Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival was inspired by friendship, history, experience and the desire to create an authentic music festival. Three years ago, Musician and Franklin, TN resident Kevin Griffin was on a September morning run through The Park at Harlinsdale, a century-old horse farm recently purchased by the City of Franklin. Kevin was so taken by the rolling hills, natural amphitheaters, and breathtaking vistas of the 230-acre farm, he envisioned it as a natural fit for a music festival venue. Considering Franklin’s music and cultural history, Kevin wanted the community to further appreciate combining this with the beauty and rustic quality of Middle Tennessee in the fall, and with the blessing of the City, began to dream up a music festival to do it justice.
Partnered with lifelong buddies W. Brandt Wood and Michael Whelan, the trio aspired to highlight the diversity and community spirit of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, tailoring the best elements to Franklin– a richly historic town just 20 minutes south of Nashville. Like Jazz Fest, Pilgrimage takes place during the day, and offers a diverse yet renowned lineup of rock and roll, alt-country, bluegrass, jazz, indie, gospel and more.
The festival has grown in its three years to double down on the music programming, with six stages and heralded lineups year after year, and has expanded its cultural focus by showcasing hundreds of local artisans, restaurants, food trucks and makers that give context and authenticity to the Pilgrimage experience.
Pilgrimage has always presented itself as family friendly which means kids are welcomed and encouraged to experience festival culture at young age. Specifically, at the Lil’ Pilgrims Area with Grammy award winning producer, Ralph Covert, kids experience numerous activities, renowned artists, and are presented musical talent at a high level that has underscored a commitment to the “all ages” experience.
Each year Pilgrimage develops new elements to continue to create a music festival with the mission to grow and evolve each year. In 2017 Pilgrimage introduced Farm to Turn-Table, a food truck park with plenty of shade, seating, food trucks and activities that made it an event in itself. In 2017 Pilgrimage also introduced the Americana Music Triangle Experience which was a collection of municipalities from the rich music heritage of the South in one tent to participate for the first time, collectively in sharing this rich heritage. Thousands of people got to see in one place, where they might want to visit these towns, small and large, to keep this history alive.
When performances wrap and the lights come back on, guests can conveniently head back into the heart of downtown Franklin, within walking distance from the Park at Harlinsdale, to imbibe the best of the town’s bars and restaurants, retail shops, and great weekend lineup of nighttime shows and events.