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Ben Folds Fights to Save Historical Recording Studios in Nashville

Ben Folds Fights for Nashville
Noam Galai, Getty Images

Whether he intended to or not, Ben Folds has directly inserted himself into the history books of Nashville. Initially fighting to keep a single historical studio alive and vibrant, he’s now managed to begin the fight to keep an entire culture present in Music City.

On June 24, Folds wrote an open letter to the city of Nashville detailing a situation that found him, the owner of Grand Victor Sound — also known as RCA Studio A — up against a developer who purchased the building in which the studio is located. What did this mean for the future of Folds’ studio? He wasn’t about to just wait and see. In his letter, he writes:

Historic RCA Studio A is too much a part of why such incredible business opportunities exist in 2014 in Nashville to simply disappear. Music City was built on the foundation of ideas, and of music. What will the Nashville of tomorrow look like if we continue to tear out the heart of the Music Row that made us who we are as a city? Ultimately, who will want to build new condos in an area that has no central community of ideas or creatives?

With a likely unexpected outpouring of support, the open letter evolved into a rally and a trending hashtag on Twitter, #SaveStudioA. Re-routing his tour schedule so he could make the Monday morning (June 30) rally, Folds was joined by hundreds of fans and supporters at the studio to fight to keep it alive.

In today’s society, it’s not often you hear about a protest that makes a significant and tangible impact in such a short amount of time, but the Save Studio A rally did just that. As Folds noted on his Twitter account, Studio A has been spared. While this is cause for celebration, to the supporters it’s not necessarily enough. Because Studio A is just one piece of such a vibrant historical puzzle, Folds and company have now turned their attention to a new cause and hashtag: #SaveMusicRow.

Focusing on the preservation of all culturally significant studios in Music City, it was announced at the rally that an organization will be created to help lobby for the protection of historical buildings on and around the Music Row area in Nashville.

According to Folds’ official website, Studio A is “one of the largest and most historic recording spaces in Nashville.” It opened its doors 50 years ago after being built by the legendary Chet Atkins. As Folds details in his original open letter, the studio has welcomed artists from all walks of life, ranging from the Beach Boys and Steve Earle to Wayne Coyne and Ben Kweller, and of course, Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five.

Next: Watch Ben Folds Audition for the Star Wars Cantina Band

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