Thankfully, sunny skies prevailed Monday (May 3) in Nashville as the community attempted to bounce back from widespread flooding that has affected thousands of area residents, including several country music artists. Still, the high water will be creating problems for weeks to come for locals and visitors to Music City.
Overflow from the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville has heavily impacted Lower Broadway from the riverfront to Second Avenue and caused flooding in two major buildings — the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Northeast of downtown Nashville, flooding of the river near Briley Parkway has hit the Grand Ole Opry House and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
A weekend storm system brought torrential rains and tornadoes that killed 21 people in Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen says it will be days before the full damage can be determined, but he is expected to ask for the Nashville area to be designated a federal disaster.
In downtown Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was closed to visitors as officials evaluated whether to reopen on Tuesday (May 4) after experiencing a reported five feet of water in a mechanical room in a lower area of the building. Fortunately, none of the exhibits are at risk.
The situation was even more serious at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center after more than eight feet of water flowed into the building’s basement. Although the main performance hall is not believed to be in any danger, a symphony spokesperson said it could be more than a month before any performances are presented there.
The historic Ryman Auditorium, located on a hill above Lower Broadway and the riverfront, has not experienced any flooding problems, although the Sunday (May 2) concert by the Goo Goo Dolls was canceled and rescheduled for Monday night.
In the Opryland area, some 1,500 guests and employees from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel were evacuated Sunday night and transported to an area high school after minor flooding of the parking lot and lower service areas of the complex. By Monday, some areas of the massive hotel were under 10 feet of water, causing hotel executives to express concern that it could be months before the complex is restored and reopened.
Although the extent of the damage to the Grand Ole Opry House has not been revealed, it was sufficient enough to move the Tuesday Night Opry to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. This weekend’s Opry performances will move to the Ryman Auditorium, and Thursday’s Opry Country Classics show will remain at the Ryman as previously scheduled. The War Memorial Auditorium and the Ryman are former homes of the Opry.
While many country artists are dealing with flood damage to their homes, others are experiencing problems involving their transportation and equipment.
In a message sent via Twitter, Chuck Wicks reported, “So many of my friends have been hit with the floods..keep them in your thoughts. Just found out my Bus/Trailer is Under Water.”
Monday afternoon, Brad Paisley issued two Twitter messages, the first stating, “On the positive side everyone is safe. On the negative… I think all my road guitar gear, amps, effects, are under 3 ft of river.” In another message, he added, “Not complaining though. Very very thankful to have weathered this. Prayers go out to anyone in these dire situations.”
Dierks Bentley returned to Nashville following Friday’s (April 30) performance with the Travelin’ McCourys at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, N.C., and planned to appear Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn. Instead, he canceled the Knoxville show and Monday’s concert in Charlottesville, Va., and spent his time trying to empty his flooded basement with a bucket. Eventually, he put together a makeshift pump to remove the water.
“Replaced bucket with hodge podge of leftover pieces from home depot,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s been ransacked.”View photos of the flooding in downtown Nashville. Middle Tennessee Red Cross Hands on Nashville Volunteer Opportunities