Monday, May 3, 2010

Flooding forces Opry move

Due to heavy flooding in Nashville, including the Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Complex, this week's Grand Ole Opry performances have been moved from the Grand Ole Opry House to other Nashville venues.

The Tuesday Night Opry performance scheduled for May 4 will take place at the War Memorial Auditorium, 301 6th Ave. North, Nashville. Weekend performances will move to the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Thursday's performance of Opry Country Classics will remain at the Ryman as previously scheduled. Show times for all shows will remain at 7 p.m. Both the War Memorial and the Ryman are former homes of the Opry.

The Opry House suffered damage as a result of the record-breaking rain and subsequent flooding in Nashville The last time the Opry had to relocate was in 1975 to Nashville's Municipal Auditorium, just one year after the opening of the Grand Ole Opry House. That move was also caused by Cumberland River flooding.

"While we ourselves are shaken by the impact of the flooding of the Opry House and throughout the area, it is important that Nashville's most treasured tradition continues with this week's shows," said Grand Ole Opry Vice President Pete Fisher. "We look forward to coming together both as the Opry family and as a great American city just as we have every week for nearly 85 years. Our hearts go out to all of those affected in the Middle Tennessee area."

The Opry Call Center is temporarily out of service, and other operations on the Opry Entertainment Complex including Opry backstage tours and the Grand Ole Opry Museum, have been temporarily suspended. It is too early to determine how long Opry operations will be impacted at this time.
(From the Grand Ole Opry).

I think that this could be an issue that will affect the Opry for a while. With the water as high as it appears to be in the Opry House, it will take it a while to go down (the water is still rising), and then the clean-up and repair. You are probably talking about replacing carpeting, wood and tile floods, possibly electrical damage and equipment damage. I know that there was lots of historical items backstage, especially in Marty Stuart's dressing room, so hopefully they got those items moved out to higher parts of the Opry House.

I am somewhat curious why the Tuesday Night Opry is not at the Ryman Auditorium, as that facility and the area around it, north of Broadway, appear ok, as we all know that the Ryman is up the hill from the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is underwater. I checked the Ryman website, and the Goo Goo Dolls concert that was scheduled for Sunday night is still listed as rescheduled for tonight(Monday), and nothing else is listed on the Ryman schedule for this week.

Next weekend could be an issue if the Opry House is still unavailable, as there are events scheduled at the Ryman the weekend of the 14th, both Friday and Saturday night. There is also a concert by Dierks Bentley scheduled for the following weekend.

Either way, with the phones out, I am sure it will be an interesting week at the War Memorial on Tuesday and the Ryman on Friday and Saturday, as they try to handle the ticket situation. Best of luck to them.


  1. Somebody's phone must be working because Lorrie Morgan has cancelled her appearance on the Tuesday Night Opry. Considering she was the headliner and the biggest name on the schedule, I am sure the Opry will make an effort to replace her.

    I am sure it is possible that there could be other changes in the line-ups for this week.

  2. You would think the Opry House would be out of commission for a while, past this weekend. You have to give Pete Fisher/Opry credit for getting news releases out, the website updated and going on with the shows especially on Tuesday and Thursday. I thought they might cancel those two shows and prepare for going live this weekend, especially to keep the traditional Saturday show streak going. That will take some work/logistics I would think to make the show at the War Memorial happen by tomorrow night.

  3. Since they can't really get to the Opry House, I would guess that they would move the backdrop that is at the Ryman Auditorium over and probably some sound equipment from there.

    I would guess that the Opry will carry on. There are enough venues in Nashville to have the show--there is always the Arena and the Auditorium, War Memorial and Belmont College if they needed a place.

    (Of course, Alan Jackson's house is big enough to hold the Opry!!!)...Sorry, just some humor on my part.

  4. And, yes, I give credit to Pete Fisher. I think he and the staff are handling this as well as could be expected. I do hope that on Sunday someone realized what was beginning to happen, and they were able to get the historical items out of the Opry House and the Museum.

    It would be so sad to lose those original musical instruments and the donated items from the artists that are deceased.

    Of course, most of the thoughts and prayers go to those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

  5. There are current interior pictures of the War Memorial Auditorium at

    It holds 1661 in the config the Opry would use.

  6. I read that Marty Stuart was added to the Tuesday lineup. I had the feeling he would want to show solidarity, not to mention that the War Memorial is where the Opry was BEFORE the Ryman, and to play there would mean a lot to him.

    When they unveiled the new symphony concert hall in Nashville, Marty said that it was almost as big as Earl Scruggs's living room ... so we may need to move over there!

  7. Thanks Michael, you beat me to it!!!! Marty Stuart has replaced Lorrie Morgan tonight. Lorrie cancelled because of issues with the flood. Perhaps her home or neighborhood was affected.

    As far as the rest of the Opry area, they are reporting that the Minnie Pearl building is flooded over the doors and that the Gaslight Theater is underwater.

    I am also hearing again, that the Opry Museum might be a total lost. They were able to move just a few limited items up to the catwalks of the buiding, but that was it. If they did move items, let's hope that it was some of the Roy Acuff instruments that were originals and some of the donated items from deceased Opry stars, such as stage outfits and personal items.

    I also know that they had some items in storage, but I don't know where those items were kept. Probably somewhere in the building.

  8. Since I'm in the history biz, I can tell you, if they hadn't protected that material, there are no words to describe what should be done to the people responsible.

  9. This article has a photo of the flooding inside the Opry House. It's worse than I had imagined...and I wasn't imagining anything pretty.

  10. Thanks Barry. They have the same photo on the Opry's Facebook page. Also, they posted a notice on their Facebook page that all future Opry shows will be at the Ryman Auditorium until further notice.

  11. Barry, you are so right. It is worst than I imagined also. Looking at the photo, it looks like they didn't even have time to pull the backdrop up. I have seen some of the aerial shots of the area, and it just looks terrible.