The Experience of Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

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.

About the Festival & Planning Your Trip

THE MUSIC

  • A diverse, renowned lineup of Rock & Roll, Americana, Alt-Country, Bluegrass, Jazz, Indie, Gospel, Pop & Blues. Pilgrimage music programming has grown in its first 3 years to 6 stages, 60+ musicians in a city many call home. It serves great value and advantage to Pilgrimage that so many talented musicians and industry folks live in such close proximity. Pilgrimage always has surprises on stage that include guest appearances, acoustic performances, and unique pairings. Pilgrimage freely mixes genres and musical styles to create an intentionally diverse music experience throughout the day so you can see all of your favorites and discover new ones.

THE EXPERIENCE

  • The Pilgrimage experience has always been about authenticity. Our founders and team are passionate about festivals so much that we handcraft this boutique festival, we sweat the details, we curate every aspect of the experience with the festival in mind and we want both regulars and first-time patrons to be transported into a realm that will forever be remembered as amazing. Pilgrimage develops in its food and beverage ops, vendors, team, and community and even down to security. We are extremely fortunate to be stewards of the Pilgrimage experience and it's imperative to maintain a high level of performance in order to deliver on this responsibility.

Americana Music Triangle Experience

  • The Americana Music Triangle Experience is where we’ve brought to life the culture of some of the world’s premier music tourism destinations, right here at the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival! Now in its second year, the Americana Music Triangle Experience is a dedicated space where attendees can immerse themselves in world-famous music landmarks, tucked away hamlets and one-of-a-kind stops along the Gold Record Road. We hope to inspire fans to plan road trips of their own to visit each of these partner cities.

Millville Market

  • This offbeat festival “village” is a collection of tiny houses and lounge furniture located on the front lawn for folks to chill between sets. It is a whimsical take on a studio of the same name, where Justin Timberlake and his Creative Director Trace Ayala engage in creative pursuits, including the William Rast apparel line.

Farm to Turn-Table

  • Farm to Turntable is our food truck park located in the South Paddock which includes your favorite food trucks, picnic tables, shaded areas, seating, active kitchens and spirit activations. This new element was introduced at the 2017 Pilgrimage Festival.

For Your Lil’ Pilgrims

  • Kids programming includes award-winning entertainers on the Lil’ Pilgrims stage, plus activities and craft making. The Lil’ Pilgrim’s area has expanded the activities stage, The Mare Barn Theater, to include sessions in kid improv, up close puppet and magic shows and a songwriting workshop for children.

Makers Village

  • Makers Village is our marketplace featuring southern makers, local artisans, and craftsman in keeping with the larger Pilgrimage vision of creating a one of a kind experience in an authentic, handcrafted way to create the exceptional customer experience.

Hotels and Inns

  • Visit our plan your trip page for a list of our hotel and inn partners in and around Franklin.

PILGRIMAGE FESTIVAL APP

  • Download the official Pilgrimage App for iphones to view the lineup, build your own personalized schedule and for all other festival information.

PARKING & PARKING PASSES

  • Please visit our getting here page for information on parking passes, directions, maps and designated parking areas.

THE CITY & COUNTY

  • Franklin, Tennessee is Rooted in the Americana Music Triangle – where you’ll find a quintessential Main Street, music of all genres, a deep sense of history and an abundance of Southern inspiration.
  • Voted “Greatest Southern Town” by Garden and Gun Magazine, Franklin is 17 miles south of Nashville with a population of approximately 66,000. Visitors enjoy the 15-block historic district that offers true southern hospitality. The uniquely elegant shops downtown offer a variety of restaurants, entertainment, boutiques, gift shops, and galleries.
  • In 1995, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated Franklin as a “Great American Main Street” town. Since then, Franklin has been collecting accolades such as “America’s Most Romantic Main Street” and ranking on top ten lists like “Charming Small Towns of the South” just to name a few.

THE FARM

  • The Park at Harlinsdale was established in 1933 by W.W. Harlin, Harlinsdale Farm has been called the most significant historic farm associated with the modern Tennessee Walking Horse industry. As famous as the farm itself is its prize stallion ‘Midnight Sun’. The famous horse became the first repeat World Grand Champion. The success of Midnight Sun has yet to be rivaled by any other Tennessee Walking Horse.
  • From the 1940s until 2004, the farm served as a breeding operation. In 2004, the Harlin Family sold the 200-acre farm to the City of Franklin, understanding that the property would be developed as a passive park while maintaining and protecting its history.
  • The City opened the park for the community’s enjoyment in September 2007. Franklin residents and guests alike enjoy walking and picnicking on the grounds. Additionally, the park offers a 3-acre pond for catch-and-release fishing, a 5-kilometer soft track for walking or running, and 200 acres of rolling farmland.

THE PILGRIMAGE FOUNDATION

The Pilgrimage Foundation is/ the non-profit entity of the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival. Through this foundation funds are raised from donors, ticket sales and other activities in which benefits the parks, specifically Harlinsdale Farm, Education and Artists, specifically musicians.

The Pilgrimage Foundation is the festivals means to giving back to the community and causes that are aligned with the festivals values of having a positive impact beyond the festival experience.

Over the last three years, the Pilgrimage Foundation has given a total of $52,625 to Friends of Franklin Parks, $22,742.50 to MusiCares musicians in need and $15,000 to Dark Horse Institute as a scholarship to this local music engineering school.

GET INVOLVED / VOLUNTEER

We are always on the look out for people who share our love of music and want to become part of our community. Contact us to learn more about opportunities for you or your organization.