Grand Ole Opry Announces Eight-Month 80th Anniversary Celebration

Show To Make Historic Return to Carnegie Hall Nov. 14

Signature Show Series and Special Events To Begin May 28

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 25 /PRNewswire/ — The Grand Ole Opry is set to celebrate 80 years of great country music beginning next month and continuing throughout 2005.

The eight-month celebration will feature:
– 80th Anniversary Signature Show Series
– Free summertime Opry Plaza Parties
– “An Evening With The Grand Ole Opry” multi-city tour
– Opry’s 80th Birthday Bash Weekend Oct. 14 – 15
– Special Opry 80th Anniversary performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall
Nov. 14
– A November-December engagement at the historic Ryman Auditorium
– A special series of Shop at Home Network shows featuring Opry
merchandise
– Opry guest announcers, and more

“We’re throwing a celebration that’ll be as unique as the Opry itself,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “This anniversary is about recognizing the Opry’s deep roots and celebrating the one-of-a-kind relationship it shares with country music and country fans today. Many of country music’s most popular new stars, its biggest superstars, and its legends will be a part of these anniversary events alongside longtime fans and those discovering, for the first time, what makes the Opry so special.”

The first show in the Opry’s 80th Anniversary Signature Show Series, Eight Decades of Great Country, will kick off the 80th Celebration Sat., May 28, highlighting the best in country music from each of the Opry’s eight decades, as voted by visitors to opry.com. These one-of-a-kind shows highlight the Opry’s rich musical history, its importance in today’s country music, and its place as a unique American icon. Additional signature shows in the series will include Signature Songs, performances of the songs that have given the Opry its signature sound, plus And the Winner Is … a celebration of country’s all-time biggest award-winners. Other shows in the 80th Anniversary Signature Show Series will be announced throughout the year.

Award-winning country, bluegrass, and Americana acts will headline free Opry Plaza Parties as part of the Nashville 80th festivities Fridays and Saturdays June 10 – Aug. 12.

“An Evening with the Grand Ole Opry” concert tour hits the road this spring and includes performances at such acclaimed venues as Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA and Chastain Park in Atlanta, GA. The tour will embody the live show format of world-famous Opry performances in Nashville and will host a variety of musical performers at each tour stop – among those Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury Band and Patty Loveless.

The big red curtain will go up on the Opry’s official Birthday Bash Oct. 14 and 15 with

– Two shows at the Opry House Friday and Saturday nights (6:30 and
9:30 p.m.)
– The annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Celebration
– Opry House backstage tours, and more

The icing on the Opry’s birthday cake comes on Mon., Nov. 14 when the Opry takes to the Big Apple performing a special 80th Anniversary Show at Carnegie Hall featuring Opry members Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs, and more on the eve of the Country Music Association Awards in New York City. Opry legends Ernest Tubb and Minnie Pearl first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1947, and Pearl made a triumphant return to the venue in Nov. 1961 as a member of a full Opry troupe that also included Patsy Cline, Grandpa Jones, the Jordanaires, Bill Monroe, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, and Faron Young. Gaylord Entertainment President and CEO Colin Reed will begin the special day in New York by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

“It’s an exciting time for the Opry, as we celebrate its continued impact on country music and American culture,” said Steve Buchanan, Gaylord Entertainment senior vice president. “Today the Opry can be seen and heard around the world by millions of fans via television, radio, satellite radio, the Internet, and American Forces radio and television. And, this is the perfect occasion for the Opry to make a historic return to Carnegie Hall during CMA Awards week, when New York will be abuzz with performances by country music’s best.”

The world’s most renowned country music show will round out its 80th anniversary year back in its most famous former home with November and December performances at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville.

Among the many fans the Opry will welcome during its 80th Anniversary Celebration are a group of celebrities from all walks of life who will take turns as Opry Guest Announcers, introducing country music’s superstars on country’s most famous stage. Willard Scott of the Today Show is scheduled to visit Sat., Oct. 15, while Blair Garner, host of the syndicated radio show After MidNite, is scheduled for Fri., June 10.

The anniversary celebration will also see the launch of a marketing relationship with GAC: Great American Country sister network, Shop at Home. As part of the partnership, the shopping channel will air a series of Opry-themed merchandise shows to include 80th Anniversary commemorative keepsakes, collectibles and limited edition instruments. The exclusive items will also be available at The Opry Shop in Nashville and online at shopathometv.com and opry.com.

Grand Ole Opry tickets and Nashville vacation packages are available by calling 615-871-OPRY or 800-SEE-OPRY or by visiting opry.com. Artists and schedules are subject to change.

About the Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry presents the best in country music live every week from Nashville, Tenn. A uniquely American experience for nearly 80 years, the Opry can be heard on 650 WSM-AM, Stream 137 on Sirius Satellite Radio and www.opry.com . The syndicated weekly program, America’s Grand Ole Opry Weekend, airs on more than 200 country radio stations across the country and on the American Forces Radio Network, and Grand Ole Opry Live airs each weekend on GAC: Great American Country, CMT Canada and can also be seen on American Forces Television. The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE:GET) , a Nashville-based hospitality and entertainment company that also owns and operates Gaylord Hotels and ResortQuest. For more information, visit www.opry.com or www.gaylordentertainment.com .

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