ACMs Announce New Date, Nashville Debut

Courtesy of Grand Ole Opry
– ACMs Arrive
Marty Stuart, Vince Gill and Brad Paisley play an empty Grand Ole Opry March 21. Along with the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe, the venue will host the ACMs this September.

The Academy of Country Music Awards announced Monday that, for the first time in its 55-year history, it will broadcast from Music City.

The 55th annual edition of the show will broadcast from Nashville, Tenn., on September 16, from three famed venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe.

In March, the ACMs postponed the event, which was previously scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on April 5.

The ACMs have been held in Las Vegas every year since 2003, other than 2015, when the show was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Prior to 2003, the show was held for decades in Southern California, at venues in Los Angeles, Burbank and Buena Park.

“While we were disappointed to postpone our April show in Las Vegas, we couldn’t be more thrilled to host the rescheduled 55th ACM Awards in the home of Country Music for the first time in the Academy’s history,” said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to ensure the safety of our artists and industry, and to ease the burdens of traveling large teams; therefore, we decided to bring the ACM Awards to them this September in Nashville.

“Now, more than ever, is the time to bring our community together to honor the best in our genre, and there is no more special place to do that than three of the most revered venues in Country Music – The Grand Ole Opry House, The Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe,” Whiteside’s statement continued. “A huge thank you to these historic venues and to the state of Tennessee and city of Nashville for all of the support in making this a reality!”

Keith Urban, reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year and winner of 15 ACM Awards, will host the show for the first time.

Uncertainty remains regarding future public gatherings, but the Academy’s press release noted that “guidelines set forth by national, state and local health officials will cotinue to be closely followed and implemented during the production.”

Tennessee governor Bill Lee and Nashville mayor John Cooper both expressed excitement about the decision to hold the event in Music City.

“Country music has been our voice and our companion through so many difficult times and now it is our comfort as we confront and defeat the coronavirus,” Cooper said in a statement. “I’m excited to join country music fans worldwide to celebrate with the Academy of Country Music and artists that uplift and inspire us all in these extraordinary times. And I look forward to the day when we can safely welcome visitors back to enjoy all that Music City has to offer, including over 160 live entertainment venues with the best country music shows in the world.”

Opry Entertainment Group, which oversees the Opry House, the Ryman and the Bluebird, has experience producing shows in the time of coronavirus. Despite Nashville’s stay-at-home order, the Opry has continued to record weekly, audience-less broadcasts, after meeting stringent municipal guidelines to obtain an exemption for holding small public gatherings.

“We spent a lot of time on figuring out the least amount of people that we could put into the Opry to put on a quality production,” Opry Entertainment Group president Scott Bailey said in Pollstar‘s recent cover story about the music industry’s embrace of streaming during the crisis. ““The mayor really wanted to, in a safe environment, try to keep the show going, so long as we could meet those stringent requirements.”