The Grand Ole Opry begins its series of Wednesday night shows this week, which will continue for about a month. This week's Wednesday Night Opry will feature Vince Gill, who will get the last segment to himself. The Wednesday night show appears to be structured the same way as the Tuesday Night Opry, as far as four, half-hour segments. And speaking of the Tuesday Night Opry, they have changed the format a bit for this weeks show as they are going with 2, hour long segments. I don't know if that is a permanent change or not.
I have received a few questions asking my thoughts regarding the Opry adding a Wednesday night show. I really don't have much of an issue with it as this is something the Opry has done before. If you remember, and for those who are to young to remember, when Opryland opened and was going strong, the Opry was having matinee shows most of the days of the week. I found some old schedules, and in the spring of 1974, right after the Opry moved to Opryland, there was 1 show on Friday night, a Saturday matinee, 2 Saturday night shows and a Sunday Grand Ole Gospel show.
By the spring of 1976, there was a Friday matinee, a Friday night show, a Saturday matinee, 2 Saturday night shows and a Sunday matinee. By 1978, in addition to the shows listed for 1976, the Opry was up to 2 shows on Friday night, for a total of 7 shows. And I know that they were also running a matinee or two during the week. By the 1980s, the Friday matinee was dropped and the Sunday show was only run during the peak season. So really, the Opry having multiple shows during the week is really nothing new.
I often worried that having more week night shows would take away from the Friday and Saturday night shows, which were considered the "big" shows during the week. At this point, and the way the Opry is being run today, it doesn't seem to matter. While Saturday will always be the night most associated with the Opry, I see nothing wrong with promoting the Opry brand through other shows. And it gives those missing Opry members, or those who tour on the weekends, more opportunity to appear at the Opry. And many of the Opry's members seem to be taking advantage of those chances. In the coming weeks, the Tuesday and Wednesday shows will feature Opry members Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, Marty Stuart and Lorrie Morgan. As long as they don't forget about the weekend shows, I am fine with it.
It has also been noticed that Opry seems to have lost a couple of their sponsors in recent weeks. Bass Pro Shops appears to be gone, while Cracker Barrel has been missing from the Friday Night Opry. Currently the Opry is using the Country Music Hall of Fame as a sponsor on Friday night, which brings them back as sponsors, and Opry Backstage Grill, which is owned and operated by Gaylord. It will be interesting to see what the Opry does for sponsorship in the coming months. Could Marriott be coming aboard, now that they are operating the Gaylord hotel properties? Or possibly a former sponsor such as Martha White or Coke? Or maybe someone like Southwest Airlines, who does a lot of cross-promotion with the Opry.
Tuesday Night Opry, June 17:
7:00: Oak Ridge Boys; Lee Brice; Jimmy Dickens
8:15: Brantley Gilbert; Kevin Costner & Modern West; Lily Costner; Charlie Daniels Band
Wednesday June 18:
7:00: John Conlee; Dustin Lynch
7:30: The Whites; Mark Wills
8:15: Bill Anderson; Point of Grace
8:45: Vince Gill