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New Downtown Restaurant to Open in Early June
4/15/2015

Ryman Auditorium is pleased to announce Cafe Lula, a new restaurant set to open early June. Located on the east side of the Ryman facing Fourth Avenue and just a few steps away from Lower Broadway, Cafe Lula will have seating for approximately 80 guests  inside and 30 more on a covered, outdoor patio. The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  daily with extended hours during nighttime Ryman events. The menu will feature fresh, healthy fare with an emphasis on rotisserie cooking and locally sourced ingredients available for both dine-in and grab-and-go service. Cafe Lula will feature an espresso bar with locally roasted and specially blended coffees each morning, and a full-service bar in the afternoon and evening. 

“Cafe Lula will be a delicious and convenient addition to downtown’s dining options,” said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium general manager. “We look forward to serving a wide range of guests, from Nashville visitors looking for a cup of coffee and pastry before taking a Ryman tour to our downtown neighbors looking for a quick and healthy lunch to music fans looking for dinner and a cocktail before a concert.”

The cafe is named in honor of Lula C. Naff, longtime manager of the Ryman. Lula began working with the Ryman in 1904 as a secretary for the building’s booking agency. When the agency closed in 1916 she went into business on her own, bringing in speakers and performers. Lula was hugely successful and in 1920 was hired as the Ryman’s manager, a position she held until her retirement in 1955. Lula’s business and booking savvy garnered respect and prestige for both Ryman Auditorium and the city of Nashville as a performance arts center for the region. Known as the “first lady” of theater management, she brought the greatest performers and Broadway plays of the day to the Ryman including: Bob Hope, Charlie Chaplin, Enrique Caruso, Harry Houdini, Katherine Hepburn, Mae West, Ziegfeld Follies, “Guys and Dolls,” “Oklahoma!” and many more. Lula also ushered the Grand Ole Opry into the Ryman in 1943 where the show resided until 1974. Under Lula’s leadership, the Ryman became a showplace for great diversity, a tradition that continues today. She also was a trailblazer for working women, branching out on her own before women even had the right to vote. For more information on Lula, please visit: ryman.com/history/lula-c-naff.

“For decades Lula C. Naff brought the world to Nashville through the stage door of the Ryman,” said Williams. “We’re excited to honor her legacy with the naming of our new cafe.”

Cafe Lula is now hiring all positions and will hold a job fair Thursday, April 23, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., One Gaylord Drive, Nashville, Tennessee, 37214. Full employment details can be found at cafelula.net and rymanhp.com/careers.

Cafe Lula is part of Ryman Auditorium’s $14 million improvement project. In addition to Cafe Lula, the project includes a brand new tour experience, an event space, enhanced food and beverage services throughout the building, an expanded retail store with interior and exterior access, a new box office, additional restroom facilities and larger lobbies. The historic auditorium, restored in 1994, will remain unchanged.

Series Passes Available for $145.50 Through February 28, 2015.
2/24/2015

With summertime right around the corner, Ryman Auditorium today announced its line-up for the 2015 Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series.  The annual series has taken place for more than two decades featuring the very best in Bluegrass. Individual tickets and series passes are on sale now.  Series passes are $145.50 for all six shows through February 28, 2015 (passes increase to $155.50 on March 1). Individual show tickets are $28.50.  Tickets are available at the Ryman box office, online at http://ryman.com/bluegrass or by calling 615-458-BLUE. 

The line-up this year is sure to delight Bluegrass fans of every age:

June 25 Vince Gill
July 2  The Del McCoury Band
July 9  Hot Rize
July 16  Dailey & Vincent
July 23  Robert Earl Keen with The SteelDrivers
July 30  Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

