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.