Ryman Auditorium To Undergo $14 Million Expansion and Renovations

Renderings of proposed expansion

Rendering of proposed expansion

The Ryman Auditorium is set to undergo a $14 million expansion that will add a cafe, multi-media tour, new event facility, as well as renovations for the box office, restrooms, concessions, lobby and merchandising areas, it was revealed during a press conference this morning. The actual music venue will not be affected.

The expansion, which will happen on the 4th Ave. N. side of the building, will add a brick and glass structure that extends from the building to 4th Ave. The company hopes to launch renovations later this summer, with a July 2015 completion date.

“We are making this investment now so that the Ryman Auditorium is better equipped to accommodate the current and future demand we are seeing from both a tourism and concert attendance perspective,” Ryman Hospitality CEO and President Colin Reed said.

Ryman General Manager Sally Williams said, “Just as Steve Buchanan and the company’s management team did in 1994 with the original Ryman Auditorium expansion and reopening, we are thoughtfully planning for the future of one of the most historic and revered places to hear and perform live music. The enhancements will dramatically improve the pre-and post-show experience and allow visitors to share in our 122-year history in ways that are not possible within our current space. With no renovations taking place in the historic auditorium, we expect little to no disruption in our operations throughout the construction phase, which we anticipate will be complete in time to welcome our guests during next year’s CMA Music Festival.”

Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart were in attendance. “The Ryman has always been in the best hands since this company has taken over its operation,” said Gill. “This is an important renovation, but the heart this company has shown for the Ryman’s preservation is even more special.”

The multi-media tour aligns with the company’s plan to capitalize on the more than 2,500 hours of footage from Grand Ole Opry performances and episodes of the television show Hee Haw that Ryman Hospitality owns.

The Ryman Auditorium was built in 1892, and was originally a Union Gospel Tabernacle church. The building was used for Grand Ole Opry broadcasts from 1943 until 1974, when the Opry moved to its current home at the Grand Ole Opry House.

After the Opry moved to its new home, the Ryman was nearly torn down, and remained vacant and in disrepair for 20 years. In 1994, the Ryman was restored to a national showplace for various styles of music. It is regarded as the “Mother Church of Country Music.”

 

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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