It’s been very hard for me to grasp this disaster, especially because the places that have been hit the hardest are all places I’m familiar with. I drive down I-24 everyday to and from work. I go to Titans games as often as I can. Within the past year, my parents – and most recently my cousin – stayed at Gaylord Opryland Hotel. There’s a TVA dam about a mile from my house. I’ve never seen it so full, and probably never will again.
It’s hard to ponder the impact this natural disaster will have on middle Tennessee. The clean up, the costs, the time, the economy and even the music business.
Music and tourism are some of the main draws for Nashville. It’s hard for me to fathom how these industries will be effected in my home town. Gaylord Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry employs thousands, conferences occur there year round which brings tourists and much needed sales tax dollars for the state of Tennessee. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people will be out of jobs for weeks, if not months. Considering the current state of the economy, this is not good news.
The newly constructed Schermerhorn Symphony Center found their basement flooded and water was within a foot of the concert hall floor. Steinways were destroyed. The newly named Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators and serves as the largest indoor music venue in the city, was flooded. Just a block away the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is the largest popular music museum in the world, was flooded. Luckily, the collections are stored on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors and remain safe. Unfortunately, the Grand Ole Opry museum has probably lost everything from rhinestone suits to acoustic guitars that the legends played on the famed stage.
Gibson USA had water enter their factory, but they’ve not been able to assess the damage as of yet. Nevertheless, production has been halted until further notice. Possibly the hardest hit would be Soundcheck Nashville. Soundcheck Nashville is the largest enclosed rehearsal studio in the world and it happens to hold numerous tour sets, tour buses, equipment and not to mention hundreds, if not thousands of instruments. They will not even get access to the buildings until today. The site hosts so many clients that Soundcheck Nashville set up a flood blog so that they can schedule times for these artists to come in to assess the damage to their equipment and instruments.
There is hope to restore the Music back in Music City. The Grand Ole Opry is relocating performances to the War Memorial Auditorium and the Ryman (the original Grand Ole Opry). If the damage assessment goes well at Bridgestone Arena it will host its next event, James Taylor and Carole King, on the 22nd of this month. The Country Music Hall of Fame is set to reopen it’s doors this weekend. The Nashville Symphony will be hosting a free concert with Christopher Cross at the Metro Courthouse tomorrow night. In an effort to salvage instruments and amps, SoundCheck Nashville will have a guitar/amp “triage” unit on site. Mercy Lounge, a local venue that was not effected by the flood, hosted a benefit last night that raised over $11,000 that will be donated to Hands on Nashville and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
It’s so great to see this community come together and respond as well as it has after such a disasterous situation. But there is still more work to be done, there will be for months. Here’s how you can help:
If you’re local, please volunteer with Hands on Nashville or the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, an extensive list of other options are found here. A water treatment plant is still down, so please do what you can to conserve water and reduce your usage.
If you’re not local, please donate to the Nashville RedCross (click DONATE NOW to make a contribution or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation on your mobile phone). Please come visit us! Bonnaroo and CMA Country Music Festival are a little more than a month away. It’s even on the same weekend! We need the tourism dollars to help our crippled region return back to normal. Plus, I’m sure you’ll have some fun while you’re here and we’d sure love the company.
There ain’t no place I’d rather be, after all.