Flooding in Nashville has forced the legendary Grand Ole Opry to relocate this week's performances to other Nashville venues for the first time since 1975, according to a statement on the Opry website. Photos posted on the site show the extent of the damage to the historic venue, where waters reach higher than the doorknob of the stage door. Despite the crippling weather and floods that have affected much of the Southeast, Opry officials decided the show must go on at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and War Memorial Auditorium.
"While we ourselves are shaken by the impact of the flooding of the Opry House and throughout the area, it is important that Nashville's most treasured tradition continues with this week's shows," Grand Ole Opry Vice President Pete Fisher said. "We look forward to coming together both as the Opry family and as a great American city just as we have every week for nearly 85 years. Our hearts go out to all of those affected in the Middle Tennessee area." The Grand Ole Opry has been featuring country music's biggest stars and rising talent in a weekly radio broadcast since 1925.
Just a year after the Grand Ole Opry House opened in 1974 in eastern downtown Nashville, the venue had to move performances to the nearby Nashville Municipal Auditorium also due to floodwaters from the Cumberland River. According to CNN, the flooding and massive thunderstorms in the Southeast have already caused 27 deaths in the area, including 10 fatalities in Nashville. Parts of the region received 16 inches of rain over the course of 48 hours, more than triple the five inches of rain the region gets on average during the entire month of May. Other notable Nashville musical landmarks affected by the flooding include the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.