The 2015 series kicks off on June 25 with twenty-time Grammy® award winning  singer-songwriter and Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill.  The annual Red, White and Bluegrass show on July 2 will feature The Del McCoury Band playing the series for the first time in five years!  Headlining the July 9 show will be acclaimed Bluegrass band Hot Rize in support of their newest release “When I’m Free” on Thirty Tigers.  The band features a virtual who’s who of Bluegrass: Long-term president of the International Bluegrass Music Association Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick, bassist and a Grammy-nominated producer, Nick Forster, A-list sideman, Grammy-winner and West Virginia Music Hall of Fame member Tim O’Brien and six-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year Bryan Sutton. Rounder Records recording artists and three-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year winners Dailey & Vincent will take the stage on July 16. On July 23 Texan singer-song writer Robert Earl Keen celebrates the release of his new bluegrass album, “Happy Prisoner (The Bluegrass Sessions).” Opening the July 23 date will be The SteelDrivers, who will have released a new album on Rounder Records in June. Perennial favorite and ten-time Grammy® award winner Ricky Skaggs and his eight-time IBMA Instrumental Band of the Year Kentucky Thunder close-out the series on July 31.

CMA Air Personality of the Year award winner Eddie Stubbs will once again host each show of the series. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and are preceded by 650 AM WSM’s Pickin’ on the Plaza featuring regional bluegrass bands from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The free showcases take place just outside the Ryman’s main entrance. 

Ryman General Manager, Sally Williams, named Facility Executive of the Year
2/24/2015

The historic Ryman Auditorium was named Theatre of the year Saturday night at the twenty-six annual Pollstar Awards. The award was voted on by industry peers and is widely regarded as the most prestigious in the concert industry. This win marks an unprecedented fifth year in a row that the Ryman has been named Theatre of the Year by Pollstar. Since 1994, the Ryman has won the award a total of seven times. The iconic Nashville venue has a capacity of 2,362 and rounded out 2014 ranked sixteenth worldwide by Pollstar for ticket sales in the Theatre category. Nominated alongside the Ryman for Theatre of the Year were five other venues: Beacon Theatre New York City (cap. 2,829), Chicago Theatre Chicago (cap. 3,604), Fox Theatre Atlanta (cap. 4,678), Nokia Theatre L.A. Live Los Angeles (cap. 7,100) and Radio City Music Hall, New York City (cap. 6,013).

“I’m so proud of the Ryman team,” said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. “They work incredibly hard to care for this building, for our guests, for our industry partners and for the artists who play our stage. We are very grateful for the recognition.”

Williams also was named Facility Executive of the Year for the second time during the ceremony. Under Williams leadership, the Ryman has garnered multiple awards including the SRO Venue of the Year Presented by CMA in 2014, 2013 and 2012; Pollstar Magazine’s 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 Theatre of the Year; the Academy of Country Music’s 2012, 2010 and 2008 Venue of the Year; and the International Entertainment Buyers Association’s 2014 and 2009 Venue of the Year. Williams was chosen as Pollstar Magazine’s 2014 and 2013 Facility Executive of the Year, the International Entertainment Buyers Association’s 2012 Venue Executive of the Year and the Academy of Country Music’s 2010 Promoter of the Year. Williams is President-Elect of the Country Music Association, the Past-President of Leadership Music and the Chairperson for the Hospitality Committee of the Music City Music Council.

“The Ryman Auditorium management team remains keenly focused on delivering an exceptional experience for all,” said Steve Buchanan, Opry Entertainment President. “We greatly appreciate that our peers in the concert industry continue to acknowledge the passion and commitment displayed by Sally Williams and her entire team.”

In October 2014, the Ryman broke ground on an improvement project that will expand and renovate the support structure that was added as part of the 1994 addition to the venue. The project includes the addition of a new café, box office, larger lobbies, enhanced food and beverage services, additional restroom facilities, an expanded retail store as well as a new state-of-the art theatre attraction as part of the daytime tour experience.

