I’ve been up in Nashville since Saturday, participating in the NACA National Conference. This is my fourth time visiting Nashville and I like it more every time I come. The conference is taking place at Opryland. I’d never been to that area of Nashville on my other visits so I was curious to check it out.
The Opryland Resort & Conference center, if you haven’t been, is best described as something halfway between Disneyworld and an old southern mansion. The hotel has narrow, nearly-hidden hallways of rooms off of countless little stairways, lobbies and balconies. There are lovely lanterns lighting the halls. It’s really quite beautiful. That said, I’m really glad I’m not staying at the hotel because it reminds me of a well-maintained version of The Overlook Hotel and I wouldn’t want to have to find my way to my room after midnight.
In between the hotel and the actual conference center is a “conservatory” that houses several shops and restaurants under an enormous glass roof. It’s also home to a series of indoor waterfalls, fountains, and plantlife. I spent a good half hour when I first got there roaming around that area and admiring the set up. There are a total of three indoor gardens, each with a different theme. It’s very well planned out and has probably hundreds of different types of plants. Guests can even ride in a riverboat along the indoor river path. One couple I saw was enjoying a romantic Valentine’s day dinner on one of the boats.
While extremely lovely, especially at night, the indoor gardens prove difficult to navigate. The occasional directory maps are entirely unhelpful. In fact, instead of “You are here,” it should say, “Welcome back,” because I’ve walked in a big circle on more than one occasion trying to get somewhere.
Luckily, I’m not the only one having navigational issues. There are usually plenty of folks wandering around with a sort of glassy look in their eyes, and I can commisserate with them. Eventually I end up in the place I’m looking for, but often not without help. I’m sure I’ll have the whole place figured out immediately before I have to leave.
The conference itself has been a whirlwind, and a strong reminder that I’m not eighteen anymore. The students spend their days in panels and classes on leadership and campus activity planning. In the evenings, they come visit all the entertainers who have booths in the marketplace and gather information. We generally have about an hour to make an impression, give them our demos, and hopefully inspire them to book us for the following school year. My college booking agency, High Note Partners, represents four songwriters and we’re all up here meetin’ and greetin’ folks. It’s been really fun, but takes a ton of energy.
Today I’ve had some time to hang around Nashville and visit one of my favorite spots, Fido. They have awesome food and coffee drinks (and free WiFi!) and a really cool atmosphere. I try to come here every time I’m in town.
Later on, I’m hoping to play the open mic at the Bluebird Cafe. Signup is at 5:30 and the line is usually already long by then, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a spot, so wish me luck.
That’s all for now. If you happen to be at NACA National and see me walking around with a dazed look on my face, please take a moment to help me out before I make three laps around Delta Island.