Grand Ole Opry officials today announced that the show, displaced from its permanent home due to May's historic Nashville flood, will return to the Grand Ole Opry House with a star-packed show Tues., Sept. 28. Among the artists scheduled for the show are Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels Band, Diamond Rio, Jimmy Dickens, Del McCoury Band, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Mel Tillis, and Josh Turner. The show will air live on GAC: Great American Country. Special events and artist appearances will follow throughout October in celebration of both the show's return and its 85th Birthday.
The announcement came just before the Opry House's signature element, a six-foot circle of oak wood taken from the historic Ryman Auditorium when the show moved to the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974, was returned this morning to its home center stage at the Opry House. The circle, along with the full Opry stage, had been covered by 46 inches of water during May's flood. Rescued immediately after waters receded from the Opry House, the circle has been painstakingly refurbished. The country music treasure was placed in its rightful spot with assistance from Dickens and Paisley. The two Opry members then took to the circle behind an Opry microphone stand for an acoustic performance of the country classic "Will the Circle be Unbroken."
"It is the best feeling in the world to see our beloved circle back home," said Grand Ole Opry Group President Steve Buchanan. "We can not wait for the curtain to go up as we launch a new chapter in the Opry's history on September 28, just in time to celebrate our 85th birthday. There is no doubt the next two months are going to be some of the most memorable and emotional ever for our performers and fans."
"It is as it should be," said Paisley. "That circle means the world to all of us who love country music. I've always said that the circle still contains the dust from Hank Williams' cowboy boots. Well now it contains that dust, but also the heart and soul of this town and all the people who have worked to rise above this spring's floods. I know I speak for all my fellow Opry members when I say, 'we are so excited to come home!'"
The Opry has not missed a single show since the flood, broadcasting from several Nashville venues including former Opry homes the Ryman Auditorium and the War Memorial Auditorium.
In addition to its Sept. 28 return to the Opry House, plans were announced for the celebration to continue with October shows and special events surrounding the show's 85th Birthday. Among the highlights:
Spirit of Nashville Day Oct. 2:
The Opry will celebrate Nashville's spirit and resilience since the flood by inviting its hometown to get an up-close look at the newly renovated Opry House during a full day of free tours five months to the day following the flood. There will be much to see, including a new artist entrance area, 18 uniquely-themed dressing rooms, and more, including the famed circle of wood center stage. The Nashville celebration will spill into the Opry Plaza with free music throughout the day, including a performance by hit-making new group The Band Perry.
85th Birthday Bash Oct. 8 and 9:
Three weekend shows, backstage tours, an afternoon salute to country comedy show featuring Mike Snider with T. Bubba Bechtol, and all-day fun in the Opry Plaza including a free Opry Plaza Party.
Opry Goes Pink Oct. 15:
Country Music's legendary duo, The Judds, will take the stage to "flip the switch," turning the Opry's signature barn backdrop pink in support of breast cancer awareness month. The 2nd Annual "Opry Goes Pink" event benefits Women Rock For The Cure(TM) and the Greater Nashville affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R). Fans are encouraged to mention the code OPRYPINK when purchasing their tickets, as $5 from the sale of each ticket will be donated to these non-profit organizations that have joined the fight against breast cancer.
Be Our Guest:
The Opry has for years welcomed famous fans from all walks of life to its stage, including every U.S. President from Richard Nixon through George W. Bush. In celebration of the Opry's 85th, celebrities will appear as guest announcers while the show will also launch an "I'm With The Band" series, featuring personalities from outside the country world who have an interest in music to sit in with the Opry band for a song on country music's most revered stage. Among those scheduled to visit are Oscar-winner Kevin Costner and actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley.