Along with some exciting names from country and beyond, Pardi will headline a massive street party in the middle of Nashville’s honky-tonk row on October 5, taking over Lower Broadway for a free concert with a history of surprise appearances.
Set to engulf Broadway between 4th and 5th Avenues for a rain or shine show, Tootsie’s 60th birthday bash will feature Jon Pardi, plus a whole day of musical performances. Country talent like Montgomery Gentry, Colt Ford, Chase Rice, Randy Houser, and Mitch Rossell will also be on hand, as well as Nashville rapper Jelly Roll — and those are just the officially-announced guests.
Although the main show starts at 5 p.m., the music begins at Noon with plenty of the cover-band fun that has helped make Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge a must-visit stop on so many Nashville vacations. In its early years, Tootsie’s was also a favored watering hole for stars taking a break in between sets at the Grand Ole Opry — which is just across Tootsie’s back alley — and so, the yearly birthday bash often draws big surprise guests as well. Years past have seen Dierks Bentley, Kid Rock, Jamey Johnson and more show up, and Tootsie’s owner Steve Smith is hinting that the same may happen this time.
“Tootsie’s Birthday Bash has become one of the most highly-anticipated annual events on Lower Broadway. Each year it gets bigger and better,” Smith says. “Many artists started at Tootsie’s, and having them come back year after year is a great honor to the legacy and memory of Tootsie Bess! Everyone should come out and experience that magic on our birthday!”
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge was founded in 1960 by Hattie Louise “Tootsie” Bess, who bought a run down bar called “Mom’s” and named it for herself. According to legend, it was mistakenly painted purple — which was quickly adopted as the honky tonk’s signature. Standing at 422 Broadway in downtown Nashville, it developed a reputation for catering to struggling musicians before they made it big, with Bess often allowing her favorites to keep a running tab in lean times. Artists like Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson were famously on that list, and the bar is now covered in photos of its celebrity patrons. Today, it’ a tourist haven and the sometimes home of surprise performances by Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Hank Williams Jr. and more.