Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Step Behind the Curtain: Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour

When I grew up in Tennessee, I have fond memories of going to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville with my family and I remember waiting outside the backstage door after the show to meet the stars. Last year I was lucky to be able to visit the backstage of the sacred ground for country music two times while working. 

Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

During a recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee, we booked an exclusive backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry, the home of country music performances. You get to see the artists’ entrance, dressing rooms and assorted memorabilia. Your guide will even share stories you wouldn’t have otherwise heard about artists and their time at the Grand Ole Opry.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The tour begins with a 15-minute video shown on a small replica Opry stage, with multiple screens to bring to life the video footage we were about to see. Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks narrate during the film as they explain the history of the Grand Ole Opry. During the video, we saw various members receiving their Grand Ole Opry invitations, bringing significant meaning behind the Opry areas we were about to tour. 

Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The next stop on the tour is the auditorium entrance area, the first-place guests go before a Grand Ole Opry show. Hanging from the ceiling is a $90k chandelier made of Gibson Guitars. Another video begins to play at the entrance on circular screens, amping us up for what we were about to see on the rest of the tour. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Next, we were led to the backstage area of the Opry. We passed through the backstage rehearsal area where the walls are decorated with artistic portraits of country legends like Minnie Pearl, Dolly Parton, and more. We then got to walk right past the artists entrance, a brick walkway lined with a red-overpass that leads right into the backstage area of the Opry. The brick walkway is engraved with names of Opry members. 

Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The Backstage Tour also includes a tour of the famous Hee Haw sound stage, a television variety show that aired during the 1980’s. I watched Hee Haw every weekend with my grandparents, so this stop brought back so many fond memories. We were greeted with another video on a projection screen, hosted by Brad Paisley, that shows tour members what was filmed on that very stage years ago. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

We also got to step foot in the same area all artists go to when checking in to the Opry. Our guide explained the general timeline of what artists do from when they arrive to when they get onstage to perform. The security guard that monitors this area checks performers ID’s and helps them to their dressing rooms. 

Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Mailboxes assigned to each performer are housed in the check-in area, where fans can send mail to be collected by their favorite artists. Also, in the performer check-in area is a wall of gold Grand Ole Opry member plaques. Members are listed in chronological order and separated by a sparkly gold gown that belonged to Loretta Lynn. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Seeing the themed dressing rooms was one of the coolest parts of the tour. The rooms are specially decorated for different past Opry members. Our guide shared with us which dressing rooms certain artists prefer. We also saw a wall of inductees from the current year, welcoming new Opry members on the way to their dressing rooms and a metal wall with every Opry member’s name engraved. 

Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Lastly, and the best part of the tour, was getting to stand on the Grand Ole Opry stage. We looked out at the thousands of seats and felt what it must feel like for country greats to perform under the lights. Standing in the wooden circle at the WSM microphone was truly surreal. For an extra $25, you can get your picture taken here and purchase it at the end of your tour as a keepsake. 

Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Explore the Legendary Opry With A Backstage Tour
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

A bonus for every backstage tour at the Opry is an invitation to visit the Acuff House across from the main Opry entrance. All you have to do is how your dicey and you are free to enter.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The Acuff House is the former home of country music legend and Opry member Roy Acuff. He was an essential part of Opry history – and basically the face of the Opry family – for almost 40 years, starting in 1938. When his wife passed away, Acuff’s family built him a brick home next door to the Opry House that he lived in until he passed 30 years ago. Now, the house hosts star-studded exhibits and exclusive events for the Opry. We were able to see Ray Charles outfit and a suit that Leslie Jordan wore at the Opry.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The entire tour was about an hour and there were around about 20 people in each touring group. Adult tickets are $46.24 and can be purchased on the Grand Ole Opry website. The tour was definitely worth the price and gave us an experience we will never forget. 

Words by Emily Cigan @emily.cigan and Amy Harris @thetraveladdictig

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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