Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium Beef Up Security Measures
Two of country music's most popular venues are adding new features to keep fans and artists safe. The Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry House have announced new security measures, including metal detectors and enhanced bag checks.
As of Aug. 18, the venues have begun using walk-through metal detectors; fans have the option to be screened with handheld metal-detecting wands as well. In addition, guests are now subject to enhanced bag checks. These new security measures will apply to both concerts as well as daytime tours and backstage events; according to executives at both Nashville-area venues, the enhanced screening procedures come not because of any direct threat but in an effort to continue providing enjoyable, intimate and safe experiences for their clientele.
"One of the important qualities of the Grand Ole Opry is accessibility," Pete Fisher, vice president and general manager at the Opry, tells Music Row. "Country artists have always prided themselves on being accessible, and the Grand Ole Opry likes to showcase that accessibility with the unique backstage environment we offer, and we don’t want to take that away. We are just putting in prudent measures to make sure everyone is safe and secure, and everyone can enjoy that accessibility once they are in the building, as they have for years."
In addition to the new safety measures for visitors, new processes are also in place for performers and backstage personnel. Anyone entering backstage areas will be subject to screening and will need to show ID that matches the name on backstage lists.
When it comes to venue entry time, executives say that screening lines will still move quickly, but they are encouraging attendees to allow extra time for screening before daytime tours or nighttime performances. That said, the security measures at the Opry and Ryman shouldn't be anything new to fans who attend shows and events elsewhere.
"We fully expect this will become standard practice among all entertainment venues,” says Fisher. “We are not introducing any screening measures here that people are not used to when they go to a stadium, arena or an airport."