Rock Nashville: Transforming music city’s entertainment landscape

Lifting the lid on Rock Lititz’s plans for a major project to support Nashville's dynamic live entertainment scene.

When it comes to touring acts, the performers on stage represent only a small portion of the team essential for its success. Behind the scenes, there’s a myriad of technical workers – from lighting and set designers to sound engineers, videographers, choreographers, and production managers – all of whom are artists. They rely on specialised software, equipment, and facilities to bring their creative visions to life. Until now, Nashville has lacked a purpose-built space tailored to the unique needs of these professionals. However, that’s about to change, thanks to the team behind Rock Lititz. Andrea Shirk, President and CEO of Rock Lititz, reveals in an exclusive interview with TPi’s Jacob Waite, the details of an upcoming large-scale development project aimed at providing a home for Nashville’s vibrant live entertainment community.

What makes Nashville the perfect place to set up shop?

“Nashville is quickly growing into a global hub of entertainment activity. Many strong live entertainment companies have a presence here, and the industry only continues to grow alongside the city. As country acts have gone global, the Nashville community has thrived. Ten to 20 years from now when people go ‘what is the number one music city in North America’ – it’s going to be Nashville. Being able to offer the live entertainment industry a product that’s the calibre of Rock Lititz, in the hometown of so many in the industry, is great and is something we’re all thrilled to make happen. The Rock Nashville campus will provide community, resources, and a place to call home for this growing industry.”

How has the Rock Nashville team sought input from local and the wider live entertainment professionals to ensure the campus meets their specific needs?

“Rock Nashville was born from listening to the needs of the live entertainment community. We have a lot of respect for Nashville, its history, and its roots. So, while we are bringing something that is newer and more modern to that space, we’re going to do it in a way that matches the current expectations of the environment while making sure we’re being a good partner. This is why we have decided to partner with Soundcheck and Clair Global. They do have a deep understanding of how the Nashville community works with both playing active roles in the city for 30+ years. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel; we’re trying to support the natural evolution of the community.”

“Soundcheck is the nucleus of the upcoming Nashville campus – a space where all the other production companies come and physically collaborate in person with the artist and make their visions come to life. Soundcheck had this idea for a long time, but the Nashville live entertainment community is driving it all. We’re happier to be the facilitator in creating the centralised home for artists to imagine, build, and rehearse their shows.”

Are there any community outreach programmes or initiatives planned to involve Nashville residents in the development process?

“40,000 Nashville residents work in Live Entertainment, and they are the heart of what this campus is all about. The crews working behind the scenes, many of whom call Nashville home, will be our guests daily. Their input has been critical to the design of the facilities. One of the other main goals was to design a space that will support local acts playing Nashville so they will work beside some of the largest in the business.

Can you elaborate on the educational opportunities that Rock Nashville plans to offer to support the growth and development of professionals in the live entertainment industry?

“We are committed to enhancing the live entertainment industry. That includes taking some of the education events that we have done in Lititz and bringing those to Nashville and working to grow the community there in the same way. Rock Lititz currently hosts annual conferences for youth ranging from high school juniors to young professionals to explore careers backstage in the live entertainment industry and has recently launched the Academy of Live Technology (ALT).”

“Rock Nashville will offer educational opportunities to the local youth and has partnered with Blackbird Academy to bring education to the heart of the Nashville campus too. With collaboration at the heart of what we do, we will continue to support that same long-term vision for the next generation of live industry leaders and professionals by identifying spaces we can enrich and enhance the skills of industry professionals.”


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In what ways will Rock Nashville contribute to the cultural and artistic fabric of Nashville beyond providing rehearsal and production spaces?

“The Rock Nashville team is passionate about supporting the healthy development of the live entertainment community and helping raise awareness about careers and opportunities for interested individuals of all ages. We exist to serve the industry. We want to continue to be that facilitator and that listener so we can create connections in Nashville and expand our industry community even more. We want to create relationships, energy, and collaboration all year long for those who work within live entertainment. Rock Lititz, and now Rock Nashville, are about creating an environment and a space for the industry to do that. We care about the industry of today, but we’re also looking forward to 30, 40, and 50 years from now and how we can support now what the industry is evolving into.

“Additionally, The SoundCheck team has a long history of partnering with local non-profits like the NashvilleRescue Mission and Last-Minute Toy Storage to support the Nashville community. They plan to continue that spirit of giving during the transition and in their new location. The Rock Nashville project donated $25,000 to the District II scholarship fund earlier this year and plans to donate another $25,000 upon the completion of the project. Rock Nashville will also engage with a local art non-profit to provide opportunities for local artists to participate in beautification projects.”

What measures are in place to ensure that Rock Nashville remains accessible and inclusive to professionals from diverse backgrounds and experiences?

“Our industry has evolved tremendously but we have a lot of work ahead of us to do when it comes to embracing a culture of care, diversity, leadership, and skills. Just hiring people that are diverse is not the problem. Creating a company that can make diverse people successful is the challenge. Our Experience Live events are targeted to help increase access to diverse and disadvantaged youth and having more locations to do this, now Lititz and Nashville, allows us to increase our reach and impact.”

Can you share any details about the wellness resources and support services that will be available to professionals utilising the Rock Nashville campus?

“At Rock Lititz we have Rock Med, a concierge medical service that focuses on the production community. For Rock Nashville, we are hoping to partner locally to bring Rock Med to this community as well. We have also established an incredible relationship with the team at Amber Health, who are on-site in Lititz frequently providing mental health support to our crews and offering training and resources to our team. We are excited to continue that relationship in Nashville.”

How does Rock Nashville intend to integrate sustainable practices into its operations and design to minimise its environmental impact on the local community?

“We are in the process of putting solar panels on the roofs of our buildings and adding geothermal capabilities and are on track to covering the electrical needs of the campus through alternative energy. We have also partnered with the Music Sustainability Association (MSA) to bring education and awareness to the community. Those same trainings and lessons learned will be part of the rock Nashville community as well.”