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The Ryman Auditorium -- Country's Hallowed Home -- Kicks Off a $14 Million Facelift

Ryman Auditorium
Courtesy of Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

Country music’s hallowed home kicks off a $14 million renovation.

Catching a concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium is considered to be an ­unparalleled, even religious experience -- but that’s not stopping the Mother Church of Country Music, owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, from breaking ground on a $14 million renovation.

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“We’re excited to be able to offer a vastly improved experience,” says Ryman general manager Sally Williams. Ticket­holders and daytime visitors alike will benefit from planned additions and enhancements, including expanded lobby and retail areas, a cafe space in the outdoor plaza and an interactive multimedia tour. Meanwhile, the actual auditorium -- a National Historic Landmark -- will remain virtually untouched.

Ryman Hospitality Properties collaborated with R.C. Mathews, a contractor that the parent company has worked with extensively -- including on the auditorium’s last overhaul in 1994. “They’re very, very familiar with our business,” says Williams. “We’re not closing at all during this process.” Forthcoming shows at the venue include First Aid Kit on Oct. 29, Drive-By Truckers on Oct. 30 and Martina McBride on Nov. 1.

The renovation -- scheduled to be completed by June 2015 -- began Oct. 1 with the temporary removal of its statue of steamboat magnate Thomas G. Ryman, who built the venue in 1892. “We’re almost 125 years from the completion of this building,” says Williams, “and we’re still carrying out his vision.”

This article first appeared in the Nov. 1 of Billboard.


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