Nashville, also known as Music City, was put on the map by the Grand Ole Opry. More than 90 years ago, a new radio program, “The WSM Barn Dance”, premiered with fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer, on WSM 650 AM. The show and the radio station paved the way for Nashville. Musical acts and artists traveled to the city in hopes of performing on the show which became the Grand Ole Opry. You can still tune in and hear the Grand Ole Opry three times a week, but the best way to experience the show that made country music famous is by attending a live broadcast, which happens several times a week.
Grand Ole Opry Performances
You never know who you may see perform at the Opry. It is not your typical concert. Each show has multiple artists perform including current Opry members (there are 63 at the moment) as well as invited guests. Find the schedule and purchase tickets here.
We took the VIP tour and the post show tour so we could share our experiences, but there is quite a bit of overlap, so you don't have to do both. Rachel and her kids took the daytime tour and you can read more here about her adventures and experiences.
Wonder what it is like to be behind the curtain during a concert? Then the VIP tour is for you! You get to watch and experience all that goes into producing the most famous country music show in the world. Your guide will take you in a small group to see the dressing rooms, the area where the Opry musicians prepare, and you may even meet some of the artists. After our behind the scenes tour, we were able to watch the show from behind the curtains on the stage, and see the audience from the same perspective that the performers see. It makes the experience even more magical!
This tour is shorter than the post show tour or the daytime tour, and we did not see all the areas backstage, but it was worth it to see my daugher meet Thompson Square after watching them perform. She was able to say hello, ask questions, and take a few photos with the country duo. If you have an aspiring singer or musician in your house, the VIP tour would be a huge treat and allow your son or daughter the chance to see what it is really like to perform on one of the most famous stages in the world.
Post Show Tour
The post show tour of the Grand Ole Opry begins right after the evening performance ends, which was about 9:30 PM the night we attended. If you have young children that are not used to staying up late, I would recommend taking the daytime tour and then staying to see a show instead.
The guides on the Post Show tour had a wealth of history and anecdotes to share as you walk through the hallways backstage. Our tour group were able to go inside several of the dressing rooms and see the family room, where the performers like to gather to visit. You can also see the line on the wall where the water from the 2010 flood left it's mark.
After you leave the dressing room area, your tour will move on to Studio A, the sound stage where Hee Haw was filmed, among other shows. There are several short videos throughout the tour that share the thoughts and stories of the Opry members. We learned history from Bill Cody, and Darius Rucker served as our virtual tour guide.
Did you know that you can send mail to your favorite Opry performer directly through the Grand Ole Opry? Each Opry member has their own mailbox and personally picks up their mail when they are in town. All you have to do is address your letter to the performer in care of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, TN, and they will get your message directly.
At the end of the tour, everyone gets to walk across the stage and stand in the circle of flooring that was part of the original stage at the Ryman where the WSM Barn Dance radio show began.
If You Go….
Tickets: Show tickets: $43 – 95, Tours: $21 – $150 depending on the tour
Show times and tour times vary – find the current times HERE