Music

The Grand Ole Opry Will Allow Full-Capacity Crowds Beginning on May 14

The stage appears before the start of the 55th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

This Friday (May 14) marks the return of full-capacity crowds to Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House.

Per Memphis' WMC, "some COVID-19 protocols will remain in place, like enhanced cleaning and masks for all guests and staff."

As many as 4,372 country fans will see the lineup of Charles Esten, Lorrie Morgan, The Oak Ridge Boys, Michael Ray, Riders in the Sky and Brittney Spencer.

The Grand Ole Opry's weekly Saturday night broadcast has gone on uninterrupted throughout the pandemic, keeping the show on pace to reach 5,000 consecutive Saturday night broadcasts on Oct. 30.

The most recent (and by most accounts, only) cancelled Opry broadcast came two days after the April 4, 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. caused Nashville to enforce a 7 p.m. curfew.

No more than 500 fans returned to the Opry House's pews on Oct. 3, 2020 as the show kicked off its 95th birthday celebration.

"It feels like having 500 fans in the audience is the next step as we work to return from this pandemic," Dan Rogers, Opry executive producer, told the Tennessean.

The Sept. 2020 news came after sister venue the Ryman Auditorium started allowing small audiences at live shows while following COVID-19 precautions.

"We're learning from the Ryman," Rogers told the Tennessean. "It will be very, very similar and equally as safe."

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The Opry's Saturday night program went without a live audience from March 14 to Oct. 3, 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. In that span, performers included Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Luke Combs, Blake SheltonReba McEntireGarth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

The world's longest-running radio show can be heard on opry.comwsmonline.com and on SiriusXM satellite radio. You can also listen to Saturday broadcasts live on the Grand Ole Opry and WSM Radio mobile apps, and on its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM.

Now Watch: Opry Shows Are Back on Television

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The Grand Ole Opry Will Allow Full-Capacity Crowds Beginning on May 14