americana blues

Making The Pilgrimage - Summer's final fling with Southern flair

Wednesday, October 05, 2016 Jennie Velasco

Pilgrimage Festival/Facebook

It was nearly a week ago when myself and my photographer, Nicki made the long-distance road trip down to Franklin, Tennessee to experience the second annual Pilgrimage Festival.  This family-friendly festival was co-founded by Better Than Ezra frontman Kevin Griffin and produced by our pop RnB favorite, Justin Timberlake (side note: he just moved to Franklin, TN).  The lineup was made up of a mix of americana, blues, country and alternative artists, but more on that later.  The Park at Harlinsdale was a gorgeous expanse of land with mountainous views of plenty of greenery and offered a sweet backdrop and clear skies for the entire weekend.
The premises was surrounded by a quaint, but modernized town of homes surrounded by trees and more green, making the travel to the grounds relatively easy and peaceful.  Equally peaceful was a "back way" to the grounds via canoe on the Harpeth River.  This led to a precious looking (OMG I can't believe I'm in the south) farm and the George Dickel Kimbro's stage, one of five that brought pleasant sounds across the air (although crazy hot) but a fresh breeze.
The festival was created to increase tourism to the city of Franklin and a portion of the ticket sales also benefit MusiCares(R), a nonprofit organization that was established by The Recording Academy(R) to provide a wide range of emergency financial assistance and addiction recover resources to members of the music community.
Photo Courtesy of Terry Wyatt

 Photo by Jason Myers

The festival also hosted a student tapestry project with a silent auction in what they called, The Art Barn.  Also to be noted were the specialty hammocks tucked under shade that looked like heaven.
Although our venture started late, we made it in time to experience food truck heaven, where everything from pad thai, dessert cupcakes, and gluten free burgers were available paired with some of THE BEST SOUTHERN SWEET TEA I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED IN MY ONCE DISMAL LIFE.  Where have I been?  Why did I waste so many years on my own versions of sweet tea? Who am I?

I digress.
The fashion was fierce, the families were adorable (so many babies), and the bands were on fire.  Highlights of the festival included amazing performances from:

  • The Strumbellas
  • Wild Belle 
  • Kaleo
  • Sam Outlaw
  • Violent Femmes
  • Cake
  • The Struts
  • Shakey Graves

Kacey Musgraves- Terry Wyatt

 Grace Potter- Photo by John Miller

 Kaleo- Photo by Jason Myers

Beck- Photo by Tyler Leaman

Other memorable performances to be noted were from Grace Potter and Beck on day one.  Grace Potter came out with an explosive performance with her raspy voice singing her hit "Paris (Oh La La)" among other ones like "Stars" whom she dedicated to the band after hitting my heart hard with the announcement of Pilgrimage Festival being their final performance as a band.  After so many hard hitting, emotional, rock-induced tunes I was pained.  Nonetheless, she made the announcement with peaceful rhetoric saying they started recording their first album in Nashville, and were elated to end their 15 year reign where it started.
Beck also came through with every single hit I knew from junior high to high school sounding just as good as it did on his impressive plethora of albums.
Day 2 was much more relaxed with performances from:

  • Better Than Ezra
  • City and Colour
  • Margo Price
  • The Arcs
  • Langhorne Slim and The Law
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • and LEGENDS Daryl Hall & John Oates
Daryl Hall & John Oates- Photo by Jason Myers

The crowd though visibly tired from a long weekend in the hot sun really brought out the proper vibes for Hall & Oates with some good ol' vintage tunes like "Private Eyes" and "You Make My Dreams Come True" and...wait...for it......"Man Eater."  Really, like, what a party!  All to conclude a friendly Nashville/Franklin weekend (and I was secretly hoping JT would make an appearance) in Music City.

For more information on Pilgrimage Festival, MusiCares, and Friends of Franklin Parks visit these sites!

 Photo by Nicki Niemet/iMovement Photography

 Photo by Nicki Niemet/iMovement Photography

 Photo by Jason Myers

  Photo by Jason Myers

Photo by Terry Wyatt

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