Home of legendary bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson, the famed country songwriter behind “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” Cleveland County is more than a thriving manufacturing community—it’s full of the sounds and the history of the American South. These classic sounds are invigorating a new generation of musicians, like local band Acoustic Syndicate and the artists behind Shelby’s annual Art of Sound music festival. Visit the Earl Scruggs Center, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the man who mastered the five-string banjo, and the 400-seat Don Gibson Theatre, or catch some live jazz over a glass of wine or craft beer at the Dragonfly Wine Market.
Cleveland County is proud to be the birthplace of two world-class music legends — Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson — whose lives and music are celebrated today with historical and performance-based experiences throughout the county.
The Earl Scruggs Center showcases the life of the legendary five-string banjo artist and Cleveland County native, with a focus on the unique history and cultural traditions that shaped his musical style. The center features unique exhibits, special events and engaging programming, all in the beautifully restored 1907 Cleveland County Courthouse.
Don Gibson, who helped to shape the sound of Nashville and country music during the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, is also a native of Cleveland County. His song “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was covered by the likes of Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Elvis Presley. Gibson’s life and music are honored through the Don Gibson Theatre, a 400-seat venue featuring performances by nationally known musicians and up-and-coming artists. Click to the next tab to learn more about live music in Cleveland County.
Cleveland County features countless opportunities to experience world-class live music by chart-topping musicians and local artists alike — whether it’s in a formal venue, at a festival or on the streets of Uptown Shelby.
Jazz, country, blues, rock and roll, bluegrass, comedy, vintage films and everything in between — you’ll see it all at the Don Gibson Theatre. Named in honor of the local music legend, the Don Gibson Theatre is an intimate, 400-seat venue featuring performances by Grammy-winning artists and up-and-coming acts out of Nashville, New York and Austin — not to mention live comedy and a variety of film series.
Another major fixture in Cleveland County’s music scene is Shelby’s annual Art of Sound music festival, which is held on the historic court square and features free performances by local, regional and national acts. Local businesses, including Dragonfly Wine Market, Newgrass Brewing Company and Swamp Fox Trading Company, open their doors to provide unique experiences for the audience.
Even without tickets to a concert, you’ll hear music all around Cleveland County. On weekends, you’ll hear live music at local restaurants and events, like Newgrass Brewing Company, Mi Pueblito Mexican Restaurant, Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille and Sunday Dinners at The Banker’s House, or you’ll catch a busker with a guitar or ukulele playing on Lafayette Street in Shelby.