Nashville music landmarks devastated by floods; Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, more tweet their status. (Also: info on how to help!)

Nashville-music-floodingImage Credit: John Partipilo/The Tennessean/AP ImagesThe 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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Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • mary q contrary

    This is awful. I live in Louisville, and am harboring a family of good friends from Nashville until the coast is clear for them to return home. I just hate the whole situation.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for this post, Whitney — especially the specific ways to assist! My heart goes out to everyone affected. The wannabe archivist in me is pained to think of all that musical history at risk at the hall of fame and other legendary venues.

  • Jenny

    I live in Bowling Green, KY, which is about 45 minutes to an hour directly north of Nashville. We sit on two rivers (Barren and Green) and got hammered too. We picked up 10 inches of rain in about 36 hours. Nasvhille is getting all the press but there are other places that were hit too. I’m very lucky that I had only a few little drips come through my ceiling, but many in my area were not so lucky.

    • mary q contrary

      I know that you got it bad, but I live in Kentucky, too, albeit farther north, and to complain that Nashville is getting more coverage is ridiculous. They got it worse than anyone.

  • Sarah

    As someone who lived in Nashville until about a month ago and spent a lot of time at the places mentioned (particularly the Schermerhorn), this really saddens me. Thoughts go out to those affected by this. And as a musician, it makes me sick to think of those two pianos and that gorgeous organ that I loved to listen to lost.

  • Sarah L.

    I live in Franklin, TN (suburb of Nashville), and we were hit very hard as well. The Harpeth River flooded many houses in my neighborhood (although we were spared), and downtown Franklin was flooded as well. But, nothing is as bad as the terrible flooding of the Cumberland, which has continued to rise all day, despite the rain stopping yesterday afternoon. It has taken over the entire downtown area.. in addition to the landmarks you mentioned, the Titans stadium is flooded as well. It is sickening to see the Opryland Hotel under 10 feet of water, the Opry Mills Mall flooded, and the thousands of homes completely lost. This is a major devastation on par with Katrina, but the national press seems paltry. So, so sad.

    • t3hdow

      The storm’s indisputably bad, but saying it’s on par with Katrina is a little much. Katrina affected New Orleans on a much larger scale, and displaced most of its citizens in the process. In that regard, Nashville came out better. He11, one person I know who came from NOLA was apathetic with this storm, since she experienced floods like this on a regular basis. That’s not to say that this should trivialize what happened to Nashville over the weekend, but compared to Katrina, and especially compared to Haiti’s earthquake, it’s not quite as devastating.

      • Tina

        Of course you can only compare disasters by the statistics, and statistically, this doesn’t compare to Katrina but for the hundreds displaced and devastated by this flood with no warning, having to go through the clean up and rebuilding of homes and our city monuments, like LP Field and the Opryland Hotel, this is our Katrina.

      • Dntbstpd1

        Seriously t3hdow? Get off ur high horse. This is our Katrina, noone said anything about the Haiti earthquake at all. This is not hundreds of people displaced, think more thousands of people displaced. Sarah L. didn’t say it WAS Katrina, but that it was on par with the amount of devastation to our area. Yes, Nashville came out better, but only because we were somewhat prepared. However, regardless of how prepared we were, we received the most amt of rain for our area since records of such were kept. Thats a lot of rain!

  • Amy j

    Thank you very much Whitney for bringing attention to the sad situation in our beautiful soggy city.

  • Kate

    Ben Folds (@benfolds) has been twitpic-ing some really great pictures of the flooding. This damage is devastating to see and hear about

  • Emily

    Thank you for posting this! I’m from the Nashville area but arm away for grad school, being kept updated by my family. But it’s amazing how little coverage this is getting, so I’m glad to see this here!

  • t3hdow

    Another Nashvillian here, and yeah, the flooding has reached levels unseen in Nashville since…the 1940s. Yeah, it’s been THAT long, so it’s unsurprising that the city was completely unprepared for the storm that resulted over the weekend. I was fortunate to live somewhere unaffiliated by the storm (Brentwood, to be exact), but numerous others weren’t quite as lucky. My condolences to the deceased and the displaced. Downtown Nashville, as stated by several others, is a complete mess, Ashland City is almost completely submerged, and Antioch also got hit pretty hard. The timing is also bad for Tennessee State University students who’re about to graduate (myself included), since the ceremony is scheduled for Saturday. I wonder how that’s going to be handled in the midst of the storm, and if out-of-state families can even get here…
    But hey, NOLA residents had it a lot worse during Katrina, so if they can pull through their ordeal, Nashville will certainly survive.

    • mary q contrary

      You, sir, are a well-spoken class act. Good luck on your graduation!

  • Janna Banana

    ridiculous pic of the inside of the Grand Ole Opry, courtesy of Nashvillest twitter:

  • Libraryellen

    There are so many ways people can help. I volunteer with the Second Harvest Food Bank in Antioch and we were slammed yesterday by needy families. Find out how to donate food etc. at and thank you for caring.

  • Michelle

    I live in Murfreesboro, 30 miles south of Nashville, but I work in the city. Everything’s fine at my house, but to see my favorite places underwater is so very, very sad. I have friends who’ve lost everything in the flooding. Chin up Nashville, we’ll make it!

  • Bethany

    I don’t want to sound petty or ungrateful for all that is going on in Tennessee and those affected. I truly can appreciate what they are going through. The loss of your belongings is heartbreaking. My family is still recovering in Rhode Island. A small state in the north that was dramatically affected. My inlaws small cul de sac was reduced to a lake with houses in the middle. The local mall is no more and probably will open with half the stores in 6 months. As I read the above article, I got the impression that the country music community would be pulling together to raise money for those in need which is expected because I find the country music community has more heart than other music communities. I love country music and the artists but why weren’t we thought of when the water flooded us. Good Luck Tennessee.

  • Janina Sandoval

    Its amazing that Reba McEntire and Melissa Peterman did this I’ve been following their tweets since yesterday. and I got inspired and donate to the Red Cross Via text. you can to TEXT Red Cross to 90999. $10 dollars is better than nothing.

  • Susie

    It is a real shame what our beautiful South is going through right now. All of this flooding and the oil in the Gulf. I am in Louisiana and we are bracing ourselves as well. We all need a lot of prayer right now as we will be praying for those in Nashville and surrounding areas that were flooded.

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