Atlanta Named One of 2021’s Best Cities for Country Music Fans

Staff Report

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

International Country Music Day is just two days away, Sept. 17, and these days we all could use nostalgic sounds and relatable stories to get us through bad times (and good). 

But if you want to follow Tim McGraw’s advice and live like you were dying, then hop in that truck and make your way to one of 2021’s Best Cities for Country Music Fans.

LawnStarter ranked over 180 of the biggest U.S. cities across five key factors that make up a strong country music scene. 

In each city, we looked at the number of country radio stations, concerts, and performance venues. We also gauged the size of the local fandom based on Google search trends and availability of museums dedicated to the genre.

Check out the 10 best (and the 10 worst) country music scenes below, followed by some highlights and lowlights from our report.


2021’s Best Cities for Country Music Fans




Nashville, TN


Las Vegas, NV


St. Louis, MO


Salt Lake City, UT


Grand Rapids, MI


Knoxville, TN


Tulsa, OK


Birmingham, AL


Atlanta, GA


Denver, CO


2021’s Worst Cities for Country Music Fans




Bridgeport, CT


Oxnard, CA


Riverside, CA


Port St. Lucie, FL


Rancho Cucamonga, CA


Corona, CA


Clarksville, TN


Salinas, CA


Brownsville, TX


Killeen, TX

Highlights and Lowlights:

  • Nashville: The Undisputed Capital of Country: Where else can you enjoy a pure, unvarnished country sound than where country music stars are born? Landing in first place is Nashville, Tennessee, the official capital of country music as far as we — and just about everyone else — are concerned.

    Music City sweeps nearly every category and metric in our ranking: No. 1 in Genre Interest and Everyday Listening and second place in Performance Access. 

    This chart-topping performance really is no surprise: After all, Nashville is home to the famous Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

    Want to make country music, not just listen to it? There’s no shortage of recording studios here, which is likely why country stars like Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, and Taylor Swift have made Nashville (or the area) home base. 

  • Other Country Hubs: Besides Nashville at No. 1, America’s iconic country cities seemed to naturally gravitate toward the top of our ranking. Knoxville, Tennessee, lands in comfortable sixth place, while Tulsa, Oklahoma, finishes seventh, and Austin, Texas, boot-scoots in at a respectable No. 12. Bakersfield, California, slips down to No. 61 — mostly due to lack of Google search interest and concert venues (No. 146 in both metrics). 

    And how did St. Louis land in the top five? Well, the Gateway City known more for jazz and blues is also home to Nelly, who has gone a Lil Bit country. Yesteryear Country Music Hall of Fame act The Kendalls (Heaven’s Just a Sin Away) has St. Louis roots, too. And Redneck Woman Gretchen Wilson hails from Pocahontas, Illinois, about 40 minutes east of the Arch.

    Las Vegas at No. 2, Grand Rapids, Michigan at No. 5, and Birmingham, Alabama in eighth place are other surprise acts. A full calendar of country performances and a healthy presence of country radio stations in each of these cities helped them stand out among the competition. 

  • Killeen Me Softly: If you need a good cry, this should make you tear up: Killeen, Texas, hit rock bottom in our ranking at No. 182.

    What went wrong? Well, almost everything: Killeen ties for last place in three out of four categories, including Genre Interest, Performance Access, and Everyday Listening. It ranks fifth from the bottom for Venue Access, but what good is an empty concert hall? 

    Killeen’s country music fans will have to tune in to YouTube and Spotify to get their fix. That or let Jesus take the wheel and drive them down a country road to Austin (No. 12 overall).

Our full ranking and analysis can be found here: