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Cruising Nashville

from The New York Times

In the Heart of Nashville, Rolling Parties Rage at Every Stoplight

As Nashville’s popularity has grown, so has the “transportainment” business — a motley assortment including old buses, farm tractors and a truck with a hot tub. Many think it has gotten out of hand.

By Rick Rojas / Photographs by William DeShazer

In the Heart of Nashville, Rolling Parties Rage at Every Stoplight
The Big Green Tractor Tours trailer rolled through downtown Nashville in August.Credit…William DeShazer for The New York Times.

NASHVILLE — The John Deere tractor pulled onto Broadway and rumbled into the madness.

On a Friday night in the heart of Nashville, as crowds and music spilled from packed clubs, it lumbered along at 5 miles per hour, tugging a canopied trailer with flashing lights and a group of friends from Denver sipping drinks and dancing to Shania Twain.

It wasn’t especially conspicuous. The Big Green Tractor, as it’s called, passed an open-air school bus crammed with partiers, and then another, and another. It also crept beside a vehicle with women leaning over a railing in tank tops printed with the slogan “Let’s Get Nashty!”

The tractor hadn’t even made it a mile.

“It’s the Wild West out here,” Ronee Heatherly said from her perch behind the bar of the Big Green Tractor, where she served variously as safety monitor, bartender, D.J., photographer, tour guide and taunter of ride-share drivers blocking the tractor’s path. (She blasted the Ludacris song “Move” as she stared them down.)

As Nashville has cemented its reputation as a destination for getaways and bachelorette trips, party vehicles have proliferated, promising a rollicking good time and quite a stage to see and be seen while exploring the city. But there’s a growing sense — among residents, local officials, even some in the so-called transportainment industry — that it has all gotten out of hand.

“We made the monster, and now we can’t control the monster,” said Steve Haruch, a journalist and the editor of the book “Greetings From New Nashville.” “It’s the plot of every monster movie.”

[ click to continue reading at The New York Times ]

Posted on September 19, 2021 by Editor

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