By Jason Luntz
Thousands of people celebrated the opening of the Music City Center for the second day on Monday. The $585 million convention center is the newest in the country and Nashville’s most expensive project to date.
Events for the grand opening began on Sunday, as the doors to the Music City Center opened to give the public their first chance to see inside. Monday morning followed with a ribbon cutting ceremony and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean delivering his annual state of metro from the convention lobby.
Monday evening opened with a public open house allowing visitors to do guided tours for the entire location.
“Yesterday we had an estimate of 15,000 visitors,” explained tour guide and guest experience manager Regina Hicks. “We usually have a staff of five to hold tours, but hired from a local event planning firm to help with this amount of people.”
As Hicks led the tour, she pointed out various art work both commissioned and purchased for the center. Guests also learned design, sustainability, and construction facts.
Situated in the SoBro area of city, the 2.1 million square feet center takes up 16 acres or six city blocks.
Nashville residents were also treated to a free outside concert. Performances included The Time Jumpers with Vince Gill, Mikky Ekko, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, and headliner Sheryl Crow.
Mayor Dean addressed the crowd and explained how excited he was for the future of Nashville. He went into detail of how much business the convention center would bring to the downtown area as well as the city as a whole.
The mayor then announced that one million room nights have been booked because of events that have committed to using the new center. This was a goal set by city planners nearly three years ago as a realistic target for Nashville hospitality businesses.
As the outside entertainment continued throughout the night, visitors were able to buy drinks at various mini bars outside the convention center. Nearly 15 food trucks, parked across the street, provided food for purchase.
The grand opening was organized by the Mayor’s Office, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. and the Nashville Convention Center Authority.