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Blackberry Jam’s stunning success thrills Hard Bargain officials

Virtual event raises more than $8,000 for nonprofit

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Hard Bargain

Pictured left to right: Pam Stone, Europe Dooley, Cassie Jones, Steve Young, Carol Warren, Derrick Solomon, Mike Ensch and Derby Jones.

While most nonprofits have struggled with fundraising during the pandemic, Hard Bargain was the benefactor of the most successful Blackberry Jam since its inception 17 years ago. 

“Because of our unusual circumstance this year, we held the Blackberry Jam virtually Sunday, July 5th. Despite numerous obstacles, we totaled over $8,000, a record amount,” said Derrick Solomon, who is executive director of Hard Bargain. 

With Rick Vito as the headliner, this year’s Blackberry Jam was filmed at Boyd Mill Farms. While tickets were not sold to the event, limited viewing was allowed for the taping, which ended up being a successful way to celebrate music in the community. 

“We realized we could not have the exact same experience, but I reached out to artists who had performed at the Jam over the past 17 years and asked them to send us a video to include in our virtual show,” said Carol Warren, the festival co-founder who also lives on the farm. “All of the artists and sponsors really stepped up, and I am entirely grateful” 

Steve Young, the festival’s director, echoed those sentiments. 

“We just delivered a record check to Hard Bargain,” Young said. “This told me the community was in this for the right reasons. It’s about the community coming together to support Hard Bargain and to celebrate music, even if we could not do it the same as we have in the past, it just says a lot about the spirit of the community and something to be proud of.” 

The Blackberry Jam headline sponsors were the Downtown Franklin Rotary Club and the Franklin at Noon Rotary Club and both clubs were happy to continue the sponsorship despite not having the festival this year.  

“We love the Blackberry Jam” said Mark Tumblin, president of the Franklin at Noon Rotary Club. “Our club missed the camaraderie with the downtown club this year, but Hard Bargain is a worthy mission and we are proud to support it as a club.” 

“We really focused on the cause this year," Solomon added. "The intimate setting allowed us to really focus on our needs and we are blessed.” 

About Hard Bargain 

Hard Bargain is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to preserve the historic Hard Bargain neighborhood by renovating existing homes, building high-quality affordable housing and continuing to enrich the lives of its residents.

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