Upcoming shows at the Ryman include: Lee Brice with Tyler Farr and Maddie & Tae February 24, Punch Brothers February 27, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors with Holly Williams February 28, Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit featuring host Steven Curtis Chapman and guests: Amy Grant, Bear & Bo Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE, The Isaacs and Laura Story March 1, Willie Nelson March 3 & 4, Gov’t Mule featuring John Scofield March 5, Santana March 11, Hozier with George Ezra March 14, 16 & 17, The Sing-Off March 15, The Beach Boys March 22, Dr. Dog with mewithoutYou March 27, Brian Regan March 29, Vince Gill and Friends March 31, Damien Rice April 1, Blackberry Smoke April 3, Mat Kearney with Parachute and Judah & The Lion April 4, Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit featuring host Steven Curtis Chapman and guests: Charles Esten, Fairfield Four, Francesca Battistelli, Jason Crabb and McCrary Sisters April 5, Shawn Mendes April 11, The Decemberists April 13, Primus & The Chocolate Factory with The Fungi Ensemble April 15, Joel McHale April 17, Nick Kroll & John Mulaney April 18, Anjelah Johnson April 19, Diana Krall April 21, Halestorm with The Pretty Reckless and Starset April 22, Ten Out of Tenn April 24, Ryan Adams with Natalie Prass April 27 & 28, Death Cab for Cutie with The Antlers April 29, Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit featuring host Steven Curtis Chapman and guests: Brandon Heath, Crowder, Diamond Rio and Ray Stevens May 3, Lord Huron with Leon Bridges May 6, A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor May 9, Georgia On My Mind with The Peach Pickers and Friends May 12, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo May 13, Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally May 15, for KING & COUNTRY May 22, “Weird Al" Yankovic May 23 and Michael McDonald June 12. Additional programming includes the annual Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series on Thursdays June 25 – July 30 and eight nights Amy Grant & Vince Gill Christmas at the Ryman December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22 and 23. All shows are on sale now and available at ryman.com.

All eight shows go on sale Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
2/09/2015

(NASHVILLE, TN) February 9, 2015 – Amy Grant and Vince Gill will return to the Mother Church this Christmas season for an unprecedented eight-night residency performing their beloved Christmas at the Ryman.  The annual holiday tradition sold out an unprecedented six shows in 2014 so an additional two dates have been added this year due to meet demand.  Not unlike artist residencies in Las Vegas, the Nashville Ryman shows are the only place the superstar couple will perform the Christmas show together making it a destination for fans from far and wide. The concerts are scheduled for December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22 and 23. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved ones, tickets go on sale Saturday, February 14 and cost $125, $75, $55 and $35. Tickets will be available via ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets, ryman.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

"Christmas audiences are special," explains Grant. "They tend to involve the whole family, and their emotions are a wonderful mix of anticipation and reverence. It's a thrilling experience for both of us." "These holiday tours have become our favorites," Gill agrees.

About Amy Grant
Amy Grant's career spans over 30 years and stretches from her roots in gospel into her experience as an iconic pop star, songwriter, television personality and philanthropist. Grant has sold more than 30 million albums boasting one five-time Platinum album, one triple Platinum and one double Platinum album, as well as six platinum and four Gold albums. Amy has won six GRAMMY® Awards in multiple categories, beginning with the platinum selling Age to Age in 1982 and 25 GMA Dove Awards. She also has six #1 hits – including "Baby, Baby" and "Every Heartbeat" – and is one of only two Christian artists to be awarded a star on the legendary Walk of Fame in Hollywood. In 2003, she was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. While continuing to tour to enthusiastic audiences, Amy also released her first studio album of all new material in 10 years, the critically acclaimed How Mercy Looks from Here, in May 2013, which debuted at #1 on the Christian charts and #12 on the Billboard Pop Top 100. The debut at #1 at Christian retail extended Amy's record for the most #1 album debuts – 16 – for the genre.

About Vince Gill
One of the most popular singers in modern country music, Vince Gill is famous for his top-notch songwriting, world-class guitar playing and warm, soaring tenor, all wrapped up in a quick and easy wit. Gill achieved his big breakthrough in 1990 with “When I Call Your Name,” which won both the Country Music Association’s Single and Song of the Year award as well as a Grammy.  Since then, he has won 17 more CMA honors, including Song of the Year four times – making him the  most-awarded artist in that category in CMA history. The CMA just honored Gill with its prestigious Irving Waugh Award of Excellence which is awarded to an individual who is “the originator and caretaker of demonstrated ideas and actions that have dramatically broadened and improved country music's influence.” Gill and Johnny Cash are the only artists to have received this award.  Gill was also recently presented the BMI Icon Award which is given to "songwriters who have had a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers."  Since 1990, Gill has won 20 GRAMMY Awards. The Academy of Country Music has conferred on Gill eight awards, including its prestigious Home Depot Humanitarian Award and the 2011 Career Achievement Award.  Gill was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In August 2012, Gill was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He is a member of the four-time Grammy-nominated band The Time Jumpers. 

