GMA Week: Ryman vs Hilton
So it’s the Gospel Music Association’s annual GMA week in Nashville - the chance for all things Christian music to be spit-shined, showcased, celebrated, branded, and shamelessly promoted (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The big event is, of course, Wednesday night’s Dove Awards (the Christian Grammies). But leading up to that is a series of showcases and other programming of varying degrees of visibility and synergy.
Southern gospel garners just about as much attention during this week as it does any other time of the year (which is to say, not much), so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Tuesday night Southern Gospel Music Guild concert at the
Hyatt Hilton is going up against the “Opry at the Ryman Songs of Faith Signature Show.” Jeff and Sheri Easter are scheduled to play BOTH gigs. I guess since the former starts at 7 p.m. and the latter at 8 p.m. and the venues are only a few blocks apart, it’s possible this isn’t a misprint. But you can guess which event they’ll skip if there’s a conflict (just as I’m sure you can guess which of the two XM enLighten 34, sg’s sat-rad station, has decided to broadcast live). Don’t worry though. Whether they play the Hyatt or not, the Easters will be “honored” at the Harmony Honors Celebration Concert, along with just about every other sg big name that could be larded onto the promotional material for the event.
This is some quintessential sg right here: using an up-ticket artist’s name to promote a downticket event at a hotel ballroom whose few hundred seats rarely ever fill up, while that same headlining group plays one of the most storied venues in American music a few blocks away.
I’ll be in Nashville later tomorrow and Wednesday and I’m hoping to do some blogging while I’m there. Stay tuned.
Update: reader Eric says reservations are filling up for the Hilton event so maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised this year. But unless this is a very different kind of venue than the one I remember, my underlying point stands: judging by GMA week programming, sg as an industry seems to fulfill the image of itself in the wider world of music entertainment with small bore events aimed mainly at insiders.
Later update: a friend who knows just emailed to say there are 500 seats available for the Tuesday night thing and already most/all are reserved. Impressive.Email this Post