After a week of scorching heat in central Tennessee, Musical and cultural festival of pilgrimage kicked off fall in Franklin with sunny afternoons punctuated by scenic sunset shows. The event drew 17,000 attendees for two days of nearly 12 hours of upbeat music, local arts and culture, and family entertainment.
Pilgrimage first took place in 2015 and has carved out a niche as a laid-back event for music lovers who have retired from the camping festival circuit. That means it’s a favorite spot for older fans and families like Oswaldo and Laura Henriquez, who brought their daughters, Eliana, 7, and Lucia, 5, from Atlanta. On Saturday, they hung around the Lil’ Pilgrims stage at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm and saw upbeat performances and kids’ activities before watching Brandi Carlile’s headlining performance.
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“We were actually going to go solo and then saw the program and realized there was a little space for the kids,” Laura Henriquez said. “They did really well.”
It’s a game changer for the couple, who said they have fond memories of going to music festivals before they had kids, but are now making new memories with their daughters. Oswaldo said it’s important to show his daughters how fun big live events can be, as many of their earliest memories are colored by the coronavirus pandemic.
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“After the pandemic, seeing people for them is good,” Oswaldo said. “People get together and have fun together. It’s not just screen time at home with masks on.”
Quinn Lohse, a high school student from Franklin, said he’s been on every pilgrimage since 2015 – even when he was so young his parents made him go home and go to bed before the late acts came. go on stage. He said this year’s lineup was not his favorite compared to 2019, which brought The Killers, Foo Fighters and Keith Urban, but was happy to see a return to normal after the event was canceled in 2020 and operated with COVID-19 protocols in 2021. .
“Organizationally, it’s definitely a lot better,” Lohse said. “There are definitely a lot more events, more things to do here than last year.
One of the most popular spots was the Americana Music Triangle Experience tent, which hosted low-key sets from string and root performers, storytelling and music history talk, and a performance by the famous music producer Butch Walker.
On Sunday morning, the area hosted a Southern Gospel church service led by several singers, including Franklin natives Michael Rix and Quintavious Johnson. Johnson, who began her career on the 2014 season of “America’s Got Talent,” gave a brief sermon before leading a single from “This Little Light of Mine.”
“When I read in the scriptures, it speaks to the melody in your heart,” Johnson said, preparing his “congregation” for a day filled with song. “Sometimes there are things that don’t call for words. You don’t even have a word for what you feel, and it’s that melody in your heart, amen?”
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jon Batiste and The Avett Brothers headlined the festival, which hosted performances on five stages. Several artists with Tennessee ties have also taken the stage, from Lake Street Dive (singer Rachael Price was raised in Hendersonville) to Lennon Stella (who portrayed Maddie Conrad in the ABC-CMT drama “Nashville”) to smaller local groups.
Cole Villena covers Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today – Tennessee network. Contact Cole at [email protected] or 615-925-0493. Follow Cole on Twitter at @ColeVillena and on Instagram at @CVinTennessee.