The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival was founded by Kevin Griffin, resident of Franklin and singer/founder of the alternative rock band Better than Ezra. The story goes that Griffin was jogging through the idyllic residential hills of The Park at Harlinsdale (a former horse farm now owned by the City of Franklin) when he had a thought occur: the space would make the perfect setting for outdoor music performances. From there, Griffin teamed up with W. Brandt Wood and Michael Whelan to produce a festival that highlighted not only the beauty of this historic Tennessee town but one that also offered a one-of-a-kind range of musical performances. The result was the Pilgrimage Festival, a two-day event that ran the gauntlet from alternative, rock ‘n’ roll, alt-country, bluegrass, indie and jazz music, all performed in the daytime in the very park that had sparked Griffin’s brilliant idea.
While the lineup last year included music titans such as Wilco, Willie Nelson, Weezer and Cage the Elephant, the second annual Pilgrimage Festival promises to be just as full of top-notch performances from a myriad of different genres. Besides the aforementioned Beck, Hall & Oates and Jason Isbell, headliners for this year’s festival include Grace Potter, Kasey Musgraves, The Arcs, Cake, Margo Price, The Preservation Jazz Hall Band, and Lunchmoney Lewis, in addition to many, many more. Like last year, you can also expect ‘Pilgri-Mashups,’ or on-stage collaborations between artists of different backgrounds and genres performing together for the very first time.
A video overview of last year’s festival.
The festival is also different from many other outdoor music extravaganzas (think: Bonnaroo) for its markedly family-friendly atmosphere. Most of the performances take place during the day rather than at night, and each day of the festival is over by 8 p.m. Furthermore, the festival also boasts a ‘Little Pilgrims Stage,’ where artists perform kid-friendly sets for the underage lot.
As if 2016 did not promise to be a big enough year for Pilgrimage Festival as is, it was recently announced that Justin Timberlake, a resident of Franklin, will be helping to produce this year’s festival. As reported by The Washington Post, Timberlake will not be performing at this year’s event, but he will nonetheless be intricately involved in the two-day music bash — a role that he considers ‘an amazing opportunity to help build an exceptional event and contribute to [his] community.’
If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, it’s not too late — a pass to each day of the festival costs $69 and can be purchased on the festival’s official website, in addition to speciality VIP passes.