Several changes to the security process for "The 35th Annual CMA Awards'' at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville on November 7 have been made including bag searches, ID checks and the installation of metal detectors.
"We've always taken security during our Awards very seriously," CMA Executive Director Ed Benson said. "Unfortunately this year increased security is necessary for the comfort of our artists and the safety of our audience. Our goal is to create a secure environment where we can showcase our industry's great talent and offer our viewing audience what Country Music does best — offer comfort, encouragement and relief from today's challenging world situation."
The new security plan was created with input from several security advisors including the Metro Police, FBI and other authorities. New this year will be:
* Shifting the post Awards party to a pre-show reception. Ticket holders will be encouraged to arrive early, to pass through security checkpoints before entering the Opry House. Bags will be searched, identification checked and as always, no cameras, binocular cases or packages will be allowed in the auditorium. All bags and purses larger than a standard sheet of paper (81/2 by 11 inches) are prohibited.
* CMA Awards tickets are only available to qualified CMA Members with roughly 3,800 seats available. Confirmed ticket holders picking up their tickets beginning Monday, Nov. 5, will be provided any additional applicable information about security screening. Ticket pick-up moves to the security checkpoint outside the Opry House from 10 AM/CST on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
* Those attending the Awards will notice the increased presence of uniformed police in and around the Opry House. Parking along with pedestrian and traffic access will also be addressed.
* Members of the media, who are usually set up in a building adjacent to the Grand Ole Opry House, will work from a smaller area backstage, so that artists can remain in one place throughout the evening.
"We hope these changes are limited to this year only, and that they will be accepted with patience and understanding from everyone involved,'' Benson said. "It may be difficult and time consuming for some, but we need to address potential threats aggressively and feel confident that we have done everything necessary to secure the event."