The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival was founded in 2015 over two days in Franklin, Tennessee. The music festival is held at Harlinsdale Farm, a nearly 200-acre horse farm from the 1900s. Kevin Griffin, a Franklin resident and musician from Better Than Ezra, is one of the founders. Two-day admission is around $200 while VIP admission is $1,000.
The Musicians at Pilgrimage
It’s grown to six stages in rock, country, bluegrass, and jazz genres. Past artists include Justin Timberlake, Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, Jack White, and The Killers. When I attended, I saw Leon Bridges, Jenny Lewis, and Nathaniel Rateliff. The festival is also a great place to see artists on the rise before they hit it big.
In addition to the stages, there are many spaces to see music and other entertainment. The Americana Music Triangle Experience is named for the tourism region around Southern music with gospel music. The Lil Pilgrims stage is for kids, while the Kimbro’s stage hosts up-and-coming artists. There’s also a shopping area called the Makers Village.
Food and Drink at Pilgrimage
Over 40 local restaurants set up shop at Pilgrimage Festival with all sorts of cuisines. The Farm to Turntable food truck park in the South Paddock has a little bit of everything as well. There’s a large craft beer tent and cocktail areas.
If that’s not enough, you can also go to The Factory across the street with even more dining options. It has an outpost of Five Daughters Bakery, with its famous cronuts, an acai bowl and juice cafe, and a coffee shop.
How to Get to Pilgrimage
Before you book your hotel, find out the best transportation method. You can pay for a parking spot if you’re staying further out or if you’re staying downtown, you can also walk. There are options on paid shuttles, and through rideshare apps.
The public bus is also easy to use with fares for only $1. It has routes between Cool Springs and Fieldstone Park, dropping off in town and right in front of the festival entrance.
Where to Stay in Franklin
There aren’t many hotels in downtown Franklin so be prepared to take an Uber or drive to the festival. The Harpeth Downtown Franklin is a two-minute drive or a 20+ minute walk with balcony rooms, an in-house restaurant, and a coffee shop. TownePlace Suites by Marriott Franklin in the Cool Springs area has daily breakfast and rooms with full kitchens and work desks.
Franklin and the surrounding areas have great rentals for groups. Pot N’ Kettle Cottages and White’s Room and Board have impeccably furnished homes in nearby Leiper’s Fork. The Bunkhouse at Dark Horse Recording Estate is a 12-minute drive from the festival, located in a studio where countless artists have recorded.
For a rustic glamping experience, check out the Tentrr Signature Site – The Rest on Dobbins Creek located north of Leipers Fork, right off the Natchez Trace Parkway. It has a weatherproof tent, comfortable bedding, an outdoor table, and games.
What to Wear and Bring to Pilgrimage
When it comes to what to wear to the Pilgrimage Festival, you’ll see a little bit of everything. There are definitely people in cowboy boots but because of the time of year, comfort is key. There is very little shade and the farm is dusty so don’t wear anything you can’t get dirty.
If you don’t bring anything else, be sure to include sunscreen, a hat, a blanket or small chair, a phone charger, and a backpack or fanny pack. Before you go, check out the list of rules about what can and can’t be brought into the festival.
Looking for more advice on what to pack for southern festivals? Read our guide.
What to See in Franklin, Tennessee
Don’t miss the chance to see the rest of Franklin while you’re there! The charming town is home to distilleries along the Tennessee Whiskey Trail as well as Arrington Vineyards. There are Civil War sites and shops selling locally-made goods. And don’t forget about nearby venues like Kimbro’s and Puckett’s for surprise appearances from your favorite artists.
I attended Pilgrimage Music and Arts Festival with Visit Franklin.