For the first time in its history, the ACM Awards are coming to Nashville. The Academy of Country Music announced Monday that it will hold its 2020 awards show in Nashville on Sept. 16. The show will take place at three Nashville venues: the Ryman Auditorium, the Bluebird Cafe and the Grand Ole Opry House. The move comes after the Academy was forced to postpone its 2020 ceremony — originally planned for April 5 in Las Vegas — due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACM CEO Damon Whiteside made the announcement at Nashville Mayor John Cooper's Monday news conference. "Being in Music City allows us to honor a rich legacy at the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe," Whiteside said. Whiteside said the decision on whether the broadcast will include a live audience would be announced at a later date. The show will broadcast live from the Bluebird Cafe and Opry House, but segments at the Ryman Auditorium will be taped in advance.
The ACM clarified this point Monday afternoon after questions were raised about the annual Americana Honors & Awards Show, which is still scheduled to take place at the Ryman on September 16. The awards’ first-ever move to Nashville comes more than 50 years after its founding. Originally named the Country and Western Music Academy, it sought to promote the country music made in the Western states — in contrast to the music made in Nashville.
As that distinction has faded in mainstream country music, the organization’s Nashville presence has grown. For the last decade, it has held its annual ACM Honors ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium.
The ACM Awards will air at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday, Sept. 16, on CBS.
- Dave Paulson, Nashville Tennessean