There's a unique theater in McMinnville, TN that began construction 3.5 million years ago. That's when geologists estimate Cumberland Caverns started forming in the limestone hills of Middle Tennessee. For most of those millions of years, the caverns have been silent, but when nature designs an acoustically pure and perfect place, you have to find a way to honor it.
Once a month, 333 feet below the ground, the otherwise perpetual quiet of Cumberland Caverns gives way to an amazing aural experience in the "Bluegrass Underground", a live concert series featuring some of the country's biggest acts in bluegrass music. Fans of this style of music are sure to know the stellar names that appear on the stony stage but really, it's a must-see for any music lover, as the bluegrass blends with an eclectic mix of "Americana". There's truly something here for everyone and the quality of the sound will blow you away.
Your experience at Bluegrass Underground begins as a Cumberland Cavern tour guide leads your descent into the subterranean world, taking you past underground pools, waterfalls and stunning cave formations to the stage where you will enjoy music in a venue unlike any other you are likely to ever experience!
When you think "cave", you may think "dark and creepy", but The Volcano Room, where the concerts are given, are anything but. The musical acts are well-lit and the natural stone walls create a shadowy and ethereal beauty. In fact, the theater won a 2013 Emmy Award for lighting.
To say that this is a very cool venue is true in more ways than one: the cavern temperature is always a temperate 56 degrees (so don't forget your sweater). And don’t worry about silencing your cellphone…you won’t find any service here.
The Bluegrass Underground program is broadcast on AM radio station WSM in Nashville, also home to that other famous country music show, the Grand Ole Opry. Performances are streamed world-wide on wsmonline.com. But if you can make it in person, you will experience an event you will never forget.
Take a look at this clip of the PBS special on the Bluegrass Underground: