Do you still recall when the Grand Ole Opry had to forcefully close due to a natural disaster?
It was around May 1 and 2, 2010, when an outpour of over 13 inches of rainfall flooded the quiet streets of Music City. With the relentless and heavy rainfall, bodies of water close to the area, such as the Cumberland River, overflowed and wreaked havoc on the neighborhood. It caused massive flooding, and the Grand Ole Opry was not saved from the devastation. The strong flowing waters left the Grand Ole Opry, along with the Opryland Hotel in a fiasco. The hotel had to evacuate around 1,500 guests that day. Around 26 people died, 10,000 were displaced from their residences, and an estimated total of $2 million in private property damage was left by the 2010 Nashville flood.
On the other hand, the Grand Ole Opry had to be closed for repairs for five months. It was submerged in under 2 feet of water and suffered massive loss for some its most valuable items, like memorabilia and vintage guitars.
During that time, they still had to maintain schedules for upcoming performances. To ensure that no shows were delayed or canceled, they had to relocate performances to several areas, including the Nashville War Memorial Auditorium, the Ryman Auditorium, Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena, and the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
Pete Fisher, the then-Vice President of the Grand Ole Opry, spoke about the devastation,
“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. Our hearts go out to all of those affected in the Middle Tennessee area.”
Fisher added that just like before, they are still looking forward to “coming together both as the Opry family and as a great American city” for the last 85 years.
Thankfully, the stage’s wooden circle was unharmed and it remained intact. The discovery led the members to feel elated and relieved. They even had it sequestered for special attention. Ultimately, however, they had to replace the stage—something that was not much of a big deal since it was something they’ve always done on a yearly basis.
Over $20 million was spent on the Grand Ole Opry’s restoration, and exactly 7 years ago on September 28, 2010, it was finally re-opened. Several Opry members and country artists, including Little Jimmy Dickens, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Bill Anderson, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry, Ricky Skaggs, and Mel Tillis, came together to commemorate the event.
“It is very touching for me to see what all they have done out here. I really look forward to coming to the Opry each week, not just to perform but to see and visit with my friends”, Little Jimmy Dickens happily expressed.
With the immense devastation that the Grand Ole Opry had to go through, it still served as a good model of resilience and positivity to all its members and solid supporters.