11/05/2014

NASHVILLE, TN (November 3, 2014) – Steven Curtis Chapman hosted the opening show in the revival of beloved series “Sam’s Place – Music For The Spirit” last night before a rapt crowd at Ryman Auditorium.  Joining Chapman were Danny Gokey, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, MercyMe, Tenth Avenue North and songwriter Tom Douglas.

Chapman got the audience to their feet with high-energy opening number “Love Take Me Over.”  When he broke out the kazoo and ukulele to introduce his first guest, Danny Gokey, with a song he penned for the singer set to the tune of Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” the audience knew he was no ordinary host and they were in for a treat.
 
Early in the evening Chapman shared the story of Reverend Samuel Jones, for whom the series is named.  It was during one of Reverend Jones’ tent revivals in 1885 that river boat captain Thomas G. Ryman was inspired to construct the Union Gospel Tabernacle so that all the people of Nashville would have a gathering place for worshipping and communing.  Jones held numerous fundraisers to support the building’s construction and it was he, while delivering Ryman’s eulogy on Christmas Day 1904, who proposed the Tabernacle be renamed Ryman Auditorium in the captain’s honor.
 
One of the most moving moments of the evening involved an on-stage “singing contest” featuring three groups of audience members.  Among the participants were Mathew & Jill Haynes who had recently applied for a grant from Show Hope, the non-profit organization Chapman and his wife Mary Beth started to provide financial assistance to families working to adopt.  At the conclusion of the contest Chapman surprised the Haynes Family with a grant to assist with the adoption of their South Korean son, Dawson.  A tearful crowd rose to their feet for a standing ovation.  After the ovation, Chapman shared the story of Show Hope, which since its inception eleven years ago has assisted more than 4,500 families with adoption grants.  Chapman also shared that while doing research to prepare for Sam’s Place he discovered that Reverend Jones had done charity work benefitting orphans.  A portion of every ticket sold to Sam’s Place benefits Show Hope.
 
Among the musical highlights of the evening was the finale, a sing-along rendition of Hank Williams’ “I Saw The Light” featuring Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North, Douglas, Gokey, Bart Millard of MercyMe and Scott.   The crowd joined in, clapping their hands and stomping their feet with an inspired energy that certainly would have made Reverend Jones and Captain Ryman proud.
 
“Sam’s Place – Music For The Spirit” will continue one Sunday per month January-May, 2015. Confirmed guests include:  Aaron Watson, Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, Craig Morgan, Deana Carter, Francesca Battistelli, The Isaacs, Jason Crabb, Josh Turner, Kristian Bush of Sugarland, Laura Story, Lee Miller, McCrary Sisters, Michael W. Smith, Mike Farris, Point of Grace, Ray Stevens and THIRD DAY.

Portions of “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” will be compiled for a one hour broadcast on the national K-LOVE radio network starting in 2015. K-LOVE is the largest radio network in the Christian radio format with more than 446 stations in forty-seven states reaching eighteen million listeners. K-LOVE can be heard locally in Nashville on 97.1 FM.
 
Tickets for individual shows are $39.50, $34.50 and $27.50. Season passes are also available for $170.00 and $149.20. A portion of each ticket sale will be donated to Show Hope. Tickets go on sale September 19 at 10 am at the Ryman box office, ryman.com or by calling (615) 889-3060. Group rates are also available for groups of 15 or more by calling (615) 871-5043.
 
Show dates: January 11, February 15, March 1 and April 5 and May 3, 2015.

Popular revival to feature Steven Curtis Chapman as host
10/08/2014

NASHVILLE, TN (Sept 15, 2014) - TThis fall, multi-platinum selling recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman will host the revival of popular concert series, “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” at Nashville’s Mother Church, Ryman Auditorium. The initial six month run will start on November 2 and continue for one Sunday each month (dates below). “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” invites artists from all genres of music to share songs with an uplifting spiritual message and pay homage to the Ryman’s tabernacle roots. Portions of the Ryman concerts will be used to produce a one hour radio show that will air monthly on the K-LOVE radio network starting next year. Confirmed guests for the series include former American Idol Danny Gokey, Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, Mercy Me, Ricky Skaggs, Michael W. Smith, Ray Stevens and Tenth Avenue North. Additional artists will be announced throughout the run.

“Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” takes its name from charismatic evangelist Samuel Porter Jones (1847-1906), who gained fame in the region for his energetic sermons filled of fire and brimstone during the mid-1880s. On May 10, 1885, he led a tent revival in downtown Nashville for more than 5,000 which was attended by riverboat captain Thomas Green Ryman (1841-1904). Ryman experienced a conversion that night and, inspired by the multitude unable to find room under the tent, made it his mission to construct of a great tabernacle “for all denominations” to join in worship. Seven years later, the Union Gospel Tabernacle opened its doors in 1892. It was Jones, while delivering Ryman’s eulogy at the Tabernacle on Christmas Day in 1904, who proposed the building’s name be changed to Ryman Auditorium to thunderous agreement.

The first incarnation of “Sam’s Place” debuted at the newly renovated and reopened Ryman in 1994 with Gary Chapman as host. Over a five year span the series welcomed the biggest names in Christian, country, gospel and bluegrass including, Amy Grant, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dobie Gray, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Marty Stuart, Michael McDonald, Michael W. Smith, Ricky Skaggs, Vestal Gooman, Wynonna and many more. Twenty years later, at the onset of a multi-million dollar expansion project, the historic building will once again pay tribute to its tabernacle roots with the revival of the series.

Host Chapman is the most awarded artist in Christian music with fifty-eight Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, five GRAMMYs®, forty-eight #1 singles and nearly eleven million albums sold. As part of the Christian music scene since the 1980s, he has eight RIAA-certified gold or platinum albums to his credit. A vocal supporter of adoption, Chapman, along with his wife Mary Beth, founded Show Hope in 2003, a nonprofit organization that helps restore the hope of a family to orphans in distress. Since its inception, Show Hope has helped provide forever homes through Adoption Aid grants for more than 4,000 orphans from 50+ countries, including the U.S. In addition, more than 1,500 orphans with special needs have received critically needed medical care through Show Hope’s Special Care Centers, giving them a hope for a family and a future. Through numerous other programs for individuals, students, families, and communities, Show Hope is mobilizing a movement to care for the world’s children who need it most. For more information, please visit showhope.org. A portion of the proceeds of Sam’s Place ticket sales will go to Show Hope and Chapman plans a moment to “show hope” in each Sam’s Place.

“As a performer there isn’t a stage more special to stand on than the Ryman’s. It's got an amazing history and I’m really excited to be a part of a series created in the spirit of taking the Ryman back to its originally intended purposes,” Chapman said. “’Sam’s Place’ allows us to tap into the Ryman’s heartbeat from the beginning. In this legendary building where "all are welcome” we will come together as children of God to enjoy the gift of music. All are welcome; artists from all genres of music, country, Christian, gospel, bluegrass, pop, rock, every form we enjoy here in music city. This show allows us to come together around the common thread of our faith woven through the songs. I love this because no matter what genre, ‘Sam’s Place’ is an event that gives artists a stage to acknowledge their faith and its importance as a part of who they are.”

Portions of “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” will be compiled for a one hour broadcast on the national K-LOVE radio network starting in 2015. K-LOVE is the largest radio network in the Christian radio format with more than 446 stations in forty-seven states reaching eighteen million listeners. K-LOVE can be heard locally in Nashville on 97.1 FM.

Tickets for individual shows are $39.50, $34.50 and $27.50. Season passes are also available for $198.00 and $178.00. A portion of each ticket sale will be donated to Show Hope. Tickets go on sale September 19 at 10 am at the Ryman box office, ryman.com or by calling (615) 889-3060. Group rates are also available for groups of 15 or more by calling (615) 871-5043.

Show dates: November 2, December 7, January 11, February 15, March 1 and April 5.

For more information on Steven Curtis Chapman and his music, visit stevencurtischapman.com.

