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Grand Ole Opry GM Sally Williams join LN Nashville

Live Nation has appointed Sally Williams, a veteran of the Nashville music scene, president of Nashville music and strategy.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Williams will report to Live Nation’s president of US concerts, Bob Roux, and oversee the company’s overall business strategy in the city, regarded as the home of country music.

According to a Live Nation statement, Williams will, from September, “lead the company’s overall efforts in the programming and marketing of Live Nation’s concert activity in the greater Nashville market, and collaborate with Nashville-based artists to develop and execute their vision on a worldwide basis.”

Williams will also oversee operations of Live Nation’s existing portfolio of Nashville venues, including Ascend Amphitheater (6,800-cap.), Graystone Quarry (7,500-cap.) and the under-development Brooklyn Bowl, while also leading efforts in the development of new venues.

She joins after nearly 20 years at Ryman Hospitality Properties/Opry Entertainment Group, where she was most recently senior vice-president of programming and artist relations, as well as general manager of the legendary Grand Ole Opry.

“Sally is a Nashville music industry icon, and the perfect executive to oversee Live Nation’s growing footprint”

She has also served as chairman of the Country Music Association (CMA), president of Leadership Music and president of the Opry Trust Fund, and currently sits as co-chair of the Music City Music Council and marketing chair for the CMA board of directors.

“Sally is a Nashville music industry icon, and the perfect executive to oversee Live Nation’s growing footprint in Nashville,” says Roux. “She’s spent decades contributing to the success of Nashville artists, venues, and events, and certainly the community itself, and we’re extremely fortunate to have someone with her industry knowledge and dedication to live music join our company.”

“For decades, Nashville has not only been my home, but also my passion,” said Williams. “It’s been a privilege to be in the middle of such incredible growth and I’m excited about what’s on the horizon.

“Live Nation has built a strong business here and has a terrific team in place. It will be an honour to collaborate with them to create world-class experiences for fans and artists here in Nashville and beyond.”

 


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Grand Ole Opry heads to New York

The Grand Ole Opry, the long-running Nashville country-music radio show and music venue, is heading north with a new venue and restaurant in Times Square, New York.

The new venue, dubbed the Opry City Stage, will be operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties, which owns the Opry House and Ryman Auditorium, both in Nashville (the radio show takes place at the Opry from February to October and the 2,362-cap. Ryman during the winter). Opening in April 2017, it will include an event space, a listening room, a bar/restaurant and retail shops.

“Times Square happens to be the place where between 40 and 50 million tourists go through that market. So we thought we’d start [there]”

Opry chairman and CEO Colin Reed says he hopes to eventually expand the brand to other cities in the US. “There are about 100 million consumers who love country music all across the country,” he tells the Associated Press. “Times Square happens to be the place where between 40 and 50 million tourists go through that market. So we thought we’d start in a place as big and dominant as Times Square.”

The Opry, dubbed the ‘show that made country music famous’, has run since 1925 and hosted performances by Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and, controversially, Elvis Presley and Gram Parsons-era The Byrds.

 


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