Information on:

Ryman Auditorium

116 Fifth Avenue North

About Us:

In the 1880s, when prominent businessman and steamboat captain Thomas G. Ryman found salvation in the words of fiery evangelist Reverend Sam Jones, he vowed to build a great tabernacle that would project Rev. Jones's voice clearly and powerfully for all to hear. Designed by architect Hugh Cathcart Thompson in the Late Victorian Gothic Revival style popular at the time, Tom Ryman's vision became a reality with the completion of the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. After his death in 1904, the Union Gospel Tabernacle would henceforth be known as the Ryman Auditorium in honor of the man who built the Nashville landmark.

As the largest structure in the area, the Ryman Auditorium soon became a popular place for community events, political rallies and popular turn-of the-century entertainment including operas, symphonies, bands, ballets and theatrical productions. In 1901, the Metropolitan Opera, for whom a stage was installed, put on special performances of Carmen and The Barber of Seville. Greats such as Ignacy Paderewski and Marian Anderson each performed five times at the Ryman during their long careers. John Philip Sousa, Enrico Caruso, Ethel Barrymore, Roy Rogers, Harry Houdini, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Katharine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Mae West and even president Theodore Roosevelt all graced the Ryman stage. It was during these early years the Ryman became known as the "Carnegie Hall of the South."

While the Ryman was gaining recognition as an entertainment site, George D. Hay was creating a radio show that would become an international phenomenon - the Grand Ole Opry®. In 1943, with crowds too big and too rowdy for other Nashville venues, the Opry found a home at the Ryman. For the next thirty-one years, the Ryman served as the premier stage for the Opry's live radio shows, which included such legends as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline and Roy Acuff.

As the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman became inseparably linked to the origins and rise of the modern-day genre of country music. Dubbed The Mother Church of Country Music by Nashvillians, it's well known by this moniker today. The Ryman's famous stage is also known as the birthplace of Bluegrass. On December 8th, 1945, the definitive sound of Bluegrass was born when a twenty-one year old Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe on stage for the first time. The State of Tennessee has officially recognized the Ryman as the Birthplace of Bluegrass.

When the Opry moved to its new location in 1974, the Ryman continued to attract fans from around the world merely to step on the stage that had attracted so many greats. In 1994, an $8.5 million renovation project brought this National Historic Landmark back to its original splendor. Each of the original wooden pews was refinished. The stenciled artwork on the face of the balcony was painstakingly recreated. For the first time, proper dressing rooms were added which would ultimately be dedicated to the stars of the Ryman's rich musical past. The latest technology in sound, lighting and engineering was included throughout every phase of the project. Central heat and air conditioning were added for the first time as well as a 14,000 square foot support building for ticketing, offices, concessions and a gift shop. The result was a state-of-the-art performance hall praised by performers for its beauty and, most importantly, for its acoustics.

Since the renovation, the Ryman has hosted world-class performers ranging from Aretha Franklin to the Zac Brown Band and from Annie Lennox to ZZ Top. In addition to being a favorite stop for touring concerts, the Ryman continues to be a popular location for television and film productions. Cameras started bringing the Ryman into American living rooms during weekly Opry broadcasts in the 1950s and The Johnny Cash Show in the late 1960s. The building made cameos on the silver screen in Coal Miners Daughter in the 1970s. More recently the Ryman has been the featured location in television and film projects including American Idol, Levon Helm-Ramble at the Ryman, Neil Young's Heart of Gold and Norah Jones & the Handsome Band: Live in 2004. Many artists have taken advantage of the Ryman's superior acoustics to make live audio recordings including Earl Scruggs, Jonny Lang, Josh Turner, Marty Stuart and Robert Earl Keen. The famed auditorium also has been featured in the wildly popular Nashville Public Television special The Ryman: Mother Church of Country Music.

The Ryman was named the Pollstar's 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Theatre of the Year, an award voted on by peers and widely regarded as the most prestigious in the concert industry. The Ryman has been named Theatre of the Year four times by the industry publication. The venue is currently ranked twenty-fifth in the world and nineteenth domestically based on year-to-date tickets sales in the Pollstar Theatre category. Other awards include Venue of the Year nods from both the Academy of Country Music, the International Entertainment Buyers Association and was recently named SRO Venue of the Year presented by CMA.

What brings performers to the Ryman Auditorium today is what attracted so many great entertainers throughout its history. The beauty of a well-seasoned performance hall, like that of a fine vintage instrument, cannot be reproduced. The Ryman's acoustics, built to project the voice of Sam Jones so long ago, are among the finest in the world. Today, the Ryman remains true to its diverse entertainment legacy, hosting concerts of all genres by a new generation of entertainers for a new generation of audiences.


Matt Latsha

Monday, June 25, 2018
I took the self-guided tour, and it's probably not worth it. If you're just going to check out everything on your own. It's probably best to just wait until you catch a show. It's a beautiful venue and super-historical. It is very self-congratulatory, and it clearly focuses way too much on stars since reopening. They loved pointing out that Widespread Panic performed there. I was also surprised that the staff member could not name any of the early preachers from it's early days. There was a timeline wall that answered my questions, but it was a relevant thing and I would have loved to have gotten an answer from the staff. It's a cool place, but if you're there for the tour, pay to get the guided backstage tour.

Chris turner

Friday, July 27, 2018
This was a trip you could make as long or short as you wished. We did the non guided tour and started with the history show in the little theatre. This was short but way way better than we expected. After this you can hang out in the aim theatre and look at the exhibits, which are interesting even if country is not completely your thing. I really enjoyed it and even the youngest managed to keep it together...

Mary Waynick

Saturday, June 30, 2018
This was the first time I've gone to a show at the Ryman. Walking into a place so rich with history was such an amazing feeling. Just thinking of all the talent that has crossed that stage is awesome! The acoustic was very pleasing as well. If you haven't taken in a show at the Ryman, you are truly missing out.

Chris Kaylor

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Pay for better seats than I did, the balcony is lower than you think and it sucks ducking the whole show. But, every seat seems like it's a really great view of the stage. They're wooden church pews and I could see it getting crowded for more popular shows. If you're tall, don't bother with anything under the balcony, crouching and trying to keep your knees and backs of your calves off the pews is not comfortable. Not that the balcony is low enough to hit your head, it's that the front of the balcony is low enough to cut off the view of the performers shoulders and up. I can say that I've seen modest mouse. And also that I haven't "seen" modest mouse... The place is beautiful and sounds amazing. Man, wish I would have read my review before I went for the first time.....

Anthony Pegues

Saturday, June 23, 2018
Wow! What a Really Neat Place! We Loved it even though we’re not big Country Music Fans. The History of this Place is sooo interesting! We Loved the Tour, our Guide was Great! This is the Best Tour/attraction we saw while in Nashville and we saw a bunch. Don’t miss out!! This is one of those “Must See” Places in Nashville.

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