Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour

Last weekend we had the opportunity to take a backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry. This was way more fascinating than any of us expected! Now I wish we’d done it two years ago we saw a show.

The 45-minute tour begins in the Circle Room where a hologram of Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood recaps the 95 year history of the Opry. Up front is a circular piece of the original stage at the Ryman Auditorum. This symbolizes the past, present, and future of country music, as well as a never ending bond. A stirring video played in the background highlighting country music stars old and new. As a longtime fan of Hootie and the Blowfish, I especially enjoyed seeing Darius Rucker featured the moment he was invited to become a member of the Opry.

The tour moved through a storage area, to the Artist’s Entrance, where Tammy Winette’s Rolls Royce greeted us. The Rolls was damaged in the flood 10 years ago, but was subsequently repaired and returned to its place of honor. Also worth noting out here is the little fountain on Star Walk, donated by the family of Minnie Pearl to eternally greet artists as they come to perform.

Back inside, we visited Studio A where episodes of Nashville, CMT Crossroads and the last few seasons of Hee Haw were filmed. (Spoiler alert…I’ve never seen any of these shows.) The space is also used for artist parties and to celebrate Opry Membership Milestones, e.g. Dolly Parton celebrating 50 years a member of the Opry.

Past the security booth where artists check-in, is the post office and wall plaques listing every member of the Opry. If you ever want to write to your favorite artist, mail your letter to the Grand Ole Opry, Attention: {Insert Name Here}, and they will receive it.

Next came the dressing rooms, including #18 for Nashville, Friends of Country #11 (including Steve Martin, Tom Hanks and Brittney Spears), and #1 for Roy Acker who always kept his door open to welcome new artists to help set their minds at ease.

The Green Room, or Family Room is a common area just outside the dressing rooms where artists can gather. It is a long, rectangular room with multiple seating arrangements. Can’t you just imagine your favorite artist hanging out here on a Saturday night?

Finally, the tour moved to the stage. The crew was busy preparing for a {virtual} show that evening, and it was interesting to observe them as they went about their work. For us, this time the view looked out into the audience…all 4400 seats. Another circular piece of the original stage grabs your attention. In the back are pews, also from the Ryman Auditorium, where friends and family of the performing artists are invited to sit. Though we aren’t proper country music fans, the weight of the importance of where we were did not escape us. It was surreal to say the least.

The tour was informative and inspirational, and I’m so glad we did it. Thanks to my Mom’s love of old country music, I impressed the kids with my ability to recognize 80% of the stars pictured on the walls, and in videos. So for a brief moment in time, I was the coolest Mom ever!

You too can enjoy a piece of the Opry, no matter where you are. Tonight, the Grand Ole Opry is live on Circle at 7:00 pm/CT. Let me know what you think!

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