Nashville's Grand Ole Opry donates funds to struggling musicians during COVID pandemic
The music venue anticipates reopening to full crowds later this year
The Grand Ole Opry, a music venue in Nashville, Tennessee, has started a charitable campaign to donate funds to struggling local musicians during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Grand Ole Opry, which has hosted country music for nearly 95 years while hosting 4,918th consecutive Saturday night broadcasts, will launch #UNBROKEN, a charitable campaign to raise money for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The fund benefits artists and musicians impacted by business closures in the city.
Opry fans will have the opportunity to contribute to the fund while watching by television, radio, or digitally.
Each week, the shows air live on Circle Television, Dish Network, Facebook, and YouTube, among other applications and websites.
HOW THE GRAND OLE OPRY KEPT THE CORONAVIRUS FROM BREAKING A 95-YEAR-OLD WINNING STREAK
Every Saturday the Grand Ole Opry would host live country music artists, however, when coronavirus struck, that streak was put into jeopardy.
“It was pretty harrowing”, said Colin Reed, Hospitality chair and CEO of Ryman, the Opry’s parent company. “But, look we didn’t panic as a company and we got through it.”
When the pandemic hit, the Opry took its concert hall digital, hosting talented and famous music celebrities in a virtual concert environment.
“It was extremely odd,” said country music star Craig Morgan. “We’re so used to doing the Opry with a big audience. I don’t remember ever playing the Opry when it wasn’t sold out.”
Thanks to a favorable balance sheet and outside donations, the Opry chose to use its platform and virtual audience to give back to the local community.
The Opry started in late 1925 as a radio program that was broadcast from the Nashville office of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, eventually changing venues as its popularity grew – the Ryman Auditorium perhaps being the most notable location that housed the show, from 1943 to 1974.
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As states begin to loosen coronavirus restrictions, the Opry recently held its first Tuesday night show in over a year.
The Opry anticipates reopening to full crowds, a whopping 4,372 attendees, sometime later this year.
FOX Business' Matthew Kazin contributed to this report.