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In the cradle of country music, the Grand Ole Opry has been the biggest show in town for over 80 years. A weekly showcase for the brightest stars and most promising up-and-comers of country, the Opry still goes on the air every Saturday night, broadcast live from the 4400-seat Grand Ole Opry House.
The Opry’s home until 1976, the historic Ryman Auditorium remains one of Nashville’s best performing arts venues, despite the fact that the show has passed on. Over the years, legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline, among countless other, have graced the Ryman’s stage. And even over a century after its construction, the theatre is still winning awards—Pollstar Magazine named the Ryman National Theatre of the Year for both 2003 and 2004 and it been consistently honored as one of the world’s most acoustically perfect venues.
That isn’t to say that the Nashville is totally dominated by its country. You can find oodles of non-country acts playing at the many live music venues throughout the city, including bluegrass at the Station Inn, singer songwriter shows at the Bluebird Cafe, and rock & indie acts at venues like the Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom, City Hall, Exit/In, and the Basement. Weekly music listings can be found via the internet through local entertainment magazines such as the Nashville Scene and the Rage. During the summer in Centennial Park you can jitterbug and swing to free live music at the Big Band Dances on Friday nights. Free lessons are offered each week before the music starts.
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center , the largest performing arts center in the city, hosts an wide range of performances, and is the home of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre , the Nashville Opera , and Nashville Ballet . The Nashville Symphony Orchestra performs in the newly built Schermerhorn Symphony Center just a block from lower Broadway. The iconic Nashville Parthenon acts as a grand stage for performances of classical masterpieces during the summer months. Just a short walk from the Parthenon, the Centennial Park band shell is home each year to the Nashville Shakespeare Festival.