Belmont to Host Nashville’s First Public Screening of Ken Burns’s ‘Country Music’

University, major sponsor of documentary, to host first public viewing of film series featuring performance from Kathy Mattea and live Q&A with filmmakers

Country Music film by Ken Burns poster

Nashville audiences can get a sneak peek May 29 of a star-studded documentary delving into the history and legends of country music. Slated to air on PBS on September 15, 2019, the eight-part, 16-hour documentary “COUNTRY MUSIC,” directed by Ken Burns, is highly anticipated viewing in Music City. The May 29 screening, which will begin at 7 p.m., will be the first public opportunity for Nashville audiences to view a segment of the series.

The ticketed event, to be held in Belmont University’s Curb Event Center, will feature 45-50 minutes of the film followed by a live question-and-answer session with “Country Music” director/producer Ken Burns, writer/producer Dayton Duncan and producer Julie Dunfey. Two-time Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year Kathy Mattea will appear at the event with a brief performance of historically significant country songs. Then, the public premiere of “COUNTRY MUSIC” will be hosted by CMT After Midnite’s Cody Alan, and Tennessean music reporter Cindy Watts will moderate the Q&A. Local PBS affiliate WNPT is also a partner on this event .

In 2016, Belmont announced it would serve as a major sponsor of the documentary underwriting a portion of the production and distribution costs for the series. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “We are honored to partner with Ken Burns on a series that will undoubtedly bring greater attention to our hometown, Nashville, as well as to an industry that employs so many of our own alumni and friends.”

The series will chronicle the rise of the country genre along with the rise of Nashville—with its songwriters and musicians, its publishers and its studios on Music Row—as Music City USA. The “Country Music” website notes, “‘Country Music’ will be a sweeping, multi-episode series, exploring the questions, ‘What is country music?’ ‘Where did it come from?’ while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating characters who created it—from the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills, to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more—as well as the times in which they lived. And like the music itself, ‘Country Music’ will tell unforgettable stories—stories of the hardships and joys shared by everyday people.”

Tickets for the Wed., May 29 event are $10 and can be reserved in advance online via the Belmont University Box Office or at www.belmont.edu/countrymusic.For additional information, email tickets@belmont.edu or call/text 615-460-2255.

Belmont is the only University or college to partner with Florentine Films as a sponsor on this project, and the pairing makes good sense with nearly a third of Belmont students currently studying music or the music/entertainment industry. Home to alumni Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, Devin Dawson, Brandy Clark and Florida Georgia Line and numerous others, Belmont has earned a reputation as an incubator of musical talent. In addition, countless award-winning songwriters, producers, engineers and industry executives began their careers at Belmont University, including six-time ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year Ashley Gorley, Universal Music Group President Cindy Mabe, Warner/Chappell Nashville CEO Ben Vaughn and acclaimed producers Mark Bright and Mark Wright, among countless others.

Belmont’s Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business was recently recognized by Billboard as a “2019 Top Music Business School,” and the University’s School of Music is consistently lauded as one of the nation’s best commercial music programs.