Grand Ole Opry to Mark Its 5000th Saturday Night Broadcast

Tune in October 30 to be a part of country history.

Written by Chris Parton
Grand Ole Opry to Mark Its 5000th Saturday Night Broadcast
Opry members Carly Pearce and Marty Stuart start the official countdown clock to the Opry's 5,000th Saturday night broadcast; Photo credit: © Grand Ole Opry, photos by Chris Hollo

The Grand Ole Opry will celebrate its foundational role in country with a historic milestone this fall, marking its 5000th Saturday-night broadcast with a wide group of country stars.

Highlighting the iconic, live-country-music program’s long-standing appeal — and impressive longevity — three generations of artists will take the Opry House stage in Nashville on October 30.

Among those slated to perform include those from across the country music timeline. Artists with roots going back to the 1950s and ’60s like Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely will grace the stage, as they often do, and the lineup will move forward through time from there. Connie Smith, The Gatlin Brothers, Terri Clark and Vince Gill will also appear, and so will current hit makers like Chris Janson and Chris Young, helping pull the thread of Opry history into the present. More are expected to be announced as the date approaches, and it’s all meant to highlight the Grand Ole Opry’s enduring role.

Many music lovers who aren’t familiar with country may wonder why the Opry is still important — or even around — since it’s primarily a radio broadcast with an old-school format. But its beloved place in the country industry is due to what it represents (the dreams of country artists), and its direct connection to the past.

The show began in Nashville in 1925 as a radio barn dance, helping sell insurance, but it steadily grew into a popular variety-style show, beamed out to much of the U.S. with a 50,000-watt signal. Its massive coverage area made it a precursor to today’s nationwide TV shows and globe-spanning social media platforms, with fans from all over the country tuning into the same thing. Many of those fans ended up becoming stars in their own right, and that cycle continues today, with the Grand Ole Opry still broadcasting. Carly Pearce was recently inducted as the newest full member. And on Tuesday night (August 17), rising talent Tiera made her Opry debut.

In fact, the Opry has only missed two Saturday night broadcasts since launching: In 1945, following the death of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in 1968, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. It continued through the Great Depression, World War II, two Nashville floods and, most recently, the global pandemic, and at a press conference about the 5000th show celebration, Opry member Marty Stuart helped explain the value in that.

“In a world of constant change … we all long for something that we can hang on to,” Stuart said, according to The Tennessean. “That gives us a source of comfort, a source of steadiness, something we can count on.” 

“For 5,000 Saturday nights, the Opry has stood as a beacon not just for generations of listeners seeking top-notch entertainment, but for artists with big dreams and even bigger talent,” said Scott Bailey, President of Opry Entertainment Group. “This stage has witnessed some of the most iconic moments in country music – debuts, duets, and everything in between – and it deserves celebrating. We’re excited for country music fans around the world to be able to join us for this historic occasion.”

Tickets for the 5000th Grand Ole Opry Saturday night show are still available, and the broadcast will be available to stream live on Circle, including its Circle All Access Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels.