Parnassus Books is thrilled to welcome Stephen W Phillips for a discussion of Opryland USA.
By the late 1960s, the Ryman Auditorium - the fifth home of the Grand Ole Opry - was a deteriorating firetrap in a seedy part of Nashville, yet it still attracted thousands of people each weekend to the “show that made country music famous.” In an effort to develop an attraction that could sustain a larger Opry all week long, Opryland was born. Opryland USA operated from May 27, 1972, until December 31, 1997, attracting millions of visitors each year and giving many celebrities their first taste of show business. The park consisted of nine areas, dozens of rides, and Broadway-caliber shows featuring live bands and orchestras. As the “Home of American Music,” Opryland USA still lives on in the hearts and minds of those who visited its wooded trails, lazy streams, exciting attractions, and toe-tapping performances.
Stephen W. Phillips, a former Gaylord Entertainment executive, is a Tennessee native and recognized Opryland Theme-park historian. He is an academic of all attractions but has collected Opryland-related memorabilia and artifacts his entire life. In 1995, Phillips created the first website dedicated to a single theme-park attraction, CHAOS at Opryland USA.