The tragic flooding of the Cumberland River in Nashville has taken a toll on the city’s country music scene, with both landmarks and artists being affected as the waters rose after storms that killed 22 people in the Southeast over the weekend. The river is expected to crest today at 11 feet over the flood line; sadly, more damage is expected.
The venerable Grand Ole Opry has been forced to relocate shows for the first time since 1975, due to water damage at its Opryland complex. You can see some photos of the scene on the Opry’s Facebook page, linked here. No confirmation is available on the exact damage to the Opry House itself, though sources say there’s three feet of water covering the stage — UPDATE: Nashvillest posted a heartbreaking photo on their Twitter account (thanks, commenter Janna) — and ten feet of floodwater filled the Opryland Hotel yesterday. Although the Ryman Auditorium downtown is safe (and will host one of the relocated Opry shows this week), the bars and clubs on 2nd Avenue are underwater, as is Sommet Center Bridgestone Arena, home to the annual CMA and CMT Awards shows. Across the street, the Country Music Hall of Fame reports five feet of water in a mechanical room, and some damage to a theater in their building. The Tennessean is posting updates to venue closings, as well as fundraising efforts already underway.
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home to the Nashville Symphony, has 15 feet of water in the basement putting instruments at risk; they’ve reportedly already lost two pianos and their organ. (The flooding of symphonies is a tragedy that hits particularly close to home for your blogger.)
Nashville’s most famous human residents were on the scene as the waters rose, and many of them took to the Twitter to update their fans. “On the positive side everyone is safe. On the negative… I think all my road guitar gear, amps, effects, are under 3 ft of river,” tweeted Brad Paisley, who noted that his main ’68 Fender guitar was safe and dry. “Not complaining though. Very very thankful to have weathered this. Prayers go out to anyone in these dire situations,” he wrote.
Dierks Bentley was forced to cancel two shows after the waters rose, and was posting pictures of his efforts to bail out the basement yesterday. “Hate to cancel shows…might be a first. but nashville is a disaster. all of our houses are messed up,” he tweeted. (Montgomery Gentry and Alison Krauss & Union Station also cancelled shows.) “You should see the back porch… it’s like a waterfall at Rock City,” read the official Little Big Town twitter, and Laura Bell Bundy tweeted, “Crap! Crap! Crap! Water is leaking thru my walls… puddles on my floor…” David Nail lamented, “Absolutely blown away by these pics of my city! Wasn’t anticipating having to reach for the wallet so soon after buying our home!” Plenty of other artists including Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Chesney, and James Otto tweetered prayers, links to photos, and encouragement to donate and help out the town however you can. Comedian Melissa Peterman auctioned off a George Strait t-shirt she wore on tour with the King, and both she and Reba McEntire matched the winning bid, raising $6000 for the Red Cross; other celebrities are sure to get in on the fundraising efforts as the days go by.
Of course, the hardest hit victims of the Cumberland River flood aren’t likely to be the rock stars. If you’d like to help out those in need, we join the folks at Country Aircheck in suggesting that donations be sent to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Flood Relief fund, or to the Nashville chapter of the Red Cross, and locals can contact Hands on Nashville to volunteer. You can also text Red Cross to 90999 to donate $10 to relief efforts for Nashvegas, equally-stricken Mississippi, and other surrounding states. Finally, we thank Country Aircheck for this weather-related video, which is kind of hilarious, if not for delicate eyes.
Feel free to use the comments to post information, links, fundraising information, or prayers for those affected. We’ll continue to update this post with information as it happens. And all of us here at the Music Mix are wishing one of our favorite towns in all the world (and everyone in it) a speedy recovery.
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter:@EWMusicMix.)
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