The Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry House have implemented additional security measures to ensure the safety of fans and artists. These measures include walkthrough metal detectors, handheld metal-detecting wands, and enhanced bag checks.
The Grand Ole Opry House began using the metal detectors on Thursday (Aug. 18) for its backstage tours, and the first show to implement the detectors and bag checks will be Friday at the Grand Ole Opry House. Guests will be asked to remove certain metal items from their pockets before entering the walkthrough metal detectors. Individuals who are unable to use the walkthrough detectors will have an option to be screened with a handheld metal-detecting wand.
“Using metal detectors as our screening procedure is something we have been pursuing for nearly a year and it isn’t a reaction to any direct threat to the venues or the performers,” Grand Ole Opry VP and GM Pete Fisher tells MusicRow. “Certainly we have been mindful of the events going on in the world and the unfortunate stories that have come out of Florida and elsewhere. The safety and security of our employees and customers and performers is always top priority so we are constantly evaluating the practices we need to make sure we are aligned to industry standards, but also to the emerging threats that are out there.”
Executives from Ryman Hospitality say they expect screening lines at both venues will move quickly. However, attendees are encouraged to allow extra time for screening prior to daytime tours and nighttime performances at the venues.
Additionally, performers and backstage guests and personnel will be subject to screening when they enter the venue prior to an event. Those who enter backstage will need to show an ID when their name is checked against the list of who is admitted backstage. Everyone will also be credentialed for visual identification.
The new procedures at the Grand Ole Opry House and Ryman Auditorium are similar to standards at larger venues, arenas and stadiums across the country.
“We fully expect this will become standard practice among all entertainment venues,” says Fisher. “We are not introducing any screening measures here that people are not used to when they go to a stadium, arena, or an airport.”
Fisher and Ryman Hospitality executives stress that the security changes will allow guests and artists a safe, enjoyable concert experience, with the intimate artist and fan interactions that country music has historically been known for.
“One of the important qualities of the Grand Ole Opry is accessibility. Country artists have always prided themselves on being accessible and the Grand Ole Opry likes to showcase that accessibility with the unique backstage environment we offer and we don’t want to take that away. We are just putting in prudent measures to make sure everyone is safe and secure and everyone can enjoy that accessibility once they are in the building, as they have for years.”
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