninth Street Summerfest) graduated from the MU with a marketing degree.

“When I came to CoMo [referencing Columbia, Missouri] live music was the first thing I really sought out,” Klockenga said.

Klockenga attended his first concert as an MU freshman. His apartment was only about a half a block from Rose Music Hall (at the time Mojo’s). This experience, coupled with his on-campus involvement, led him to seek out a career in live music.

Maggie Glidewell, an MU senior studying science and agricultural journalism from Lathrop, Missouri, describes a fond memory at the Blue Note. Earlier this fall semester, Glidewell and a few friends attended the Tucker Beathard concert. They were able to catch a guitar pick and meet the opening act after the concert. Glidewell has visited The Blue Note several times. She said it is her favorite place to go in Columbia. She attributes this to the fact that The Blue Note employees are always friendly and they have a great atmosphere there.

“Everyone should go to The Blue Note at least once,” Glidewell added. “It’s a gem inside Columbia.”

You won’t hear any disagreement with that sentiment from Gerding.

“There’s no better setting for seeing live music than The Blue Note,” Gerding said.

If you haven’t had the chance to experience the Blue Note or Rose Music Hall’s live music, they have several performers in a variety of genres scheduled. This included a free Ninth Street Summerfest featuring Corey Smith concert to kick off the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Week on Sept. 16.

“A free concert on Ninth Street the night before a Mizzou home game, if that doesn’t scream Columbia culture, I don’t know what does,” Klockenga said.

To check out more of their shows visit: or

Author’s note: The Corey Smith Concert was moved inside The Blue Note due to weather.

Samantha Coulson

About the Author Samantha Coulson

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This quote (source unknown) hangs above my desk. As a senior majoring in agricultural education with a leadership emphasis, that is what I am trying to do. This semester I am taking Introduction to Science and Agricultural Journalism to sharpen my written communication skills, gain valuable insight into agricultural communications, and share agriculture’s story. Even though I did not grow up on a farm, I was an active member of 4-H and FFA. Through these experiences and growing up surrounded by agriculture, I was very enthusiastic to seek out a career in the agriculture industry.