The Franklin-Simpson Renaissance Summer Nights Concert Series returns June 18 with the first of six Friday night concerts on the Courthouse square.

The concerts were not held last year due to the pandemic.

The Brandon Harris Band starts the series off on June 18 followed by Ferris Buellers Day Off on June 25.

The Jimmy Church Band performs July 16 followed by Andy the Rockers on July 30.

The Sidewinders will be in concert Aug. 13 with Tyrone Dunn and Kinfoke for the series finale Aug. 27.

The concerts are held from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Chair rentals will be available.

Food vendors will also be set up on the square during the concerts. The food category will vary from concert to concert.

Franklin-Simpson Renaissance Director Kim Roberts said the hope is a “a full series” of 10 to 12 bands will be included in the concert series again next year.

“We kind of backed it down a little bit this year to get our feet back wet,” said Roberts, who has served as renaissance director since last October, said. “I pushed the concerts back a little bit. We usually start the first Friday night in June. With COVID going on I wasn’t sure. You have to book these bands in January and February, and at that point I didn’t know for sure what was going to be going on. So we kind of pushed them just a little bit later.”

She also said the history of concert rain outs during the first couple of Fridays in June played a factor in deciding to start the series later this year.

Roberts said during an interview with WFKN’s Brian Davis that the concerts were missed last year and efforts were made to stage them despite the pandemic.

“I know everybody missed them,” Roberts said. “It just killed Amy (former renaissance director Amy Ellis) to cancel the concerts last year. She held out as long as she could to possibly figure out if there was any way to do them. That’s one of Amy’s favorite things, the concerts, and she tried, it just didn’t work out last year. This year we were bound and determined to bring them (concerts) back, in some way, shape or form and if we still had a lot of mandates and restrictions (COVID related) going on, we were going to try and work around those, and still have them regardless, one way or the other.”

“Its time for us to start living again,” Roberts said. “A lot of people have said that, we talked about that, and I think its time to start living again, we’ve got to start pushing forward. We all need to have a good time. We need family things to go to. I think everybody is ready just to get out. I can see it while working on the square, there are so many people and their kids. They sit out there. They’re just enjoying being outside again.”

Roberts said that as pandemic restrictions are being lifted, restrictions would not be enforced at the concerts.

“At this point, people know if they’re not comfortable, they know the restrictions. People know if they are not comfortable sitting close to somebody they can always get up and move a little bit away,” she said. “Everybody has been in this for so long they know what they are comfortable with and what they’re not, they know what’s safe and what’s not. We’re just kind of leaving it up to the public to do what they are comfortable with doing, and hope for the best on that one. It’s going to be a good summer. Full of concerts and all different kinds of music. You can’t get much better than that.”

Sponsors of the free concerts are Franklin Bank & Trust, Simpson County Tourism and F-S Renaissance.

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