Photo: The Shed Smokehouse & Juke Joint, Maryville, TN
Photo Credit: The Shed Smokehouse and Juke Joint / Facebook
Published August 10, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
A popular Maryville event venue has withdrawn their agreement to host an event featuring speakers promoting the ideals of freedom and liberty in America.
The Freedom Matters Tour, organized by Tennessee Stands, was slated to be held on August 18 at The Shed, located beside the Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson. Venue representatives did not give a clear reason for the cancellation.
Tennessee Stands Executive Director Gary Humble says that over 500 people had already registered for the event, sponsored by the legislative advocacy group that spends its time “working to protect the individual liberty of all Tennesseans.”
Humble released a list of tour speakers to media on Friday morning; the list featured speakers like Jon Schrock, James Lindsay, former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, and Andy Ogles.
Tonya Brown, Marketing Director of Smoky Mountain Motor Co. Family of Dealerships, later released a statement saying there was “no event for Aug. 18th on our calendar” and “no such event coming to The Shed.”
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Brown was asked several times why the event was cancelled. Her only reply was to send the same statement twice, saying, “Our mission has never changed, which is to provide our community with a fun safe place to grow bonds through motorcycling, enjoy live music, and exceptional food.”
The Shed’s website states, “Whatever you are looking to do, we can accommodate.” This does not seem to be the case, however.
Tennessee Stands announced the cancellation on Friday afternoon.
“We were just notified by @ShedJukeJoint in Maryville that our event is cancelled and we could no longer use the venue. Apparently, hearing from constitutional experts, a former UN Ambassador, and elected officials is just stirring up too much trouble for this tough biker club,” the organization tweeted.
Humble said no one could tell him why they were cancelling the event but also said the group was searching for another venue in Blount County.
“Looks like we’re on the hunt for another venue in Blount County for the Freedom Matters Tour on Aug. 18. Anyone else up for a Freedom Matters Tour?” was posted on the group’s Facebook page.
The tour has come under fire since advertisement for the event began, with people criticizing its affiliation with Pastor Greg Locke, minister at the Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet. Locke has been in the news recently for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccinations and telling his church members that he will turn them away if they show up for services wearing a mask.
According to Humble, Locke was not scheduled to participate in the Blount County event. Humble also says that the goal of the tour is not to spread a message against vaccines or masks.
“Regardless of what anyone on the tour has said individually, there’s nothing that’s been said on our tour specifically in terms of ‘do not wear a mask, do not get a vaccine.’ That’s never been the message of Tennessee Stands. That’s never been the message from the Freedom Matters Tour,” Humble stated.
He continued, “Everything we’ve addressed has been on a legal basis. We are against mandates. We are against vaccine passports. We are against employees being forced out of their jobs because they don’t want to comply with medical treatment their employer thinks they should have. We think all these things are discriminatory and wrong and we’re going down a very bad path as a society.”
The Blount County event was one of seven scheduled tour stops across the state. Humble says the group is also looking to book additional venues in Memphis and Nashville, as well as other parts of the state.
Humble also hopes that the tour will bring light to some of the political issues facing Tennessee residents. The tour includes a number of elected officials and candidates for various offices.
“One of my primary messages personally in the Freedom Matters Tour has been making sure that people understand we have important work to do coming up in 2022,” Humble said.
About the Author:
Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative
Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com