Ryman General Manager, Sally Williams, named Facility Executive of the Year
NASHVILLE, TN (February 26, 2014) - The historic Ryman Auditorium was named Theatre of the Year Friday night in Nashville at the twenty-fifth annual Pollstar Awards. The award was voted on by industry peers and is widely regarded as the most prestigious in the concert industry. The Ryman was nominated along with five other theatres: Beacon Theatre New York City (cap. 2,829), Chicago Theatre Chicago (cap. 3604), The Wiltern Los Angeles (cap. 2300), Nokia Theatre L.A. Live Los Angeles (cap. 7100) and Radio City Music Hall New York City (cap. 6013). The Ryman has a seating capacity of 2,362.
This win marks the fourth year in a row that Nashville's iconic venue has been named Theatre of the Year by Pollstar Magazine. Since its 1994 renovation, the venue has won the award a total of six times. The Ryman recently was ranked seventeenth domestically by Pollstar for ticket sales in the Theatre category for the year-ending 2013.
"The Ryman team is grateful for and humbled by this recognition," said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. "We have such incredible partners in this industry: promoters, agents, managers and, of course, the artists who grace our stage. Alongside these partners we strive to create experiences that fans will remember for a lifetime." 
Williams also was named Facility Executive of the Year during the ceremony. Under Williams leadership, the Ryman has been awarded SRO Venue of the Year Presented by CMA in 2013 and 2012, Pollstar Magazine's 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 Venue of the Year, the Academy of Country Music's 2012, 2010 and 2008 Venue of the Year and the International Entertainment Buyers Association's 2009 Venue of the Year. Williams is the President of Leadership Music and the Chairperson for the Hospitality Committee of the Music City Music Council. She serves on the boards of directors for the Country Music Association, the International Entertainment Buyers Association, the Nashville Downtown Partnership and the Opry Trust Fund.
"Once again, this emphasizes that the Ryman Auditorium and its management team are second to no one in the concert industry," said Steve Buchanan President, Opry Entertainment Group. "Sally and her team are dedicated to providing a world class experience for artists, their representatives and their fans. And, we are proud that Sally's peers have appropriately acknowledged her exceptional passion and commitment. "
2013 highlights included sold-out triple-plays with Dave Chappelle and The Lumineers, two night stands with Alabama, Amos Lee, Andrew Peterson, Band of Horses, Black Crowes, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Dwight Yoakam, Gary Allan, Hunter Hayes, John Prine and Old Crow Medicine Show. Band of Horses recorded their performance and released "Band of Horses: Acoustic at the Ryman" on 180 gram vinyl February 11, 2014. The band will return for a special acoustic concert celebrating its release on March 5. The venue also was seen on TV screens across the country last year on ABC's hit show "Nashville," "Austin City Limits Presents Americana Music Festival," and the PBS series "Sing For Your Supper."
In late 2013, the Ryman also launched "Backstage at the Ryman" presented by Nissan. The monthly web series features interviews with artists appearing on Nashville's most iconic stage. Current episodes include Old Crow Medicine Show, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Kenny Rogers and Dawes. The videos can be seen on the Ryman's YouTube channel. Fans will see their favorite artists sharing stories and emotions about playing the Ryman, Nashville and anything else they want to talk about while the camera is rolling. Performing on the historic stage is a unique experience for artists, many of whom have their own memories as fans seated in the pews themselves. "It's not when you go to Nashville you have to play the Ryman, it's when you go to America you have got to play the Ryman," said Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. "It's kind of a touchstone for all the artists that stand on that stage."
The historic venue has already kicked-off the New Year in a big way announcing the launch of the Year of Tickets sweepstakes with partner SunTrust Bank. A Facebook exclusive, fans of the venue can enter to win a Year of Tickets to Ryman concerts by liking the Ryman and Suntrust Bank pages and completing a simple online entry form. Fans then can share their entry with a custom code via Facebook and Twitter. For each completed referral entry, fans receive an additional entry towards the enormous prize. The sweepstakes runs through March 12, 2014 and can be accessed here.
Upcoming shows at the Ryman include: Band of Horses March 5, Emblem3 March 7, Young The Giant March 11, The Sing-Off March 12, Widespread Panic March 13 & 14, Bob Weir & RatDog March 15, The Moody Blues March 20, Crosby, Stills & Nash March 21, Pentatonix March 22, Gavin DeGraw March 26, Gabriel Iglesias March 28, Amy Schumer March 30, Jammin' to Beat the Blues featuring Vince Gill & Friends April 1, Weezer April 5 & 6, Mandisa & Brandon Heath April 13, Nickel Creek April 18 & 19, Rob Thomas April 22, Santana April 23, Foster the People April 25, Joe Bonamassa April 26, Local Natives April 30, A Prairie Home Companion May 10, Neon Trees May 12, Ingrid Michaelson May 21, Eddie Izzard May 24, Morrissey May 28, Stars for Second Harvest June 3, Marty Stuart's Late Night Jam June 4, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros June 5, Conor Oberst with special guests Dawes June 6, Frankie Valli June 15, Lindsey Stirling June 28, Tori Amos August 18. Opry Country Classics returns to the Ryman stage with shows on Thursdays March 27 through May 22. The annual Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman kicks off June 26 with Vince Gill and will also feature: Dailey & Vincent July 17, Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester July 24 and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder July 31.

Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium and entertainment banking leader, SunTrust Bank, have launched A Year of Tickets sweepstakes. The huge sweepstakes offering is the first of its kind for the legendary venue which entered a multi-year partnership with SunTrust late last year.

A Year of Tickets sweepstakes gives music lovers the chance to enter-to-win a year of tickets to Ryman concerts via the Ryman's Facebook page. Entry couldn't be easier: first "like" both the Ryman and SunTrust Facebook pages and then fill out a simple entry form. For additional entries, fans can share the contest within the social network platform. For every referral entry, fans gain an additional chance at winning the grand prize. The sweepstakes runs now through March 12, 2014 with the lucky winner eligible for concert tickets of their choice between April 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015.

"This promotion is a fun and exciting way to introduce our partnership with SunTrust to the community," said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium general manager. "Hosting the contest on Facebook makes it easy for fans to participate and share the opportunity to win this incredible prize with their music loving friends."

"This is an incredible opportunity for any music lover to hear some outstanding artists in an outstanding facility," said Rob McNeilly, SunTrust Regional President. "We can't think of a better way to kick-off our partnership with the Ryman as we combine our years of experience in serving the entertainment industry."

SunTrust provides support to the music industry through many organizations including: Academy of Country Music (ACM), Americana Music Association, Country Music Association (CMA), Country Music Hall of Fame, Gospel Music Association, SOLID, SOURCE, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, The Recording Academy (NARAS), Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB), Nashville Music Association, W.O. Smith School, Songs for Sound, SXSW, Hip Hop for Humanity, International Bluegrass Association, Leadership Music, Nashville Songwriters Conference, Nashville Songwriters Association International and others.

Ryman Auditorium continues to garner award and accolades as one of the premier music venues in North America. The venerable venue holds the current titles of Pollstar Theatre of the Year, SRO Venue of the Year Presented by CMA and ACM Venue of the Year. Known for its outstanding acoustics and intimate setting, musicians and fans alike agree that a concert at the Ryman is like no other.

Upcoming shows at the Ryman include: Texaco Country Showdown January 16, Jake Bugg February 1, Pixies February 2, Neutral Milk Hotel February 4, Citizen Twain February 6 & 7, Lewis Black February 8, Ira Glass February 15, Pat Metheny Unity Group February 16, Scotty McCreery February 18, Jennifer Nettles February 20, Steven Curtis Chapman February 22, Band of Horses March 5, Emblem3 March 7, Young The Giant March 11, The Sing-Off March 12, Bob Weir & RatDog March 15, The Moody Blues March 20, Crosby, Stills & Nash March 21, Pentatonix March 22, Gavin DeGraw March 26, Gabriel Iglesias March 28, Amy Schumer March 30, Santana April 23, Joe Bonamassa April 26, Local Natives April 30, A Prairie Home Companion May 10, Frankie Valli June 15, Lindsey Stirling June 28. The Grand Ole Opry is back at the Ryman for its annual winter residency every Friday and Saturday through January 25, 2014.