The Arts Hour On Tour Heads to Nashville

The Arts Hour heads to Tbilisi in July

The BBC World Service will be in Nashville, Tennessee, the home of USA’s country music, on 3 June to record the world-renowned radio programme, The Arts Hour On Tour.

Hosted by Nikki Bedi and recorded in front of a live audience in the Turner Hall at the Blair Music school in the week of Nashvilles’ biggest annual party, CMA Fest, the show will bring together top country artists and industry figureheads to discuss what ‘country music’ really means in Nashville right now.

Nikki Bedi will be on stage with live performance by popular country singers Cam and Jimmie Allen, and live stand-up comedy from Trae Crowder, also known as The Liberal Redneck.

Special guests also include Tracy Gershon, co-founder of the Change The Conversation movement to promote women artists, and R J Curtis, executive director of the Country Radio Broadcasters organisation.

Country music is on the radio across the conservative heartland of America and the songs played are stories that the country is telling itself. So in today’s era, what songs can be sung and broadcast? Kacey Musgraves’ hit, Follow Your Arrow, tells us to kiss boys and girls and whoever we want to. It is one of Rolling Stones top 100 country songs ever. But women artists are played far less than men on country radio stations. Nikki Bedi will be asking why this is and what limits country artists’ success in Nashville now?

The programme will air on BBC World Service at 3.06pm on Sunday 24 June and will be available on the BBC World Service website after that.

The Arts Hour On Tour is a monthly arts show exploring culture now in the great world cities. With live music, slam poetry, comedy performance, big name interviews and rich discussion, the series brings audiences up close to life as a local.

Members of the public can register to get free tickets to attend the recording on 3rd June.