Tauck's Ken Burns tours tap into demand for total immersion

Guests of next year's Tauck Nashvillet tour in partnership with Ken Burns will be able to sit in on a live studio recording session, such as the one pictured here.
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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Fans of the new Ken Burns country music series on PBS will get the chance to take a deep dive into the Nashville music scene next year as part of Tauck's longstanding partnership with the filmmaker.

But they better act fast, just a few weeks after Tauck unveiled the September 2020 event, the company says it is almost sold out.

The response speaks not only to the popularity of Burns and Tauck's Ken Burns American Journeys partnership, but also to the demand by upscale and luxury travelers for unique, immersive experiences.

Launched in 2013, Tauck president Jennifer Tombaugh says that while she hoped the Burns partnership would be a success, "I never dreamed it would be as deeply and heavily ingrained" as it has become in Tauck's tours.

Indeed, in addition to a series of trips featuring appearances from Burns and the opportunity to meet him, Tauck for years has been offering itineraries tied to Burns' series on topics like National Parks, jazz and the Civil War. Burns and his collaborators have taped more than 150 exclusive mini-documentaries that are shown only on the select Tauck tours.

Ken Burns mingles with guest at a special jazz event held in partnership with Tauck in New Orleans.
Ken Burns mingles with guest at a special jazz event held in partnership with Tauck in New Orleans.

The Nashville event will be hosted Sept. 9-13 by Dayton Duncan, Burns' longtime collaborator, who wrote the Country Music series and its companion book.

He will offer a keynote on the first night, and be on hand throughout the five-day event.

Other activities include a live studio recording session with an up-and-coming artist and a private performance and talk by Chelsea Crowell, daughter of singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash and Grammy Award-winning performer Rodney Crowell, as well as the granddaughter of country music legend Johnny Cash.

There will also be private tours of RCA Studio B, where artists from Elvis Presley and Chet Atkins to Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson have recorded, dinner at the Grand Ole Opry with a live radio show performance and lunch at the legendary Blue Bird Cafe featuring private performances by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members. Guests will also have lunch at Merchants, a former hotel whose guestbook featured country music luminaries including Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Roy Acuff.

Duncan will lead a dinner and panel discussion with country music stars followed by a performance by grammy-winner Asleep at the Wheel. A Nashville walking tour will visit Ryman Auditorium, the Patsy Cline Museum and the George Jones Museum. The trip concludes with a special gala at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Although the event, which costs $5,990 and includes four nights at the downtown Hilton and everything but airfare, is nearly sold out, Tombaugh says Tauck could add more in the future, as it has with some of its other popular Burns events.

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