Visiting… Grand Ole Opry

Nashville, Tennessee


The Grand Ole Opry is the show that made country music famous, and how it earned that reputation is quite a tale. It began on the night of Nov. 28, 1925, when an announcer on Nashville radio station WSM introduced fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on a new show called The WSM Barn Dance. Now, more than 90 years later, that show is still going strong. Along the way, it has launched countless country music careers and led the way for Nashville to become known as Music City.

Early Opry performers such as Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Ernest Tubb, and Bill Monroe became musical foundations for the Opry
during its years in residence at the historic Ryman Auditorium, later welcoming to its
stage artists who would become entertainment icons including Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Bill Anderson.

The Opry said goodbye to the Ryman Auditorium on Friday night, March 15, 1974. The next night, President Richard Nixon joined Roy Acuff on stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. Still, the Opry kept in touch with the traditions of the Ryman—a six-foot circle of hardwood was taken from the Ryman and placed center stage at the Opry House.

Today, the magic continues. Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, and Carrie Underwood are among the stars who are part of the Opry family. Thousands of people make pilgrimages every year to see and hear them or to take a backstage tour of the famous house, while millions tune in to enjoy the Grand Ole Opry via 650 WSM, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, syndicated radio, mobile apps, or on the website For more than 4,600 (and counting) consecutive Saturday nights, the Grand Ole Opry has rung out on the airwaves and is the world’s longest-running radio show.

Dolly Parton performing
Grand Ole Opry House stage and famed Ryman Circle of wood