HomeEntertainment2020 ACM Awards: Why Was the Show in Nashville?

2020 ACM Awards: Why Was the Show in Nashville?

by Jennifer Shea
Kevin Mazur

Last year, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This year, the ACM found a new setting: Nashville, Tennessee.

CBS broadcast the awards live from the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Café on Wednesday. It was ultimately a practical decision to hold them where many country music stars actually live, the Tennessean reported. 

Awards in Covid-19 era

The show made a number of concessions to Covid-19. Organizers postponed it from April 5. It had no audience. Performers had to convert their tour buses into dressing rooms. Nominees waited in the parking lot, to make sure that only one performer was inside at any given point. And the Bluebird Café was so small that the show had to host its production offices in the salon and dry cleaners next door.

“I think (bringing the show to Nashville) just signals that while we definitely have an initiative to connect the West Coast, Hollywood and the media world with country — and we’re going to continue to do that — the heartbeat of our organization is in Nashville, and needs to be in Nashville,” CEO Damon Whiteside told the Tennessean.

Nashville vs. the West

Still, Nashville represented a big change for the iconic event, which launched in Los Angeles and has taken place in Las Vegas most years since 2006. When the ACM began, it aimed to advance country music made out West rather than the sounds of Nashville, according to the Tennessean.

This marked the first time in the history of the awards that they’ve been held in Nashville. The 55th awards show featured many country music stars, among them Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett and Taylor Swift. 

The night was full of noteworthy moments, including a surprise result: a tie for the entertainer of the year award.