The Bluebird Cafe reopens after 16 months

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Posted at 7:50 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 23:47:13-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After 16 long months, The Bluebird Cafe finally opened its doors for live performances again.

Like other venues, The Bluebird Cafe closed back in March of 2020 at the start of the pandemic. The Bluebird’s general manager and chief operating officer Erika Wollam Nichols says in a lot of ways, reopening Friday night is like opening a new business.

It was a familiar sight, as music fans lined up outside the venue hours before the show started. Some were long-time loyal customers, while others were visitors hoping to see the inside the iconic venue for the first time. The first four live shows sold out in one minute.

"It's been 532 days since I've been here," said Adam Conner, a long-time Bluebird customer. "This is one of the most magical places in town."

If you are coming to a show, things will work a little bit differently. For starters, typically the performers are in the middle of the room, but now they will all be on stage – and while there are usually four, there will now be three.

They have also scaled back seating and looked at cleaning measures and filters to make the room look and feel safe.

When it comes to the performers, if you are a longtime Bluebird fan, you may see some familiar faces. Nichols says they have been performing here for years. She hopes everybody will give them a little bit of grace as they reopen the iconic venue.

“Our fans are a big part of the community the writers are our staff, and so I really believe that we are all in this together to get the Bluebird open and to be able to have the kind of experience that people expect from us,” said Nichols.

Nichols says 95% of their staff is back and says many have been connected to the Bluebird for over 20 years.

When asked about the decision to reopen now, Nichols says it started to look viable after the CDC made changes when it comes to vaccinated people.

For songwriters and musicians, the reopening represents another step toward returning to normal.

"It's an opportunity to play," said P-E-Z, a Nashville songwriter. "A lot of us have been starving for money because there was no place to play."

The Bluebird is currently offering live shows Fridays through Mondays until the end of the month. Employees hope to add additional shows starting in August.