CMA officially announced “CMA Fest,” The Music Event of Summer, will air Wednesday, August 16 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC television network. Thomas Rhett and
Twenty-five years ago, Ron Brice and a friend placed a low bid on a foreclosed warehouse space at Third Avenue South and Lindsley Avenue, not expecting to hear back. Today, 3rd and Lindsley attracts some of music’s biggest names, and Brice has been the proud owner since 1991.
In many ways, the Detroit-born father of four built the venue from the ground up, with major renovations, including two stages and a building expansion. Besides the updates, Brice credits its success, and his own, to good relationships with people in Nashville—including 3rd and Lindsley’s once regular Tuesday night band, Lady Antebellum. We caught Brice before a show to learn more about the man behind the venue.
Changing the game: Prior to owning 3rd and Lindsley, Brice worked in commercial real estate, and he owned a country western bar called Stagecoach Lounge on Murfreesboro Road. “That’s how I really got to thinking about starting a venue,” he says. “I mean, that place was strictly country music. I wanted to own a venue that played all kinds of music, which is what we do.”
Good business: Artists like Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr., and Bela Fleck didn’t just come to 3rd and Lindsley for the killer nachos—although that probably chipped in to the appeal.
“There’s a science to running this venue,” Brice says. “It’s all about being artist friendly. Artists want to know the show’s going to be promoted well, it’s going to sound great, and they’re going to have fun. At 3rd, we make all that happen.”
Being present: “It’s all about the relationships,” Brice says. “I’m here most every day, and people know that if they need something, they can call me, and I’ll try [to] work something out for them.”
Looking forward: While Brice wears many hats at the venue, he’s also known throughout town for his work in real estate. “I want to be a developer when I grow up,” he says half-jokingly. “It’s my other full-time job. I’ve got 35 acres in East Nashville, and me and a partner are getting ready to build a homestead community on it. We’ve met with the planning commission folks, and everybody’s on board. In a roundabout way, I’ve always done real estate. As far as 3rd goes, I always tell everybody, ‘Let’s just keep doing what we’ve been doing.’”