Nashville citizens signaled their outrage over the weekend as reports circulated that the Metro Nashville Government planned to permanently remove several mature country music performers from downtown Nashville on April 1st. The controversial move was confirmed by representatives of the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau in a press conference Saturday, noting that the culling of these longtime fixtures of Music City was a concession to allow for the upcoming NFL Draft event happening later in the month.
“The NFL Draft will be a major economic boon to Nashville” noted Convention and Visitors’ Bureau representative Harrison Pinsforth III. “We are eager to ensure the smoothest possible experience for the event, which we expect will not only pour vital tourism dollars into Davidson County coffers immediately, but also encourage other such short-term events to select Nashville as a destination as well. While we respect the role that many of our established country music singers and musicians play in contributing to the overall permanent ‘feel’ of downtown, their presence during the temporary draft event proved problematic for event planners. The decision was made to permanently remove these performers, many of whom are quite advanced in age and in some cases quite unhealthy, from the downtown area and to replace them after the event with new, younger, and more vibrant country acts.”
Some note that this specific action is not entirely out of character for the downtown area. Orville Sanfordly, a longtime resident of Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood, told The Rhinestone “This is how we’ve been treating everything that made this place special. It’s been happening for a long time. Just look at Broadway. They keep tearing down buildings or gutting out everything but the front of them and replacing them with some new theme-bar or highrise. Anything that we locals thought of as our own Music City is getting shoved aside to make room for pedal taverns and drunken hayrides. I mean, I know that a lot of the country greats might’ve did [sic] a lot of things they regretted, but I wonder if it’s still somehow a step down that I can stand in front of a candy store and look across the street to see a giant mural that says “Cadillac P***y”.
Despite the vocal opposition of residents, Metro Officials have explained that they remain undeterred in their intention to take this irreversible action in order to facilitate a one-time, three-day event. Pinsforth told reporters this afternoon “Nobody wants to simply hack-down a country artist in their prime for no good reason, but many of the singers in question are well past their prime and don’t serve to generate any tax revenue in the exceptional way that football does (excluding the Titans, of course). The CVB and Mayor’s Office acknowledge that many people will still be upset due to having personal, emotional attachments to these country icons which have been a downtown staple for so long, and that seeing them meet their demise will understandably generate some discontent. Yet, we firmly believe that this is ultimately for the long-term good of the community and that many people will enjoy the new country stars in time just as much as the ones which we will be striking down on Monday.”
When asked how this will affect the upcoming CMA Fest in June, an annual high-tourism-revenue event which frequently features established performers like the ones to be removed, Pinsforth indicated that “none of the singers or musicians to be removed were scheduled to be featured in this year’s event.”
Following exceptional public outcry, a statement was published on Mayor Briley’s social media accounts to address the controversy. Indicating an urge to compromise, the Mayor noted that plans to cut down the aging country stars are cancelled except in cases where the performer is exceptionally ill. The singers and musicians will still be removed from downtown and later replaced with younger acts, but healthy specimens of country music artistry will now instead be relocated unharmed and intact to other areas around the city. In a further act of concession, the CVB will reportedly import 200 more country artists to bolster the population of singers and musicians; analysts expect the overall populations of Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO to take a significant dip following this effort.
Picture of downtown Nashville and completely unrelated cherry blossom trees found at https://www.wkrn.com/top-news/mayor-briley-orders-cherry-blossom-trees-to-be-removed-intact-and-replanted-in-the-city/1888114225