Grand Ole Opry Goes Dark For Second Time In History (Update)

Grand Ole Opry
Chris Hallo for the Grand Ole Opry
– Grand Ole Opry
Performers take to the Grand Ole Opry stage March 14 to perform without an audience for its weekly live broadcast on WSM-AM.

Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is closing for only the second known time its history with a pause in performances beginning tonight (March 13) and running through at least April 4. But the Opry will not go completely dark: it will instead return to its original form as a live radio broadcast without a live audience on WSM-AM for the foreseeable future.

Despite being closed to audiences, the show went on Saturday, March 14,  via live broadcast on WSM-AM and SiriusXM, along with livestreams on Facebook and YouTube.  Between artists performing acoustically on the Opry circle, announcer Mike Terry acknowledged fans and shared story of past Opry visits and favorite Opry moments with performers including Bill Anderson, Mandy Barnett, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith and Sam Williams.
The broadcast marked the Opry’s  4,915th consecutive Saturday night live airing without interruption.

The COVID-19 outbreak that is responsible for at least temporarily closing down public gathering space en masse, the Opry announced suspension of performances that include live audiences.

Citing “the motto of the Circle can’t broken,” the closre was announced via statement reads, “The Opry’s first priority has always been the safety of our employees, guests and artists who have all been key in keeping the show that made country music famous on the air every week for over 94 years.”

Making the announcement even more extraordinary, the Opry included some notable institutional history regarding its “the show must go on” legacy.

“It is widely believed that the Opry has cancelled its live Saturday night performance only once before, as on April 6, 1968 a curfew imposed by the city of Nashville following the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination in Memphis two days earlier forced such a cancellation,” the Opry stated.

“For the only time in its history, that night’s Opry broadcast consisted of a previously taped performance. Opry patriarch Roy Acuff and other performers staged a makeshift show at a nearby square-dance hall for Opry fans that afternoon.”

Ticketholders for canceled performances are advised to contact Grand Ole Opry Customer Service for assistance at (800) SEE-OPRY or go the Opry’s website.  

In the meantime, fans around the world can still tune in to the Saturday night broadcasts at and, Opry and WSM mobile apps, SiriusXM Satellite, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM.