Small Town with Big City Dreams: Pilgrimage Festival 2016
This past weekend I kept clicking my heals together while repeatedly saying "We aren't in Franklin anymore"! And I mean that in the very best way possible... If you are unaware as to what I'm referring to or just have been living under a rock, here is a rundown on what I'm talking about! Pilgrimage Festival 2016. At Harlinsdale Farm one morning, a fellow named Kevin Griffin was taking a jog through the park and thought of a brilliant idea! Why not have a music festival on the 230 acre farm!? Franklin, Tennessee is home to many famous musicians, actors and athletes... AND ME. My family and I made the move to downtown Franklin right in the hub of the charming town in October, 2013. We have never been happier in our entire lives all because of the people, the lovely atmosphere and deep-rooted history along every square inch of this historical town. Over the years Franklin has become more and more popular for it's historical events and the folks who tend to hang around here. I have met Haley Williams while taking a jog at Harlinsdale, ran into Brenda Lee at a hardware store and live next to Toby Mac. Needless to say, this little town is pretty frieking cool. That being said, this huge festival has put even more emphasis on our sweet little city. Yes, Dorothy was right... Were not in small town Franklin anymore!
And when I say it's not "small town Franklin" anymore, It still very much is... But the overall feel is changing. That's only normal though when Justin Timberlake decided to move here and it made every headline in the country. I don't know what it is, but God must have put a star magnet here because everybody is now moving to Franklin... That or people are starting to realize just how overrated LA actually is, haha. Furthermore, Franklin is slowly being put on the map as a hot spot for the thriving music seekers and fame chasers. No longer is it just Nashville who brings on the music & star power! Why you may ask? Because Beck, Grace Potter, Cake and Daryl Hall & John Oates are just a few of the 56 performers to play on the star studded lineup of this years Pilgrimage Fest. Franklin being my hometown, it doesn't suprise me that there was a lot of rock and americana roaming about this festival. However, if you are not familiar with the music scene of the Nashville/Franklin area, I could see it being easy to stereotype us and assume everything is countrified and southern. BUT you would be 100% wrong. Americana has been living or should I say thriving for a very, very long time in our little neighborhood of Franklin, Tennessee. I am so glad that Kevin Griffin chose to make Pilgrimage Festival diverse, because frankly I think Nashville is ready to take on more of a title then just the country music hub. We have Rock n Roll, we have Pop and RnB, Metal and just about everything else you can think of! It really, truly is a music city.
Sooooo, DAY ONE of the Festival. The lineup was pretty amazing with artist including The Struts, Kaleo, Lori Mckenna, Shakey Graves, Cake, Grace Potter and the headliner being Beck! Side note : Kanye West was playing Bridgestone the same night Beck headlined this festival... Coincidence ? I have always wanted to see Shakey live and I finally had that chance! He was absolutely hilarious and there was never a dull moment. Grace Potter brought all the Rock n Roll gyspy/hippie vibes and slayyyyed her performance. She was definitely the highlight of my day! Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Beck's performance. Going in I didn't know much of his material, but as he continued to perform I grew increasingly more uncomfortable, because I was literally the only individual who didn't know any of his music. It seemed song after song every one knew every single word. I can happily say I am now a fan of this legend in the making. (I am now working on learning every word now to his songs...forgive me, I am unworthy Beck fans!) I believe there was a little over 15,000 people the first day, which is CRAZY because this is literally the second year they have had this festival. The folks at the festival certainly accomplished at bringing the Rock n Roll on day one!!!
Day Two was definitely more infused with Roots/Americana artists. Just to name a few who performed were Jason Isbel, Kacey Musgraves, The Arcs, City and Colour, Margo Price, Anderson East and of course the headliners Daryl Hall and John Oates! My favorite performance hands down was the always effervescent Alyssa Bonogura ! I have had the pleasure of witnessing her play a multitude of times, but she definitely shined a little bit more then usual this past weekend. It's probably because Franklin is where she was raised by her renown Country music parents "Baillie & The Boys"! She sparkled more with every song and it was hard not to gravitate towards the ringing of her music around the festival grounds. Due to prior commitments, unfortunately Alyssa was the only performance I was able to catch on day two. Thankfully, I was able to hire my two assistants aka mom and dad to go out and let me know who there favorite performers were. They obviously loved Daryl Hall & John Oates, but surprisingly **not suprising to me** they really enjoyed The Arcs ! I heard Kacey Musgraves was amazing per usual, Jason Isbel was sincere and genuine with his songwriting genius and City & Colour was eerily whimsical with his swooning voice. Day Two was definitely a success for the festival.
One things for sure, The Pilgrimage Festival isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. Matter of fact, I think it's only going to grow and flourish more with every year. I don't think Franklin is being put on the map because of this festival. This town already had a deep historic connection to our countries formation - However, I do think it's bringing a lot of awesome attention and publicity to our already amazing town!!! We are known for many things, but Pilgrimage is just another notch for our ever-growing belt. I wouldn't doubt if people all across the country and even the world are making their next travel plans to Franklin, Tennessee because of the wonderful people, music and food it has to offer. I truly believe Franklin continues to stay blessed because we have not yet abandoned the knowledge of how we got to where we are... And the reason for that is God's grace and love that continues to pour out on us daily. I am thankful for this beautiful place! It really is a small town with big city dreams.