The ‘Cool History’ of The Nashville Municipal Auditorium—From Rock ‘n’ Roll, Wrestling to Trump

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The construction of the Municipal Auditorium Construction located at 417 4th Avenue North in Nashville, Tennessee began in 1957.
The location was previously home to the Bijou another theater, the Bijou, was used by African-American audiences prior to desegregation.

A bulldozer at the construction site in front of the Bijou Theatre in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, July 17th 1957. This entertainment venue, located at 423 Fourth Avenue N in downtown Nashville, was one of the first African American theatre chains in the south. It was razed in 1957 for construction of the new Municipal Auditorium.


It was torn down in 1957 to make way for the Municipal Auditorium.

The capacity of the auditorium is 9700 people and during a basketball game is will host 8,000.
The Nashville Municipal Auditorium is an indoor sports and concert venue in Nashville, which also houses the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

The auditorium was completed on October 7, 1962, the auditorium was the first public assembly facility in the Mid South with air conditioning.

 

 

 

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According to a Tennessean article, the first time the Rolling Stones played in Nashville the year was 1965, and the city’s hottest music venue for such headlining acts was Municipal Auditorium.

The Stones rocked the circular, domed venue just two years after it opened. In the ensuing 50 years, the band became the world’s greatest live act, but the arena lost its luster, reduced to hosting roller derbies, smaller circuses and dozens of concerts.

Seeking to reignite the proud old music venue where the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Elton John, Otis Redding, the Beach Boys, James Brown and Led Zeppelin graced its stage, key stakeholders are pushing for Metro to consider outsourcing the concert booking component of Municipal Auditorium.

The NMA hosted the 1994 United States Gymnastic Championships as well as the 1996 Tour of World Figure Skating Championships. The Auditorium has hosted minor league hockey, with the teams known as the Dixie Flyers, South Stars, Knights, Nighthawks, and Nashville Ice Flyers. It has also hosted minor league basketball – the former Nashville Stars and Music City Jammers, and women’s professional basketball – the Nashville Noise of the former (Women’s) American Basketball League. It was a home court for the Belmont Universitybasketball teams while Striplin Gym was demolished to make way for the Curb Event Center. Additionally, the NMA has hosted several Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournaments, and the Auditorium hosted the OVC again in 2008. From 2011 to 2015, the NMA again hosted the men’s and women’s OVC basketball tournaments in a new four-day tournament format, subsequently reduced back to a three-day affair featuring only the top eight teams for 2016 and 2017. The capacity is set around 8,000 during these tournaments. It currently hosts the annual Magnet Madness basketball game between rivals Hume-Fogg High School and Martin Luther King Magnet.

The Music City Stars, then known as the Nashville Broncs, an American Basketball Association expansion team, began its inaugural season at the NMA in November 2008.

The Professional Bull Riders association hosted a Built Ford Tough Series event at this venue from its inception in 1994 until 2001 (during this era the BFTS was known as the Bud Light Cup). In 2002, the event was moved to the Gaylord Entertainment Center (now the Bridgestone Arena). The NMA hosted Tuff Hedeman’s CBR All-Star Shoot-Out on June 10, 2009 and again in 2010.

It is currently home to the Nashville Rollergirls, a flat track roller derby league, and a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.

On November 6, 2013 the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) announced that an expansion team would bring indoor football back to the Nashville sports market. The Nashville Venom would begin PIFL play for the 2014 season in Municipal Auditorium. On July 12, 2014, the Venom won that year’s PIFL Championship Game defeating the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 64–43.[2] The team returned for a second season in 2015, after which the entire league folded.

Professional wrestling

Many Professional wrestling events were hosted in the arena including the NWA’s Wrestle War 89 which featured a world title change and voted match of the year by PWI, Ric Flair versus Ricky Steamboat. It also was the home for the World Wrestling Federation‘s (WWF) No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie pay-per-view (PPV) special held in December 1989 as well as the WWF’s In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks in 1995. It was a favorite venue over the years for WCW, which hosted its Starrcade 1994, 1995 and 1996 in addition to its final Clash of the Champions XXXV show there in 1997, as well as its penultimate PPV event, SuperBrawl Revenge, in 2001.

Masato Tanaka won his only ECW Heavyweight Championship by defeating Mike Awesome at Municipal at an ECW on TNN taping in December 1999. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling held their first events there in June 2002 before moving to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. The arena also hosted TNA Wrestling‘s Slammiversary (2007) and Lockdown (2012). The arena hosted the Ring of Honor event Honor for All.

Other events

The venue has hosted performances from genres such as alternative rock, rock ‘n’ roll, heavy metal, pop, R&B, urban, oldies and Hispanic concerts.

Michael Jackson performed with The Jackson 5 at the NMA on December 29, 1970, January 1 and August 6, 1972, August 8, 1973, and August 31, 1981.[citation needed] Elvis Presley performed two shows at the Nashville Auditorium on July 1, 1973.

In 1967, the auditorium hosted the Country Music Association‘s first CMA Awards event, before the ceremonies moved to the Ryman Auditorium the following year.

Due to the damage at Grand Ole Opry House due to the May 2010 Tennessee floods, the NMA hosted the June 8, 2010 edition of the Grand Ole Opry.[3]NMA also hosted an Opry show in 1973.

The 2022 CMT Music Awards were held at the NMA on April 11, 2022.

The walls of the upper and lower concourses are decorated with enlarged ticket stubs for events and concerts the auditorium has hosted between the venue’s debut in 1962 and 2010.

Political events

President Donald Trump appeared on March 15, 2017 for a rally and speech. According to a public address announcement in the venue, thousands more were unable to attend leaving empty seats in the upper level. This announcement was highly controversial as there was no evidence the upper level tickets were ever sold.

Musicians’ Hall of Fame and Museum

On June 4, 2013, the auditorium began housing the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum was forced from its previous building as a result of the construction of the Music City Center. The Hall of Fame moved into the exhibition floor of the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

 

Pictures of the Municipal Auditorium