NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville’s 2021 Fourth of July celebration was one of the largest in the country, bringing in a record 350,000 people. But this year some who work downtown say they saw a slow start to the holiday weekend.

Tin Roof Assistant General Manager Riley Baden believes tough economic times have made it more difficult for people to visit Music City.  

“It’s kind of coming in waves this year, everything with the economy, truly I feel like it’s actually slowing down, inflation, gas prices are skyrocketed, flights are skyrocketed, so we’re seeing a lot less traveling down here on Broadway. Still a super fun event though, great place to be, but we have definitely seen people slow down,” Baden said.  

Jeremy Pearl has been a full-time musician in Nashville since 2006. He said he noticed fewer people out at bars than expected this holdiay weekend. 

“I would say less busy than a regular weekend. Because usually every weekend is just slammed down here, so this one is like even though people will be in town, they’re not necessarily in town just to go to Broadway, which is unusual,” Pearl said.  

For those who rely on tips, fewer crowds means less of a paycheck.  

“Half the money we make, usually around half is from the bar and then the other half is kind of dependent on tips. So playing into like an empty room…like on the weekends you kind of assume you’re going to make x amount in tips, so when that’s light it’s like, ‘Oh, kind of hurts your bottom line,’” Pearl said.

There are several differences between this year’s Fourth of July and last. In 2021, the holiday fell on a weekend. It was also one of the first major events after COVID restrictions were relaxed.  

To keep up with demand this year, bars like Tin Roof brought in extra staff, saying they were prepared for more customers. Despite a slow start, they hoped to see larger crowds Sunday night and Monday.  

“We definitely are staffed for it, especially here at Tin Roof. If they come, they’re definitely getting wonderful service and it’s going to be a great time,” Baden said.