Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival returns for its second year


Bosley Jarrett

September 26, 2015: Pilgrimage Music Festival in Franklin, TN Day 1

Adrienne Alderman

With summer drawing to a close, festival season should be over. But that is not the case yet here in Music City. This Saturday and Sunday, September 24th and 25th, Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival returns to Franklin for its second year. Founder of the festival and frontman for Better Than Ezra Kevin Griffin spoke with the Vanderbilt Hustler on his expectations for the coming show.

“I’m really grateful to be back this year,” Kevin said. “Festivals don’t always make it past the first year, and with last year as successful as it was, I could not be more excited about the lineup and the buzz for this year’s festival”

After assessing how the festival went last year, the planners for Pilgrimage have incorporated some improvements.

“We really listened to the visitors and have made a bigger VIP area, bigger drink area, and expanded beer lines. People like to get their drink on at festivals, so we want to make that as easy as possible” Mr. Griffin shares.

Franklin is slightly out of the way from campus and Nashville, so there are a number of ways to get to the show. The planners have made it easier for Uber to drop off and pick up from the site, and there are shuttle buses going to and from Germantown and Hillsboro. People can even park their bike on site.

Art and Instagram-worthy photo spots are a key part of any modern festival, so that has increasingly been the focus of the event.

“We have added bigger and bolder visuals, from cool banners and art pieces, to farmstand inspired signs. It’s really a southern vernacular vibe.” Kevin explains.

The lineup for the show includes a variety of genres, from “hitmakers like Hall and Oates and boundary-pushers like Beck to popular country artists Jason Isbell and Kacey Musgraves.”

“Our festival is inspired in part by New Orleans Jazz Fest, so we really focused on the multi-genre aspect,” Kevin said. “Also, nowadays people’s Spotify playlists are kinda ‘skitzo’ and all over the place in terms of what they listen to, so we want to connect with that.”

In terms of timing, a lot of research was put into selecting this date. Not only does it fall on Vanderbilt Parents weekend by coincidence, but it comes right at the start of the fall season, thus avoiding the competition of Spring or Summer festivals, including nearby Bonnaroo.

Football fans will not have to fear missing out on game day.

“In one of our drinking areas we have added more TVs so that in between sets you come drop by and cheer on your favorite team,” Kevin said.

The event itself is an all day affair but ends at 8 PM both nights to allow attendees to go back and enjoy music in the city. Kevin noted that with the new producer Justin Timberlake on board, the show is set to be full of surprises.

For students interested in Pilgrimage, the affordability of the show is unmatched in the festival world, with tickets at only $59 per day for a vast array of performers (click for Saturday, Sunday, discount code is ‘student’). For more information on tickets and shuttling, check out the Pilgrimage Website.