With Nashville being Music City and the annual celebration of music culture at Bonnaroo, musical expectations in Middle Tennessee are high by default. The creators of Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival clearly understand this and aren’t holding back.
The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, a century-old walking horse farm bordered by the Harpeth River in the rolling hills of Franklin, Tenn., will host Pilgrimage on Sept. 24 and 25.
Last year’s inaugural Pilgrimage offered an impressive lineup of local, regional and national artists, with Wilco, Willie Nelson, Weezer, Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, Band of Horses and Cage the Elephant topping the bill.
The 2016 lineup is equally if not more impressive, with Beck, Grace Potter, Cake and the Violent Femmes starting off the festival on Saturday, Sept. 24. On Sunday, Sept. 25, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves and The Arcs headline the closing day.
Pilgrimage features four stages of music ranging from local to national artists and the Little Pilgrims stage for younger musicians and music fans.
The bazaar will feature local cuisine, craft beverages, local art and handmade wares. Many of Nashville’s popular food trucks will be there. The list is long so I won’t bore you with the entirety of it, but it does cover the board from grilled cheese and Thai to lobster and pie.
Though the festival is still in its infancy, creators Kevin Griffin, W. Brandt Wood and Michael Whelan have high hopes and an excellent template. Justin Timberlake joins the founders this year as a new partner, and the producers say they wish to highlight and showcase the culture and vibe of Middle Tennessee and Franklin similar to the way the New Orleans Jazz Fest has done for NOLA. Much like Jazz Fest, Pilgrimage is held during the day (gates open at 10 a.m. and shows wrap up at 8 p.m.) and offers a wide variety of genres, including a diverse selection of rock ’n’ roll, alt-country, bluegrass, jazz, indie and gospel.
Performing in the rustic and open outdoor venue, many bands will turn down for partly acoustic sets. The fest will also have “Pilgri-mashups,” pairing artists for special one-time collaborations. The Park at Harlinsdale Farm is walking distance from downtown Franklin, where the festivities will continue with nightly concerts and good eats and drinks from the best of Franklin’s restaurants and bars.
Pilgrimage, in my opinion, is going to be one of the most talked-about events of summer 2016 in Middle Tennessee. This event seems to have all bases covered, and I want to experience it.
For tickets and more information, visit pilgrimagefestival.com.