Flooding Recession

As waters slowly recede along the banks of the Cumberland River the question is, what will be the lingering effects of the flooding of Nashville and the upcoming CMA Music Festival?

When the Nashville area was hit with more than 13 inches of rain over the May 1-2 weekend, water spilled over the banks flooding some of the most precious real estate in music history. None of the deaths in Nashville that were attributed to the flooding took place in the area but the damage was significant and heartbreaking.

The Grand Ole Opry House got the most attention, with water flooding its basements and rising above its historic stage. The 6-foot wooden circle, which has literally supported artists from Hank Williams to Blake Shelton, was transported in 1975 from the Opry’s original location – Ryman Auditorium, which escaped flooding. Memorabilia was damaged and shows from the Opry were immediately redirected to other venues, including the War Memorial Auditorium.

In fact, all of Music Row, which exists many blocks from the highest cresting, did not see a break in action with all its agencies and other businesses remaining open. The offices of CMT, however, were shuttered May 4 and a representative told Pollstar the staff was operating from laptops in various locations across the city.

The Country Music Hall of Fame, and all of its memorabilia, was under threat of permanent damage. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center lost some pianos but was spared its stage. Water flooded the Bridgestone Arena, damaging dressing rooms and the floor where the NHL’s Nashville Predators play. LP Field – home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and the main venue of the CMA Festival – was filled with water immediately after the rain.

There were also two facilities that have not garnered much attention but could have some long-lasting damage. Soundcheck Nashville rehearsal studio – the largest indoor rehearsal studio in the world – was flooded. Although it could not be confirmed, word is the musical instruments it contains are bountiful, but damaged. Also, the GM of Gibson USA told the Tennessean water got into the guitar factory, but nobody had been in there since the flood.

It is unclear if all of these facilities are current with flood insurance.

Meanwhile, it will be at least three months before doors open again at the massive Gaylord Entertainment complex that includes (along with the Opry) the Opry Mills Mall and Opryland Hotel. Damage is estimated at $75 million.

LP Field and Riverfront Park, the two main venues of the CMA Music Festival, are expected to be functional, albeit with some expensive cleanup, by the time the fest kicks off June 10. However, with attractions like the Hall of Fame and the Opry House questionable, tourism could take a hit.