10/01/2014

NASHVILLE, TN (October 1, 2014) – This historic Ryman Auditorium was named Venue of the Year by the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) in a special ceremony last night. The annual IEBA Honors & Awards celebrates the best of the best with their industry-voted program each year. Nominees in the category included BOK Center (Tulsa), Fox Theatre (Atlanta), INTRUST Bank Arena (Wichita), Sprint Center (Kansas City) and Staples Center (Los Angeles.) The Ryman previously won the honor in 2009 the same year General Manager Sally Williams was named Venue Executive of the Year by the prestigious organization. The Ryman is also the current reigning Pollstar Theatre of the Year and SRO Venue of the Year presented by CMA.

Nashville’s most iconic stage has played host to a diverse line-up so far this year including acts like Kris Kristofferson, Lana Del Rey, Santana and Weezer. Additional non-music offerings included A Prairie Home Companion, comedians Lewis Black, Dennis Miller and Bill Burr and award shows Academy of Country Music (ACM) Honors and Americana Music Honors & Awards.

The Ryman began a multi-million dollar expansion project today with the symbolic removal of the captain Tom Ryman statue from its Fifth Avenue Plaza. The project includes plans for a new event space , state-of-the-art daytime tour attraction, café, larger retail area, additional restroom facilities, larger lobbies and an expanded box office. Scheduled for a June 2015 completion date, the Ryman will host a full calendar of events and tours throughout construction.

Upcoming shows at the Ryman: Ian Anderson October 1, Jerry Lee Lewis October 4, Sam Smith October 7, Loretta Lynn October 10 & 11, Josh Turner October 15, Kip Moore October 17, Wilco October 21 & 22, Jason Isbell October 24, 25 & 26, First Aid Kit October 29, Drive-By Truckers October 30, Martina McBride November 1, Chrissie Hynde November 10, Straight No Chaser November 12, John Butler Trio November 13, Daughtry November 16, So You Think You Can Dance November 17, Phillip Phillips November 19, Justin Townes Earle November 20, Tokens Show November 23, Amy Grant & Vince Gill December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18, Brian Setzer Christmas Rocks Extravaganza December 8, The Head and the Heart December 14, Andrew Peterson December 15, John Mellencamp January 27 & 28, Trampled By Turtles February 7, Shovels & Rope February 14, Hozier March 14 and Brian Regan March 29. Additional programming includes Opry Country Classics each Thursday in October, Opry at the Ryman Friday and Saturdays starting November 7 through January 31 and Tuesdays November 4 through December 16, Sam’s Place November 2, December 7, January 11, February 15, March 1 and April 5. 

Expansion and Renovation Planned for 1994 Addition - Historic Auditorium to Remain Unchanged
6/26/2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—June 26, 2014—Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP), owner of the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville’s iconic National Historic Landmark and world renowned performance venue, today announced an approximately $14 million planned expansion and renovation of the Ryman’s 1994 addition.  The historic auditorium, restored in 1994, will remain unchanged. 

The proposed expansion and renovation will improve the Ryman Auditorium experience for both tour guests and concert attendees and will include an event space featuring a new, state-of-the-art daytime tour attraction, which will provide a unique way to relive the Ryman Auditorium’s storied past. The space will be available in the evenings for private functions. Other amenities include a dedicated café space, enhanced food and beverage services throughout the building and an expanded retail area with interior and exterior access. Renovation plans also include a new box office, additional restroom facilities and larger lobbies.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joined Colin V. Reed, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Sally Williams, general manager of the Ryman Auditorium and Opry Entertainment vice president of business and partnership development and Steve Buchanan, president of the Opry Entertainment Group for today’s announcement at the Ryman Auditorium.

“The tourism industry adds more than a billion dollars annually to our state’s tax base, making it critical to fostering sustained economic growth in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “Continued investment from hospitality leaders like Ryman will further improve our state’s unique tourist offerings and attract even more visitors to Tennessee.”

In a statement made prior to today’s press conference, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said, “There’s no place in the world like Music City, and we owe a great deal of that unique identity to the city’s iconic landmarks, particularly the Ryman Auditorium,” Dean said. “This expansion is a welcome addition to our vibrant downtown area. I thank Ryman Hospitality and Colin for this investment and all they’ve done to help make Nashville a top destination.”

The planned renovation and expansion are part of Ryman Hospitality Properties’ ongoing investment in Nashville and its attractions business, which recently experienced record-breaking tour and concert ticket sales.

