Tennessee concerts give ‘down under’ a whole new meaning

Cumberland Caves, Three Chessmen. (Photo by Denlah)

The historic Woodstock—the original, not the knockoff—gave a whole new perspective on concerts decades ago. Who could forget near-naked (and naked) bodies grooving across the fields? Thing is, Woodstock was above-ground. Did you know there’s a concert below-ground?

While Woodstock drew the masses, there’s a concert venue that gives the term ‘down under’ a new perspective, and the audience numbers are deliberately limited.

Welcome to The Volcano Room at Cumberland Caverns Live in McMinnville, Tennessee. Who knew that hundreds of feet below Earth’s surface you could check out the caverns and take in a concert? It’s been going on for quite some time.

Cumberland Caverns Live gives a brief overview:

“For over 55 years Cumberland Caverns Historic Volcano Room has hosted a wide array of very talented musicians. This legendary room 333’ below the surface, has caught the attention of the music industry and entire world for its near-perfect acoustics presented with a backdrop of amazing formations and unsurpassed beauty. Forbes, Time, and Jetsetter- just to name a few- have included music at Cumberland Caverns on some of their most prestigious lists of places you don’t want to miss.

“You’re not just coming for a concert at a cave when you visit Cumberland Caverns Live,” says General Manager Robby Black, “you are embarking on a memory-making journey with friends and family. When we say, ‘our musical roots run deep,’ at 333’ underground, we’re not kidding.”

I’ve been to lots of concerts. I’ve even been in some caves, when I was on assignment for a story on the gold rush in the South. Yes, the South had a gold rush, but that’s beside the point. I’ve never been to a concert inside a cave.

I’m adding Cumberland Caverns Live to my bucket list.

Incidentally, we don’t have cave concerts here in Jacksonville, but we do have some cool River Jam Sunset cruises featuring live music. I’ve done boat rides on the St. John’s River and there’s no more beautiful sight.

A wire service recently distributed a story about Cumberland Caverns Live.

Cumberland Caverns is a national historic landmark. You can learn more about all the caves by visiting the official website.

(Kay B. Day/March 21, 2018)

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