“You have the privilege tonight of hearing the worst country-western band in the U.S.,” Bill Briggs used to tell the crowd gathered to dance on Sunday nights at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson, Wyoming. Bill was being modest, though. Thirty-ish years ago, Skiing Magazine actually named the Stagecoach Band “the worst country western band in the western hemisphere.” “We were such hackers,” says Briggs, who has played with the band since its third Sunday and, in 1971, was the first person to ski the Grand Teton. While a Sunday night stop at the Coach—both to hear the band and mingle with long-time locals—should be at the top of your list, it’s far from the only live music in the valley any more. Expect concerts as wide ranging as an all-female AC/DC cover band to Public Enemy, Martin Sexton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, De La Soul, Chris Isaak or the Met Opera. Here are my favorite venues:
Pink Garter Theatre
This 450-seat downtown venue has the valley’s most eclectic and interesting line-up: think March Fourth Marching Band to Blitzen Trapper and Martin Sexton. Haven’t heard of the band playing this weekend? Chances are they’ll be everywhere within a year. Bonus? At intermission, the bar in the lobby, The Rose, makes the valley’s finest cocktails.
The evening concerts at this après-ski hot spot in Teton Village will take you back to your fraternity days—you’ve missed having beer spilled on you, haven’t you? The scene for the live, mostly-acoustic music on most afternoons during the ski season is as civilized as any music that’s played beneath a giant taxidermied moose hanging from the ceiling can be.
Walk Festival Hall
Bringing classical music to the Tetons for over 50 years, the festival orchestra of the Grand Teton Music Festival has been hailed as one of the world's great symphony orchestras. Its 7-week season at Walk Festival Hall begins in early July and ends in mid-August; symphony concerts are Friday and Saturday nights. Mid-week, musicians perform chamber music and eclectic crossover concerts.
Town Square Tavern
Walking into the Tavern, on the Town Square, you’ll wish it smelled as nice as your frat house. Still, the bar’s lineup of local and regional bands, including Grateful Dead cover band The Deadlocks, and the cheap (for Jackson) drinks, are sometimes worth the olfactory assault.
Silver Dollar Bar
Looking to dance? Head for the Silver Dollar’s Bluegrass night on Tuesdays. Or just grab a table and watch the valley’s best local dancers. Other nights, this downtown bar—famous for its 2,032 Morgan silver dollars from 1921 embedded in its bar—features music of other genres, from country to rock.