What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today a live entertainment phenomenon. Dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present, the Grand Ole Opry showcases a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps. The Opry, an American icon and Nashville, Tennessee’s number-one attraction, is world-famous for creating one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences for audiences of all ages.
It’s been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.” Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make pilgrimages across town or around the world to the Grand Ole Opry to see the show live. Millions more tune in to Opry broadcasts via a mobile app, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Nashville’s 650 AM WSM, and on opry.com and wsmonline.com.
From Philadelphia to Fiji, everyone knows the Grand Ole Opry is the show that made country music famous. How it earned that reputation is quite a tale.
It began on the night of Nov. 28, 1925, when an announcer on Nashville radio station WSM introduced fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on a new show called “The WSM Barn Dance.” Now, more than 80 years later, the show Hay started is still going strong. Along the way, it has launched countless country music careers and led the way for Nashville to become Music City.
Early Opry performers such as Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Ernest Tubb, and Bill Monroe became musical foundations for the Opry during its years in residence at the historic Ryman Auditorium, later welcoming to the stage artists who would become entertainment icons in their own right including Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Bill Anderson.
The Opry said goodbye to the Ryman Auditorium on Friday night, March 15, 1974 to take up residence at the newly built Grand Ole Opry House. The next night, President Richard Nixon joined Roy Acuff on stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. Still, they could keep in touch with the traditions of the Ryman because a six-foot circle of hardwood was taken from the Ryman and placed center stage at the Opry House.
Today the magic continues. Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, and Carrie Underwood are among the stars who are part of the Opry family. Thousands of people make pilgrimages every year to see and hear them, while millions tune in to enjoy the Opry via 650 AM WSM, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, syndicated radio, or opry.com.
The Grand Ole Opry is presented at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville for the winter. Unlike a typical concert, the Opry presents eight or more artists on each show, giving the audience a sample of each artist’s musical style. Only the Opry… there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else! Please note that artists and schedule are subject to change without notice.
PLAN A TOUR
There’s nothing like a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry House – it’s a must-see for everyone in Music City! Walk in the footsteps of country music’s superstars and get an exclusive look at what happens behind the scenes of the show that made country music famous!
Your knowledgeable guide will share stories about the Opry and country music greats, past and present (from Minnie Pearl to Carrie Underwood, you might say), show you photos from the Opry’s biggest moments in history and take you to the artist entrance – where legends, new artists, and superstars alike enter the Opry House on the night of an Opry show.
You may even have the chance to step on stage and into the famed wooden circle as decades of artists have done. Tours may also make a stop in Studio A, a live television studio and former home of HEE HAW.
Now you can take the tour right after the world-famous Grand Ole Opry show! After you see the show – see what it’s like behind the scenes! Walk in the footsteps of country music’s superstars and get an exclusive look at what happens on the other side of the curtain of the show that made country music famous – right after the show ends! This tour is available on nights when there is only one Grand Ole Opry show.
You’ll visit the artist entrance where everyone has walked in for the show earlier that night, and you may even have the chance to step on stage and into the famed wooden circle just as a parade of artists have done a few minutes earlier.
You’ll also get a glimpse of some of the Opry’s 18 dressing rooms, each uniquely themed to tell part of the Opry story Darius and Opry announcer Bill Cody will share via videos. Post-show tours often also make a stop in Studio A, a live television studio and former home of HEE HAW. After you take in an Opry performance, let us officially say “Welcome to the Family!”
There is nothing like being backstage during a performance of the Opry. This exclusive tour offers just that – for the first time ever. Be a VIP backstage! Superstar Opry member Garth Brooks has said it best: “No offense at all to the people sitting in the seats, but the real show is backstage. That’s the Opry.”
With the Behind The Opry Curtain VIP Tour, an exclusive group of fans (no more than 10 guests per tour) can for the first time ever experience the Opry as a true backstage VIP. You’ll go behind the scenes in the exciting moments just before show time, learning from your knowledgeable guide and others about the inner workings of the show and watching Opry staffers and artists readying for another great night of music.
Then you’ll be on stage as the big red curtain goes up for the first performance of the show— a moment you’ll never forget! Following your tour, you’ll be personally escorted to your seats in the Opry House to enjoy the rest of the performance with your new-found perspective of what it’s like to be in the middle of it all at country music’s most famous show.
So you’re thinking about a getaway to Nashville? Perfect choice! Whether you’re ready for a family vacation, a music-filled weekend with friends, or the perfect finish line for a great road trip, Music City is for you.
HOW TO GET HERE
Grand ole Opry House [ February – October ]
2804 Opryland Drive
Nashville, TN 37214
Phone: 1-800-733-6779 / (615) 871-6779
Ryman Auditorium [ November – January ]
116 5th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37219