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Nashville Tornado Hits Music Venue, Studio

A deadly storm that passed through Tennessee in the early hours of March 3 left 22 dead and created a tornado that tore through East Nashville, damaging hundreds of buildings including Woodland Studios and popular venue The Basement East.

This is an emerging story and will be updated as news becomes available.

Nashville, TN (March 3, 2020)—A deadly storm passed through middle Tennessee in the early hours of Tuesday, March 3, causing numerous tornadoes, including one that tore through East Nashville leaving a swath of destruction behind it. Early reports state 22 people are dead from the storm across the region, though that number is expected to grow; two were in East Nashville. Likewise, Nashville Metro Police announced that at least 40 buildings collapsed in the wake of the tornado.

Nicknamed Music City, Nashville is the heart of the country music world, and has long been a home to recording studios, live sound providers, career-making venues and more.

The Basement East, a mid-sized venue at 917 Woodland St., was literally torn apart by the tornado, though poignantly, an Adrien Saporiti-designed mural outside the venue, reading “I believe in Nashville,” is still standing. The five employees on site at the time of the tornado safely found shelter in the basement just before it hit, and The Tennessean quoted co-owner Mike Grimes as saying the building is a “total loss.”

A Live Nation venue, The Basement East first opened in 2015, and was set to host The Ataris, Best Coast and other acts in the coming weeks; the management has already announced on social media that it will try to reschedule all upcoming events elsewhere.

Meanwhile, a post on the AES Nashville chapter’s Facebook page stated that Woodland Studios was hit as well, noting “they are in salvage mode trying to get stuff out and need power.” While reportedly the roof was torn off, resulting in water damage, Mike Porter of Belmont University, posted to the group, “Someone was at the studio when it happened, so work to minimize damage started almost immediately.”

The legendary facility is the private workspace of musical partners singer/songwriter Gillian Welch and guitarist/producer David Rawlings, but it was first opened in 1968 by audio engineer Glenn Snoddy, who died in 2018 at the age of 96. The facility earned a reputation in the decades that followed as a go-to studio for the likes of the Charlie Daniels Band, Ronnie Milsap and Barbara Mandrell before changing hands in the early 2000s, closing to the public after years of legal wrangling due to damage from a 1998 tornado.

It’s not the first time in recent years that the city has been slammed by natural disaster. In 2010, Nashville suffered massive flooding after a record 13 inches of rain fell in the first weekend of May that year.

Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund •