Our Story

Welcome to the True Home of Country Music

We’re humbled to be celebrating our 95th birthday in 2020, and happy to share the secret to both our old age and our youthful spirit: play it loose, make it fun, honor the music, and whatever happens onstage, roll with it. In that spirit, this show has not only witnessed country music’s biggest moments; it has been the catalyst. Johnny Cash met June Carter at the Opry, Bill Monroe and his band invented bluegrass on the Opry stage, and our many unexpected guests —  from Paul McCartney to Bill Murray to Pharrell Williams  —  have made our one-night-only shows truly unforgettable.

Dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present, the Grand Ole Opry showcases a mix of country legends and the current chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps. The Opry – an American icon and Nashville, Tennessee’s number-one attraction – is world-famous for creating one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences for audiences of all ages at the Opry House, or broadcast on WSM Radio and around the world on Circle TV.

The Show that Made Country Music Famous

It began on the night of November 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 80 years later, the show that George D. Hay started is still going strong. Along the way, it has launched countless country music careers and led the way for Nashville to become 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 the stage artists who would become entertainment icons in their own right, including Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Bill Anderson.

The Opry said goodbye to the Ryman Auditorium on Friday, March 15, 1974, to take up residence at the newly built Grand Ole Opry House. The next night, President Richard Nixon joined Roy Acuff on stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. Still, they could keep in touch with the traditions of the Ryman because a 6-foot circle of hardwood was taken from the Ryman and placed center stage at the Opry House.

The Next Generation

Today, the Grand Ole Opry is more than the world’s longest running broadcast, and bigger than a country music tradition. It’s a star-studded, living, breathing family. Our stage serves as a milestone for every country artist, and officially asking some of the greatest performers into the Opry family is one of our highest honors.

The Opry has truly stood the test of time through depressions, wars, floods, and pandemics, and continues to keep the music playing and the iconic Circle unbroken. Now, the Opry connects artists to fans across the globe to the music they love.

It’s been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.” Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make pilgrimages across town or around the world to the Grand Ole Opry to see the show live. Millions more tune in to Opry broadcasts via a mobile app, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the Opry’s radio home WSM Radio, and our broadcast across the globe on Circle TV and Circle On Demand.