In Nashville, aka “Music City,” the song is king. While songs can be written alone, most of those written in Nashville are the product of collaboration, which is of course a key reason groups meet. On that note, those who are meeting in Nashville will find an abundance of that collaborative spirit throughout the city, especially in its music and nightlife options, whether it’s with the music that can be found on almost every street corner or in its vibrant arts scene.
Nashville’s “Music City” moniker can even be found on its convention center, which opened in 2013 in the downtown area and has a roof designed in the shape of a guitar. Though Nashville is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum and the huge CMA Music Fest, which draws more than 85,000 country music fans a day each June, all genres of music can be found in the more than 160 venues throughout the city, from classical to rock to blues to bluegrass to, yes, country.
Deana Ivey, chief marketing officer for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, pointed out that a wide variety of music can be enjoyed just steps from the Music City Center in downtown.
“On one side of the convention center you have the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which often has a guest artist performing with the orchestra,” Ivey said. “And then on the other you have the honky tonks and rock bands and alt rock, and nearby there’s jazz, R&B, bluegrass… really everything.”
The city also offers music-related museums and even music-inspired restaurants, making the options for post-meetings entertainment in Nashville seemingly endless. This creates a bit of a conundrum for meeting planners: With so many offerings for venues, how do you choose?
The first step is to pick a setting to base the meeting.
“We have two great options for meetings,” Ivey said. “The downtown setting offers the new convention center, while those who prefer a resort setting can find it at the Gaylord Opryland.”
With meeting space that can accommodate groups of up to 10,000 people, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, located 10 miles from downtown Nashville, is a full-service resort experience. And it’s expected to grow later this year with the opening of a four-acre, three-level indoor and outdoor water recreation area.
For evening events, the city’s famous Grand Ole Opry House is located steps from the resort. The venue opened in 1974, and except for the five months it was closed for renovations following the floods of 2010, it has continuously served as the home to the show that, as they say, “made country music famous.”
According to Wayne Chandler, director of sales and group services for Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group, groups have a variety of options when it comes to holding events at Opry properties throughout Nashville.
“Experiences can be as intimate as having a ‘king’s dinner’ in the former home of the man known as the ‘King of Country Music,’ Roy Acuff, or a large dinner on the stage of the Ryman or Opry, or even our coveted ‘Exclusive Opry’ performances for up to 4,400 people,” Chandler said. “If a private event is not what a group prefers, attending a Grand Ole Opry performance is a must-do when visiting ‘Music City.’”