December 13, 2016
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This year the Grand Ole Opry celebrates 90 years of great country music. What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today a live entertainment phenomenon. Considered the nirvana of every country musician, this stage is an American icon and Nashville’s number one attraction.
Australia’s contribution to the Opry’s history comes in the form of Australian musician Keith Urban who, in 2012, became the first Opry member born outside of North America. Being made a member of the Grand Ole Opry is to be identified as a member of the country music elite and a crowning achievement. Artists offered membership are expected to show a dedication to the Opry with frequent attendance.
The Opry started as a one-hour radio show and in the 1930’s the show began hiring professionals and expanded to four hours, making it a Saturday night musical tradition. The success of the Ole Opry only grew from there. Now with no less than eight feature acts and over 50 musicians on any one show, the possibilities for artists joining forces on a song — either planned or spontaneous – are endless. Approximately 6,024 songs are performed during Opry shows each year!
With technological advancements, the show continues to grow and you can now stream it live on internet radio, tune in remotely via satellite radio or listen as a local.
Within the Opry House complex, 15.8 million feet (approximately 4.8km) of audio, video, and lighting cable help take country music to the world. Think you’re a country music fan? The Opry’s most loyal fan is Paul Eckhart who bought a ticket for and attended an Opry performance for 2,184 straight weeks from 1972 until 2014. Yes, 2,184. Uninterrupted!
Country music fans probably don’t need to be told twice that this stage has seen many legends both past and present and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss when you come to Nashville.
Even if you’re not a huge country music fan the Opry, hailed as “home of American music”, still draws many a crowd with soul, pop, classic and comedy performances regularly gracing the stage as well. Among the famous faces who’ve played the Opry but aren’t primarily known as country music artists include President Richard Nixon, Kevin Costner, Jack Black, Kevin Bacon and Kenny Loggins just to name a few.
So for fans or avid travellers the Ole Opry is a must-see for the history, music and culture of America and certainly a place all visitors will remember.
Hot Tip! Look out for the six-foot circle of hardwood taken from the Ryman and placed centre stage at the Opry house.
Evergreen guests enjoy this special “You’re Invited” experience and much more on the fantastic 21 Day Complete Eastern USA tour, or combinations which include this tour.