Grand Ole Opry to welcome back in-venue audiences with Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark and Lorrie Morgan in concert
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Grand Ole Opry will welcome back a limited in-venue audience beginning Saturday as a kick-off of the Opry’s 95th anniversary celebration.
Opry members Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark, Lorrie Morgan and Oklahoma native Vince Gill are scheduled to perform Saturday.
Bentley, who is celebrating his 15th Opry anniversary, was inducted into the Opry family on Oct. 1, 2005.
The in-venue audience will be capped at 500 guests for Saturday's show. The limited audience will be made up of fans who had previously held tickets for each night’s show, according to a news release.
“With gratitude to the artists who have visited the Opry since March, staff members and partners who have ensured the Opry went on every Saturday, and a worldwide audience for tuning in over the past six months, we are so excited as we plan to welcome fans back to the Opry House,” said Dan Rogers, Opry vice president and executive producer, in a statement. “So many loyal fans make plans early to be a part of our birthday weekend every year, and I am especially excited that many of those devoted familiar faces will be in the first in-house audience since late last winter. Of course we will only be truly happy when we can return to capacity audiences and full Opry shows that are known around the world.”
Many Opry members and special guests have stepped in to the circle to help the keep the music playing at the Grand Ole Opry since the in-house audience shows were paused on March 14. Those with Oklahoma ties include Gill, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton with Gwen Stefani.
The Grand Ole Opry will strictly comply with operating plans developed in partnership with the Nashville Public Health Department and Vanderbilt Health that include socially distanced seating, mandatory masks for all guests and staff, as well as enhanced cleaning practices, according to the news release.
Operating plans include:
• Exclusive to 500 ticketed guests
• Physically distanced seating, allowing those in the same group to sit together but distanced from others
• Mandatory masks for all guests, Opry House operations and production staff
• Designated restrooms, entry and exit points
• No food or beverage service
• Temperature checks for all staff
• Enhanced cleaning practices
As the Opry continues its month-long 95th anniversary celebration with a maximum of 500 fans allowed to be live in the Opry House, the show will continue its one-hour livestream on Circle All Access YouTube, Twitter and Facebook channels as well as Circle TV , SiriusXM, and the Opry’s flagship home 650 WSM AM and wsmonline.com, allowing fans from around the world to enjoy the high-quality performances from home.
Information regarding ticket availability for October shows will be updated at opry.com. More details on other Opry 95th Anniversary Celebration shows and digital events happening throughout the month of October will be announced soon.
Those tuning into the Livestream on Circle All Access YouTube, Twitter and Facebook channels Saturday can watch a "Circle Sessions: Lauren Alaina" at 6:30 p.m. immediately prior to the Opry. Alaina talks to host Nan Kelley about her new EP, "Getting Over Him," her love of the Grand Ole Opry and the connection she has with her dad and the Opry. The platinum-selling star also talks about her role as host of the upcoming Circle TV series "Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith," launching Sunday.
As the Grand Ole Opry approaches its 95th anniversary in the midst of a global pandemic, Opry members and special guest artists kept the music playing from the unbroken circle, and the Opry began reaching some of its largest audiences to date. The Opry has logged viewers from more than 100 countries worldwide since shows with a live Opry House audience were paused in mid-March.
The Opry live-stream has consistently been in the top of the Pollstar Livestream Chart with an average of more than 1 million viewers each week, and Circle TV’s distribution has grown steadily over the course of the past 29 weeks as well, according to the news release.
In an effort to maintain health and safety amid current COVID-19 concerns, the Opry, the world’s longest-running radio show, was forced to pause performances that included a live audience beginning on March 14. The show will have played on without a live ticketed audience for 29 consecutive Saturday night broadcasts before finally welcoming them back. The Opry’s paused shows without an audience have included Opry members Trace Adkins, Bill Anderson, Kelsea Ballerini, Clint Black, Terri Clark, Luke Combs, Dailey & Vincent, the Gatlin Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Dustin Lynch, Chris Janson, Craig Morgan, the Oak Ridge Boys, Old Crow Medicine Show, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, Keith Urban, Steve Wariner, Mark Wills and Chris Young along with special guests Lady A, Lauren Alaina, Jimmie Allen, Mandy Barnett, Lee Brice, T. Graham Brown, Luke Bryan, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Jason Crabb, Rodney Crowell, Sara Evans, Amy Grant and daughters Jenny Gill and Corrina Grant Gill, Riley Green, Tracy Lawrence, Ashley McBryde, Chrissy Metz, Keb’ Mo’, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, Margo Price, Kellie Pickler, Michael Ray, Runaway June, Billy Strings, The Scott Family, Tenille Townes, Molly Tuttle, Sam Williams, CeCe Winans, Charlie Worsham, and Brett Young.