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A staple of the Nashville tourist industry, the bright pink bus of NashTrash Tours has entertained guest with blue jokes, adult beverages, wedding services and behind-the-curtain gossip since 1997.
What could possibly be too crazy for a tour billed as a “rowdy, very risqué, one-of-a-kind musical-comedy extravaganza”?
“Yeah, it’s called NashTrash and it’s supposed to be wild and fun, but there has to be some control to the chaos,” said business manager of NashTrash Beth Thorneycroft.
Two Nashville tour bus services, NashTrash and Music City Rollin’ Jamboree Bus Tour, have banned bachelorette parties from their services after a series of incidents left the operators frustrated and angry.
“Even though we are a 21-and-up show, we are not focused on them and their bachelorette party. They want it to be all about them, so we direct them to the pedal taverns, where it can be all about them,” said Jamboree host Jenny Duke.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties have become a major part of Nashville’s tourist economy the last few years. Leisure travelers, like these prenuptial trips, make up 30 percent of Nashville’s overall tourist economy, which in 2015 drew a record-high 13.5 million visitors and $5.4 billion in direct spending, according to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
With pedal taverns, party tractors, open-air buses and now a pontoon saloon, there’s no shortage of opportunities for mobile drinking in Nashville. But the NashTrash and Jamboree tours differentiate themselves by offering more of a performance than simply a party on wheels. Both tours allow drinking, but they rely on improvised comedy, sing-alongs and rider interaction.
“We can’t have that type of interaction with the guests talking, sloshing alcohol and being disrespectful to the guests,” said Thorneycroft.
It was a series of disruptions that led to the decision. Thorneycroft remembers having to kick a group of rowdy women off the pink bus several years ago after they were standing in the aisles and swearing. She then received what she described as drunk phone calls from the group throughout the rest of the day.
Thorneycroft said she tried other ways to fix the bachelorette disruptions like sending a “Bachelorette Agreement” to parties booking a tour, but that did not curb the problems.
While bachelorette parties are not forbidden from reserving seats, they will be fined an additional $20 “if the guides or any other customers get any hint of a bachelorette celebration,” according to rules on the NashTrash website.
Since the ban was put in place several years ago, NashTrash, which is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary next month, has noticed a sharp decline in tour disruptions.
While bacherlorette parties aren’t allowed, their male counterparts are still welcome.
“We don’t see that many bachelor parties, but they don’t disbehave as badly,” said Duke. “(Bachelorette parties) are just, as a whole, more disrespectful.”
Reach Kirk A. Bado on Twitter @kirk_bado