Heritage Foundation cancels events, closes Franklin Theatre through end of year

In temporary shutdown, organization experiences over 40% staff reduction

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Franklin Theatre (copy)

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County announced Wednesday that it will close the Franklin Theatre and cancel its live events and festivals through the end of the year due to financial and health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County announced Wednesday that it is canceling all of its live festivals and events for the remainder of 2020, including the Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest, and Dickens of a Christmas.

The foundation is also postponing until next year all programming at the Franklin Theatre, which is owned by the organization, through the end of the year except for two July concerts.

“We also are deeply grieved that we are in a position to have to cancel events that are so special to the community, and I want the people in Franklin and Williamson County to know that we have full intention to bring all of this back in 2021,” said Bari Beasley, the CEO of the Heritage Foundation. “Our team will remain steadfast in our work, and we’re going to be doing all that we can to continue to make the community better and better and be back with events next year.”

Beasley shared that these cancellations are due to both financial and health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this decision, she said the Heritage Foundation has reduced its staff by about 40%, and all staff members at the Franklin Theatre have been furloughed except for Paul Couch, the executive director.

“Instead of all the expenditures on events that we don’t know, because of the pandemic, if at the last minute we can or cannot have, we think it’s best to wait,” she said. “At the same time, we’re completely focused on our mission of preservation, and we’re focused on minimizing loss for the organization in 2020 so that we can be in a position to come back strong in 2021 with all the signature events that everyone loves.”

She said the foundation is working on preservation training and other events with national partnerships in addition to continuing its work on the Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens, its ongoing preservation education initiatives and support for Franklin Main Street merchants.

“We are asking all of our donors and anyone who attended any of our events or enjoyed our historic Franklin Theatre in the past to please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Heritage Foundation so that we can keep focused on saving these amazing places,” Beasley said.

Details about the two concerts still scheduled for this July have not yet been announced. For more information about the Heritage Foundation, visit williamsonheritage.org.

(2) comments


With the lowest numbers of active cases and deaths 5 months out from the beginning this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of during the closures. We are talking about 6 months away.


@DMB, we're at one of the highest points we've ever been during the pandemic as a state, with 10,371 active cases, and as a county, with at least 320 active cases, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

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