“The Music City brand has never been more powerful than it is today. We strongly believe that we are at the very front end of a meteoric rise in both national and international tourism thanks largely to the ever-increasing popularity of country music and the “Nashville” television show,” Reed said. “We are making this investment now so that the Ryman Auditorium is better equipped to accommodate the current and future demand we are seeing from both a tourism and concert attendance perspective.”

The project is expected to break ground in late summer 2014 with a planned opening in early June 2015.  The Ryman Auditorium is slated to host a full calendar of events and tours throughout construction.  

Williams said, “Just as Steve Buchanan and the company’s management team did in 1994 with the original Ryman Auditorium expansion and reopening, we are thoughtfully planning for the future of one of the most historic and revered places to hear and perform live music. The enhancements will dramatically improve the pre-and post-show experience and allow visitors to share in our 122-year history in ways that are not possible within our current space. With no renovations taking place in the historic auditorium, we expect little to no disruption in our operations throughout the construction phase, which we anticipate will be complete in time to welcome our guests during next year’s CMA Music Festival.”

Reed continued, “Before we decided to move forward with our plans for this expansion, we felt that it was important to have the support of the artist community who played a vital role in making the Ryman Auditorium the internationally-celebrated venue it is today. We have shared our plans with several artists who have a strong connection to the Ryman Auditorium and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Maintaining the historic integrity of the Ryman Auditorium was a high priority and we have selected two Nashville-based firms who share in that vision, Hastings Architecture Associates and R.C. Mathews Contractor, who served as the general contractor for the original 1994 Ryman Auditorium expansion. The proposed design will preserve the historic 5th Ave. entrance skyline and original Ryman Auditorium aesthetic while providing some much needed room to grow.”

Also in attendance at today’s press conference were Grand Ole Opry members and multi-Grammy Award-winning artists Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart.

“The Ryman has always been in the best hands since this company has taken over its operation,” said Vince Gill.  “This is an important renovation, but the heart this company has shown for the Ryman’s preservation is even more special.”

"To me, there is no place like The Ryman Auditorium,” said Ricky Skaggs. “Whether I'm performing, seeing a show or just walking around in the building, it's home to my heart.

That's why I'm so excited about the new expansion The Ryman is getting. It's gonna be great for the fans and the performers. The Ryman is The History Of The Future!”

“The Ryman Auditorium has seen countless changes in the Nashville landscape since its doors opened in 1892,” said Marty Stuart.  “It has somehow been a standard-bearer all the while, moving forward with the times.  The new expansion to the “Mother Church of Country Music” is a fitting reflection of the global interest in our city as well as the world of country music.  It’s exciting to watch the continuance of the legacy of one of America’s most cherished buildings.”

About Ryman Auditorium

A National Historic Landmark, the Ryman Auditorium was built as a tabernacle by Captain Thomas G. Ryman in 1892, served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74, and was completely renovated in 1994. The Ryman is open for tours during the day and at night offers a wide variety of entertainment performances, just as it has for over 120 years. The venue was voted the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Pollstar Theatre of the Year. Ryman Auditorium is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), a Nashville-based REIT that also owns and operates the Grand Ole Opry, and 650 AM WSM. For more information, visit ryman.com.

About Ryman Hospitality Properties

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP) is a REIT for federal income tax purposes, specializing in group-oriented, destination hotel assets in urban and resort markets. The Company’s owned assets include a network of four upscale, meetings-focused resorts totaling 7,795 rooms that are managed by lodging operator Marriott International, Inc. under the Gaylord Hotels brand. Other owned assets managed by Marriott International, Inc. include Gaylord Springs Golf Links, the Wildhorse Saloon, the General Jackson Showboat and The Inn at Opryland, a 303-room overflow hotel adjacent to Gaylord Opryland. The Company also owns and operates a number of media and entertainment assets, including the Grand Ole Opry (opry.com), the legendary weekly showcase of country music’s finest performers for nearly 90 years; the Ryman Auditorium, the storied former home of the Grand Ole Opry located in downtown Nashville; and 650 AM WSM, the Opry’s radio home. For additional information about Ryman Hospitality Properties, visit rymanhp.com