The lineup for this year’s Pilgrimage Festival has dropped and it’s pretty awesome! This year, the second annual Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival will be held on September 24th and 25th in Franklin, TN (a lovely community that’s situated just south of Nashville) at The Park at Harlinsdale. Last year’s inaugural festival boasted headliners such as Willie Nelson, Weezer, and Sheryl Crowe, to just name a few. Pretty impressive for a first year festival, right? Looking at this year’s lineup, they might have just surpassed it.
You read that correctly people, BECK is headlining! I’m excited for almost everyone on this lineup, but I have to bring special attention to Beck because I had the pleasure of seeing him live at the 2014 Forecastle Festival and he melted my face off that summer. To say he was phenomenal is an understatement. The fact that he impressed me so much at a festival that also featured one of Jack White’s best performances should tell you something about him. Before seeing him live, I honestly wasn’t very knowledgeable about his music beyond his radio hits, but after that experience, I pretty much became one of his biggest fan girls. There’s no denying that this man puts on an incredible show. I’ve been dying to see him live again ever since, and since I fortunately live so close to Franklin, I now have my opportunity!
The other headliners are Hall & Oates and Jason Isbell. I’ve seen Jason Isbell twice before, and he too is an incredible live performer and shouldn’t be missed. Hall & Oates are another exciting prospect, I was raised on their music and have always heard that they put on a great live show, so I can’t wait to see them for myself. I’ve missed opportunities to see Grace Potter and even Kacey Musgraves live, so I’m also happy to see them on this lineup.
I had the pleasure of being at Bonnaroo last weekend, and decided to wear my beloved Pilgrimage shirt during one of the days there. While sporting it at a water fill up station, I suddenly found myself engaged in conversation with a fellow Pilgrimage lover. We both gushed about last year’s festival and how excited we were about it this year, and she reminded me of yet another great act to look forward to –Violent Femmes. Violent Femmes is one of the best folk/punk bands out there (and arguably they sort of invented it with their debut album way back in 1983) and I’m thrilled to hear their acoustic punk rocking out in the fields of Franklin, TN.
There’s a lot to love and look forward to on this lineup. Preservation Hall Jazz Band is making a return, as is Big Sam’s Funky Nation. CAKE and City and Colour are both semi-unicorn bands of mine that I’ve been close to seeing, but never actually getting to. I caught the tail end of Shakey Graves at Bonnaroo 2015 and I’ve been wanting to see a full live set ever since. Of particular note though, is Better Than Ezra. As a Louisiana native (and a fan since I was in high school), I was pleasantly surprised to see them listed on this year’s lineup. One of the co-founders of Pilgrimage is Better Than Ezra’s singer/guitarist Kevin Griffin. Last year the band played at an after-show that was held for festival goers, but not the actual festival itself. But this year, they’re going to be playing at Pilgrimage, and I can’t wait to finally see this Louisiana trio live!
Pilgrimage is also a family friendly festival. It will feature a stage just for the little festival goer in your life, called the Little Pilgrim’s Family Stage. Top children’s performers such as Ralph’s World, The Happy Racers, Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers, and many more will be featured on this stage. And in case you’re scared that alone won’t keep the kids entertained, there will also be interactive activities such as painting, drum circles, a hip hop rhyming workshop (I’m actually kind of interested in that myself!), a musical petting zoo where musicians demonstrate their instruments, and much more.
Apart from boasting a fantastic music and culture festival, Pilgrimage is also noteworthy for its partnership with the local Franklin, TN community. The festival is held at the historic Park at Harlinsdale Farm and portions of this year’s tickets will go to the benefit of the City of Franklin and Franklin Parks. MusiCares is also a sponsor of this year’s festival and portions of ticket proceeds will go towards the non-profit organization that was established by the Recording Academy to help members of the music community in need (whether it be financial or health related).
For a festival only in its second year, there is a lot to look forward to at Pilgrimage this year. I know that last year I was really impressed by not only the artists, but by the food and drink vendors, the family friendly atmosphere, the venue, and the town of Franklin, TN to just name a few. I’m happy they’re returning for a second year and I hope that this is just the beginning of many more years to come.
Hope to see ya’ll on the Farm in Franklin this fall!