This is the 14th installment of a 15-day series that will celebrate Bridgestone Arena’s 15th anniversary on Dec. 17, 2011.
15 Years: Arena, Preds Are Forces In Community Relations
Today we look at how Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators and music artists contribute to charitable efforts throughout Nashville and beyond. Since 1998, the Nashville Predators Foundation has distributed more than $3 million into the Middle Tennessee community through grants. Bridgestone Arena has also served as the venue for many fundraising events, including Garth Brooks’ nine-show marathon in 2010 to benefit area flood victims. The relationship that the community, the arena, the Preds and the music artists share makes Nashville a shining example of goodwill throughout the globe.
Mark Weller, Exec Dir of Camp Widjiwagan
Mark Weller is the Executive Director of Camp Widjiwagan, which helps young people develop respect for self, community and the environment through wilderness adventure and education.
2010 Year-In-Review at Bridgestone Arena
|BRIDGESTONE ARENA A HUB FOR FLOOD RELIEF EFFORTS |
In May of 2010, flood waters ravaged Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The floods reached far and wide, destroying neighborhoods and flooding downtown Nashville for blocks. Even Bridgestone Arena, five blocks from the riverfront, was not safe from flood damage. Still, Bridgestone Arena served as a hub for the recovery process. In the immediate aftermath, music stars of all genres came together to host the Nashville Rising benefit concert at the Arena. Later in the year superstar Garth Brooks donated nine shows at the Arena to further the flood relief cause. Brooks played the nine shows over a seven-day span with a Predators hockey game squeezed in between, including three "double-header" shows. Those shows featured an early evening full scale concert, a quick break to reset the arena, and then a full scale late night show. Proceeds from the tickets, which were just $25 a seat, all went toward the flood relief efforts. Similarly, the June 2010 "Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Recovery" show featured special appearances by Sandra Bullock and musical performances from the likes of Miley Cyrus, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and ZZ Top. Through this special concert, Music City united to assist victims of the floods. Uniting with Music City entertainers in support of flood relief, the Nashville Predators and its partners presented a check to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for $130,000 at the concert. The contribution marked the first of many charitable donations of the evening.
| Garth Brooks packed the Arena for nine shows in a single week and rocked out for each performance |
Stars like Miley Cyrus, Faith Hill, and ZZ Top came together for the Nashville Rising benefit concert at Bridgestone Arena
Taylor Swift stole the spotlight at the 2010 CMA Music Festival with a 15-hour marathon tribute to her fans
|A MARATHON FOR TAYLOR SWIFT AND HER FANS |
It was an ambitious idea from the start. And by the time it was over, it was bigger than anyone could have imagined. As part of the CMA Music Festival, superstar Taylor Swift announced she would hold a 13-hour Meet and Greet with her fans at Bridgestone Arena on June 13. It should be noted that 13 is her favorite number. When it was realized that some fans would not be able to reach Swift in time, Swift extended the free event two hours, stretching the marathon to 15 hours. It was reported that more than 10,000 people came through Bridgestone Arena that day, and it was billed as the biggest single-artist event in the history of the CMA Music Festival.
|A RARE CHANCE TO CATCH A BEATLE |
A concert is sometimes billed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This time, however, there was no better way to describe it. There aren’t many living legends – in music or otherwise – who reach the level of Paul McCartney. But here was the former Beatle, in the flesh, performing at Bridgestone Arena on July 26, 2010 in front of a frenzied crowd of 15,948. He played for more than three hours and performed 36 songs, many from his time with The Beatles. He engaged the crowd, and at one point even brought a child onstage from the audience to dance. At age 68, McCartney showed he not only had the same vocal and guitar abilities of decades past, but also the stage presence and energy to put on a show for the ages.
Lower Broadway was treated to Music Royalty when Sir Paul McCartney rocked out in July 2010
The Preds gave the eventual Cup Champs their biggest scare of the post-season during the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals
|PREDS GET CLOSER |
It was April 20, 2010, and the Nashville Predators were playing in front of the NHL’s loudest crowd. Bridgestone Arena was the site for the Preds’ 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It gave Nashville its first-ever 2-1 series lead. David Legwand had a goal and two assists. It was the second three-point performance by a Preds player in that postseason. Martin Erat scored the 18th playoff penalty-shot in NHL history to ice the win for Nashville. Chicago would go on to win the series 4-2, and would also go on to win the Stanley Cup. But not before the Preds gave the Blackhawks their stiffest test of the 2010 playoffs.
|THE HOME OF THE PREDS GETS A NEW MONIKER |
Bridgestone Arena hasn’t always been known as such. In the beginning, it was the Nashville Arena and more recently, the downtown venue was being referred to by many as the HOP (Home Of the Predators). In February of 2010, Bridgestone Americas Inc., the arena and the Nashville Predators sent out a joint press release announcing a naming rights partnership for the home of the Nashville Predators. After a Sports Authority vote, the building was officially renamed Bridgestone Arena and debuted its new name on March 2, 2010, at a Nashville Predators game. Since Bridgestone Americas lent its name to Nashville’s downtown arena two years ago, the venue has enjoyed its most successful years to date.
Bridgestone partnered up with the Arena in February to rename the building Bridgestone Arena
Did You Know:
- In 2010, more than 1.25 million attended events at Bridgestone Arena, the most of any year since 2001.
- Before Bridgestone Arena opened in 1996, Downtown Nashville was not viewed as a popular destination for families and local residents. But there has been an explosion of growth. Currently, Downtown Nashville has 120 shopping options, 177 dining options and 70 nightlife venues.
- Since its inception, the Nashville Predators Foundation has helped collect over 2,000 toys each year for the “Toys For Tots” annual holiday toy drive. Additionally, 100 families a year are provided gifts from Preds and Arena staff members through the organization’s “Holiday Giving Tree.”
In Their Own Words:
"One of the first things I remember is the box office not being completed. We as security officers would be in there around the clock to make sure everything was OK. Some of my favorite events were AC/DC and ZZ Top" --Original Bridgestone Arena Employee, John Arnold, Security Shift Supervisor