Though live events are being postponed across the country as the novel coronavirus continues to spread, the Grand Ole Opry plans to go forward with live performances during its Saturday night Opry shows—albeit without a live audience. This change includes the Saturday night show slated for tonight (March 14). Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Opry shows have been paused through April 4.
The Saturday night shows, with no audience, will essentially revert to the same live radio show format that first launched the Opry on Nov. 28, 1925, broadcasting on WSM (its call letters being an acronym for “We Shield Millions,” the slogan for National Life and Accident Insurance Company). The Opry’s Saturday night shows will revert to that format for the coming weeks, as fans can continue to tune in to the Saturday night broadcasts at opry.com, wsmonline.com, and at 650 AM-WSM.
It is widely believed the Opry has canceled its Saturday night show only once in its 94-year history, on April 6, 1968 when the city of Nashville imposed a curfew following the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., forcing the cancelation of the Opry show. That evening marked the Opry’s only broadcast in its history that consisted of a previously-taped performance, as Roy Acuff and other performers performed the show that afternoon at a nearby square-dance hall.
“Throughout the Opry’s history, various events have led Opry management to make difficult decisions about how to alter the show’s format,” a statement said. “The Opry’s first priority has always been the safety of our employees, guests and artists who have been key in keeping the show that made country music famous on the air every week for over 94 years.”
Meanwhile, the Ryman Auditorium has announced it will postpone all nighttime events through April 4. Daytime tours will remain open.
“Ryman Auditorium is a testament to all the ways music can connect people to one another and we have always held our patrons as a top priority by ensuring the well-being of every guest who sits in our pews, every artist who performs on the iconic stage and all of our employees who work every day to preserve its legacy,” leaders of the Ryman Auditorium said via a statement.
- CMA Honors Robert Deaton With Chairman’s Award - December 4, 2020
- Nashville Symphony, Nashville Musicians Association Reach Agreement - December 4, 2020
- Zach Williams’ “Chain Breaker” Is Most-Added On ‘MusicRow’ CountryBreakout Radio Chart - December 4, 2020