Nashville Venues Flooding Update

5 May

Historic rainfalls dumped more than 11 inches of water on Nashville over the weekend, flooding sports and entertainment venues, just as the peak tourist season begins. Reporter Liz Boardman sends this update on Music City venues.

Bridgestone Arena — Home to the Nashville Predators, the arena experienced about a foot of flooding on its event level, mostly from storm drains backing up, said David Kells, director of Marketing. The arena is dark until May 22 when it hosts James Taylor and Carole King, and Kells said he fully expects the facility to be ready for the show.

LP Field — Water levels reached the edge of several of the stadiums practice fields, explained Robbie Bohren, the team’s director of media relations. The team’s athletic fields were covered with water that reached the first row of bleachers. A power outage at a nearby electric substation cut the stadiums ability to pump water, flooding the service entrance and then the field.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center — The phones are down at this $123.5 million facility that opened in 2006, but according to the website, “essential equipment in the basement of Schermerhorn Symphony Center has experienced considerable damage.” The Tennessean newspaper is reporting the venue lost two Steinway grand pianos and a $2.5 million organ.

Gaylord Opryland Resort — This was one of the hardest hit facilities. On Sunday, approximately 1,500 Opryland Resort guests and employees were evacuated by bus to a nearby shelter. The resort sits adjacent to the Cumberland River and is protected by levees built to sustain a 100-year flood event. Still, on Monday, the river breached the levees, forcing the resort to close. Gaylord officials expect the hotel will be closed for several months, according to a release issued Monday. The Company carries business interruption and property insurance associated with flood damage with an aggregate limit of $50 million. But the impact is likely to be felt citywide. The hotel provides 12 percent of the city’s hotel rooms, and as much as a fourth of its convention business.

Grand Ole Opry — Tuesday night’s performance moved to the War Memorial Auditorium downtown, and weekend performances will move to the Ryman Auditorium, also in downtown Nashville and the historic home of the radio show. Both venues are on higher ground and were not damaged. The last time the Opry had to relocate was in 1975 to Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, just one year after the opening of the Grand Ole Opry House. That move was also caused by Cumberland River flooding.

Country Music Hall of Fame — According to its website, the Country Music Hall of Fame suffered damage, although no exhibits were in danger. Water reportedly reached the third row of the Ford Theater in the museum’s lower level.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center — The worst flooding was on the riverfront and lower Broadway, one of the city’s main arteries. TPAC sits on higher ground, and was spared, said Amanda Virgillito Saad, spokeswoman. Performances of “A Chorus Line,” which runs May 4 to 9, will go on as scheduled.

Belcourt Theatre — “We’re okay,” said Managing Director Stephanie Silverman. “We closed on Sunday because staff couldn’t make it to the theatre and it just wasn’t safe for patrons to be out driving. We were sure we’d have tons of flooding in our old building, but our sump pump saved the day.”

Nashville Municipal Auditorium — GM Robert Skoney said his team was currently searching for sump pumps – which have become nearly impossible to find in the metropolitan area – to remove two inches of water in the engine room. The flooding there knocked out the electrical transformers, causing a power outage. With electricity out and water in limited supply, Skoney was waiting a day or two until deciding if Friday’s performance of the play, “After the Love is Gone,” could go on.

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