Freeway Music — Columbia, SC’s Premier Music School

Facebook Event

This morning at City Roots members of the media and local artists gathered for the release of the stellar 2017 Freeway Music Festival lineup headlined by Austin, Texas songwriter Joe Pug joined by a host of great local acts.

More than ever, this year’s lineup features a diverse crop of bands from across South Carolina, including rising Charleston acts The High Divers, The Mobros, 2 Slices, and Secret Guest, along with Columbia’s FatRat Da Czar, King Vulture, Dempsey, Alarm Drum, sandcastles., Ropeswing Marathon, Bellavia, Numbtonuge, and Post Timey String Band. The festival, which has music kicking off at 3PM has a loaded day lineup with great music happening all day between Tin Roof, two stages in Music Farm, and the WXRY acoustic stage.

This year is especially exciting with proceeds going to Songs 4 Life Charity and more specifically their Food 4 Life campaign. This year you’ll get to see where that money goes first hand, as they’ll be building an Aquaponics Greenhouse on the City Roots complex. While we were out there this morning there were several field trips going on, with kids learning about farming first hand. Funds from this year’s festival will not only go towards building that greenhouse, but also to solar panels, seeds, fish and tangs required to maintain the eco-system.

Get your tickets early! A limited amount of $7.50 early bird tickets go on sale March 24th @10:00am, so be sure to get yours while they’re hot.


Live Video Playlist

What a wonderful festival it was. I think it’s always sort of shocking to new comers to hear how outstanding the Freeway student musicians are, performing earlier in the day as people start to flow in. It’s easy to see that many of these musicians are on their way to bigger musical projects. It caught me, watching students cover a band like The Front Bottoms, who just a couple of years ago were playing for 15 people just a couple of miles away behind El Burrito in 5 Points. Now they’re of course drawing thousands and playing bigger clubs in towns all across the world. That gap isn’t really that far and I think it’s important, especially for teenagers, to realize that. It takes a lot of hard work, and at a young age, but you don’t have to wait to chase your dream. Youth is the lifeblood of a music scene. They’re the ones going to shows. They’re the ones setting the pace, and the taste, and overall vibe, but it’s often not until after the fact that they realize that they have that control. Watching the student bands bleed over into the SceneSC stage of bands like Human Resources, She Returns from War, Beach Tiger and more, it’s these bands who are only a couple of years older, just years removed from grade school or just out of college, chasing that same music dream. It’s good to see them team up and chase that together and it’s what we at SceneSC love to cover and help along.

Photos by David Stringer and Brandon Coley






April 2016-0051

April 2016-0047

April 2016-0027

April 2016-0026

April 2016-0018


When I saw Human Resources recently at New Brookland Tavern two things that were easiest to take from their set was that they’re excellent musicians and that they had an impressive live performance. With Marie Holder running the projector/lights it added an element most bands miss early on.

Based out of Charleston now, drummer Matt Zutell, who also runs Coast Records, is the only Charleston native in the band, with the rest of the band relatively new to town. The Holy City has many notable musicians over the years who have moved in and found life in the rising scene there. That’s no different for Human Resources who have been making a name for themselves with well crafted songs that stick in your head with ease.

Their bio mentions that the band is made up of both producers and session players which could put too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to writing songs, but the band feeds off each other’s creativity searching for new tones and technologies to create new music. They’re patient when it comes to songwriting, letting songs form slowly if needed over weeks, months or even years. It’s this slow burning process which works for them to create their art. HR expand out of the music realm to do all of their own videos, art work, and graphics that fall in line with the vibe of their music. Now the band looks to release new music, including the “Katy’s Bicycle” heard here.

The first single off the upcoming Pizza Dreams EP was recorded in Charleston with drummer Matt Zutell and produced by the band.


After a busy first half of the month in the live entertainment department, shows in Columbia slow down a little in the last half as students start back to school and get accustomed to a new routine. That is until the third annual Freeway Music Festival rolls around on Saturday August 29 featuring over 15 bands performing throughout the day between the Music Farm and Tin Roof. Just think, it was a year ago when Freeway Music Festival offered one of the public’s first glimpses inside Music Farm Columbia, a venue that’s changed the landscape of the music scene in the midlands.

Last year’s festival raised over $7,000 for the Conner Foundation to help children afford to take private lessons. That’s a number that we hope to top this year with an excellent music lineup. Check out some of the artists performing this year.

Villa*Nova (formerly Weaving The Fate)

I know I know, the changing of the names can be confusing, but after the release of their new album Thread of Life you’ll forget all about their old name. Their show Saturday at Freeway Music Festival serves as the official hometown release show of their new album, featuring their signature mix of funk and rock.

Seventy Six and Sunny

Italian Night Club by Seventy Six and Sunny

Looking at the big picture of Columbia’s music scene over the years college rock dominates, never more than in the 90’s though. Seventy Six and Sunny embrace their alt rock influences, with guitar driven rock with plenty of pop melodic influences that make their songs both memorable and easy to sing along with.

