NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The 2021 event calendar in Middle Tennessee was packed, likely to make up for lost time.
Although big events didn't make their return until the middle of the year, one in particular broke a record. Nashville's "Let Freedom Sing!" Fourth of July celebration had an estimated attendance of 350,000.
"It was one of those moments when you stand on stage and look out and say 'they came back!'" said Deana Ivey of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. or NCVC produced the star-studded mid-summer event. It was the city's most well-attended of the year and organizers say it fell at the perfect time.
"We were in that in-between stage for the [COVID-19] surges," Ivey said.
Earlier in the year, Nashville did play host to major events like the Picasso exhibit at the Frist Art Museum and SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament. How the venues that hosted these events handled COVID-19 may have helped boost their pandemic numbers.
"They were quickly able to adjust and do things like timed entrances... at the Frist Museum or the zoo, and that allowed people to do things like social distancing and make people more comfortable going to those attractions," Ivey said.
Outdoor events dominated in 2021, like Chihuly's return to Cheekwood, the Music City Grand Prix, St. Jude Rock N Roll Marathon and NASCAR Champions Week.
Some industries actually moved big events to Music City too, like in the music industry with the ACM Awards.
The NCVC says Nashville was the place to be and will continue to be in 2022 because of new additions that opened this year, including the National Museum of African American Music.
"Our latest campaign is 'While You've Been Away We've Been Creating' because there are so many things that have been built!" Ivey said.
Next year is looking to be a big year too. In the next four months, Nashville will be on National TV for the following events:
- New Year’s Eve: Nashville’s Big Bash
- US Figure Skating (January)
- SEC Women’s Basketball (March)
- CMT Awards on CBS (April)