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Franklin’s Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival kicks off its first year


If you tend to feel somewhat lost during the months between each annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, 2015 brings you a welcome new friend: the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, kicking off its first year at The Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin on Saturday, September 26.

Over two days, the new fest, like Bonnaroo, brings a diverse blend of bands and artists to a bunch of different stages, and also adds in lots of regional food and other vendors, plus kid-friendly activities and an expansive, Tennessee-farm setting. (Bonnaroo’s on a former cow pasture; Pilgrimage takes place on a 230-acre, century-old horse farm.)


On the artist roster for the first-ever Pilgrimage fest: country icon Willie Nelson, Americana stalwarts Wilco, pop star (and famous local) Sheryl Crow, rock hook-herders Weezer and dozens of others. (Check out the full line-up on the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival website.)

Though Pilgrimage is smaller (and obviously newer) than Bonnaroo, it beats its Tennessee-festival forebear on a few fronts already, especially for us Davidson and Williamson County residents.

For one, Franklin’s a quick drive, which means we can take in the entire festival and still head home at night to sleep in a comfortable and dry, real bed. And take a real shower. And maybe feed our real dogs and get our real mail if we feel like it.

Then, the real clincher for anyone who’s spent a Southern summer day outdoors: Since Pilgrimage is in late September, we’re a lot less likely to leave the festival feeling like a baked potato. Big wins, both of those.

Other cool, unique things the organizers have built into the festival’s schedule: some artists will be powering down, Unplugged-style, to offer partly acoustic sets; others will be teaming up for “Pilgri-mashups” — fest-specific, one-time-only collaborations.

Extra bonus for those of you with kids and a drive to see young people embrace creativity: Pilgrimage’s Little Pilgrims Stage not only caters to kids in the crowd, but features performers from the younger age bracket, showing your little fest-goers what’s possible with some dedication and practice. (Extra side note: kids 10 and younger get in free with a paid adult.)

Not much of a night owl? You’ll love this unusual festival attribute too: Pilgrimage performances wrap up each night at 7:30, so you’ll be able to pack in a full day of good times, and get your good night’s rest.

All in, this is shaping up to be a cool addition to the Middle Tennessee music festival landscape, and we’re excited to see it kick off.

Don’t have your tickets yet? Options range from daily tickets ($92) to weekend passes ($172 for general admission, $499 VIP), and are on sale now on the Pilgrimage website.

So what do you think? Are we gonna see you in Franklin in September?

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