Reggie Sullivan Band

Together by Reggie Sullivan Band

You’re not going to find a band around these parts with better musicians than the Reggie Sullivan band. The members are masters of jazz, but this project is their avenue for original music and it’s every bit as good as you’d imagine mixing smooth sounds of rock and soul.

Muscle Memory
2015 SceneSC Sampler by Muscle Memory

Led by music scene veteran David Adedokun who is mostly seen playing singer songwriter gigs, Muscle Memory is Adedokun’s full band project, and one of the catchiest bands in the state. Adedokun and company find a perfect mix of pop music and personal lyrics in a forward thinking style that seems to come naturally to them.


Syr will stand out Saturday on their sound alone, as they’re the only Celtic inspired band on the bill. They’ll have you dancing with their Scotch Irish drinking songs, and Gaelic ballads. What started as a cover band has since turned into a band with the ability to get a crowd roused with a cover, and then do the same with their own song.

Danielle Howle

New Year Revolutions by Danielle Howle + Firework Show

At this time last year Danielle Howle had just won Columbia’s best solo artist according to Free Times. She definitely deserved the award, but it was a little bit funny because the Columbia native now lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Howle has some of the best stories, and the most interesting music career of anyone on the bill, and should be required listening for anyone interested in music in South Carolina. If you’re unfamiliar start with her Wiki page.

Osara by Osara

Columbia used to have much more of a hard rock scene where Osara would fit right in, but now they’re on more of an island when it comes to the genre. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives the young rockers the chance to be leaders, and judging from their latest recordings they have the chops to do it.

Ropeswing Marathon

The young eclectic band from Irmo, Ropeswing Marathon are no strangers to the stage, having played a handful of gigs at New Brookland Tavern and around the state in Charleston and Greenville already. They’re well on their way, and that’s what they’ll be showing Saturday as they continue to find their sound through live shows.


2015 Demos by Discomfort

The heaviest band on the bill Saturday is a self coined “Emotional Hardcore” group from Columbia, mixing elements of punk and hardcore as their songs pound listeners with an onslaught of screams and chugging guitars.

Finnegan Bell

Their winding career has brought them here, to a point where they’ve played the game and are back to the root of writing music as a duo like they did in college in the 90’s. Now located on the South Carolina coast, Finnegan Bell return to where everything started for the duo almost two decades ago.

Prettier Than Matt

Prettier than Matt is made up of the uber talented Jessica Skinner and Jeff Pits. The band blends classic rock sounds with more traditional singer songwriter folk stylingss with an indelible sense for pop melody built into both of them. Together they’ll win you over in a heartbeat live.

David Stringer from SceneSC has been contributing to a column in our newsletter each month. Here is his recent spotlight column about the headliner of the upcoming Freeway Music Festival:

2014 marked a huge anniversary for Ed Roland and his band Collective Soul. It was 20 years ago in June when Atlantic Records band’s booming first single “Shine” that blasted across airwaves all over America, eventually winning the Billboard award for Top Rock Track of 1994. Earlier this year Collective Soul celebrated that anniversary by releasing their 9th studio album, a serious accomplishment and a testament to the bands talent and longevity.

Don’t call it a side project. Stepping away from the heavy guitars of Collective Soul, Roland considers Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project a new band. The similarities of Roland’s style still overlap, with undeniably catchy melodies, The Sweet Project gives Roland the freedom to explore new musical territory surrounded by other talented musicians from the Atlanta area.

Supporting Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project at this year’s Freeway Music Festival are a host of bands that have also seen much success throughout their musical career including Columbia’s own Weaving the Fate and Charleston’s Danielle Howle. The Mobros are returning from a three-month tour that took them all over America playing some of the freshest blues you’ll hear anywhere. Other bands such as Octopus Jones (Raleigh, NC) and Hannah Miller (Nashville, TN) with SC roots have moved on to bigger music markets, but return home for this show. One thing’s for sure, the lineup is bursting at the seams with talented musicians at a festival that celebrates musicianship and positive vibes.

David Stringer – SceneSC

The Freeway Music Festival is right around the corner. Here are some things to be excited about:

The Music Farm

This will be the inaugural show at the brand new music venue in town. We will help unveil this 1200 capacity venue that has been long overdue to Columbia. This is sure to draw a big crowd, as everyone in town will surely want to come check it out.

The Lineup

We have two stages this year with national/regional acts. Sone of freeway Music’s students have the opportunity to participate. We will have our RockBand classes and student bands playing. Also, many of the music instructors’ bands will be be playing.

The Cause

Our main passion at Freeway Music is music education. We want to see our community, music scene, and culture impacted through music and arts. The proceeds go towards funding students to study private music lessons, that normally wouldn’t be able to afford them.

The Sponsors

A lot of great local businesses share the same vision. Archer Avenue Recording Studio and Sims Music are two examples of businesses that are in our same industry that jumped at a chance to be a part of this festival. There are many other great businesses involved too.

In a nut shell, you have great sponsors coming together for one great cause to put on an awesome festival in the heart of the city at a brand new music venue. It’s an exciting time to be in Columbia for the music scene!

Book Your Lessons Now!

or call 844.537.7661