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What Could The Future of Nashville’s Entertainment Scene Look Like?

Nashville has become known as one of the most vibrant and enjoyable cities in America. In fact, it’s had this reputation for many years now. Terrific bars and restaurants, walkable downtown areas, casual cafés and coffee shops and, of course, plenty of live music venues combine with that intangible southern vibe to make it a unique and special place even among other popular U.S. cities. Ask most people who live there or have spent meaningful time there, and they’d likely respond that Nashville doesn’t need to change in any way.

Change it will, however, because that is simply the way of things, particularly where cities are concerned. As brilliantly as Nashville has developed its own unique personality these last several decades, the next five, 10 or 20 years are going to bring further development — and new additions to the city scene. To some extent, all of this will be unpredictable, and the excitement will come from seeing how things turn out over time. As Nashville moves further into the future though and looks to keep pace with city development all around the country, there are some additions to the culture and entertainment scene that seem likely, if not inevitable.

High-Tech Concert Venues

A lot is starting to be written about the future of concert venues. Perhaps the gaudiest change being discussed is the “Sphere” venue in the works from the owners of Madison Square Garden. Led by oft-criticized New York Knicks owner James Dolan, this group is attempting to design what would effectively be a new type of concert venue, shaped like a sphere and full of features designed to enrich the fan experience. A “Sphere” could one day be built in Nashville, but even without this specific change, the future of concert venues is full of exciting changes. These will include everything from drone selfies, to virtual and augmented reality experiences, to RFID tech that will allow venues to capture more data about concertgoers and use it to improve experiences. With its reputation for live music venues, expect Nashville to be on the cutting edge of some of these features and changes.

VR Centers

Moving away from music, virtual reality centers are beginning to seem as if they may be some of the biggest developments in urban entertainment over the course of the next few years. Often termed “VRcades,” these centers are public venues stocked with virtual reality equipment and operated on a pay-to-play basis. They’re essentially just like classic video game arcades. But just as those were often equipped with games and machines that people simply couldn’t have in their homes, VRcades will thrive by providing high-end VR that isn’t necessarily consumer-friendly. It would be a shock if a few of these aren’t part of the Nashville entertainment scene in a short time.

Connected Stadiums

We don’t always include stadiums as part of the local entertainment culture. However, sports are part of the culture in Nashville, and particularly with the Predators having turned into a very strong hockey team, more people are counting a night out at the arena as an option for a weekend evening. This is another area in which we can expect to see some fairly big changes moving forward. New stadiums are bringing about lots of innovation and most of it is actually geared toward connectivity. It’s not lost on the sports world, or tech-related venue developers, that people at games like to share information, message each other and message friends on a near-constant basis. Thus, there appears to be a major focus on equipping stadiums with better WiFi and access to data networks. It won’t be the most visible change but it should improve the fan experience at stadiums across the world — and in Nashville.

Casino & Gambling Venues

Before we get too far into this point, we should note that Tennessee is about as unfriendly to gambling legislation as any state in the country. With that said, it’s beginning to look like there could be a tidal wave of exactly this sort of legislation moving across the U.S. New Jersey has embraced gaming platforms online, a few other states are moving in the same direction and sports betting is now in the process of being made legal in roughly a third of the country. This has all happened quite suddenly and once revenues from these activities become clear, even more conservative-minded states could embrace the same activity. Thus, it’s certainly a possibility that some modern casinos and sportsbooks could join the Nashville entertainment scene in a matter of years as well.

Robot Bars

It’s somewhat surprising we aren’t hearing more about robot bars, because they are starting to emerge in a few big cities around the world. There isn’t one universal idea, but from serving to bartending, different roles are being filled by automated systems in ways that can be a lot of fun for patrons. For instance, there’s a bar in Las Vegas in which robotic arms (for lack of a better term) mix drinks, which you’re able to customize from a large list of ingredients. It’s undoubtedly a gimmicky concept but also a fun one that’s likely to be threaded into city nightlife across the country before long. Here again, we’d expect Nashville to be near the cutting edge of things.

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