World’s largest touring ‘Big Top’ tent to bring thousands of people to Nashville, impact city economy

Photos by Andrew Wigdor / News Editor

The world’s largest touring “Big Top” tent, which will bring thousands of spectators to the Music City in August, has been raised in Nashville next to Briley Parkway.

The tent, which is 125 feet tall and covers 58,397 square feet, will house the Montreal-based show, Cavalia’s “Odysseo,” from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10. The show features acrobats, dancers, entertainers, musicians, aerialists and trained horses.

Cirque du Soleil Co-Founder and Odysseo Founder Normand Latourelle stated that the show will have a significant economic impact on Nashville and the surrounding area.

“We will be spending over $5 million directly into the economy,” Latourelle said.

In addition to the money that will be spent to organize and sustain the production, Latourelle said that thousands of people will be driving to Nashville for the show and staying in various hotels around the city. According to a survey conducted by the touring company, the tent is expected to be filled to about 40 to 50 percent capacity during the nights of the show. The seating capacity for the production is approximately 2,074 spectators.

Latourelle stated that the show was invited to Nashville by representatives from the mayor’s office, and Opryland representatives allowed Odysseo to build the tent on their site.

“We started to look at (Nashville), and we decided that it was just the right place to be, because we were so welcomed,” Latourelle said. “Everyone we spoke to just opened their arms, like Opryland letting us use the site and the city making everything more easy to accomplish.”

Latourelle also mentioned that Nashville was a appropriate choice because there are many horse experts in the area. The Odysseo production features over 100 horses.

“Nashville is very open to the arts,” Latourelle said. “Odysseo is a combination of performing arts and equestrian arts. So, I am sure its going to be a great success.”

The mayor’s office also worked as facilitators for the production in efforts such as securing the land and permits.

“Sometimes you go to a city, especially bigger cities, and everybody is just slow, because they are used to it,” Latourelle said. “They don’t push to get it done. Here, it’s the opposite way. The mayor’s office facilitated to help, to make it happen.”

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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