Photo by Mary-Beth Blankenship.
Many of our region’s best festivals were already firmly established before we ever started covering them. Many others we watched emerged with promise, only to disappear after one year, a testament to just how hard it is to pull off an event at this scale, in an increasingly saturated summer music landscape. From the start, our hopes were high for Franklin’s Pilgrimage Fest, now the closest fest of its size and nature to Nashville, and after an ambitious and exciting first year, we felt confident about its return, in of itself a major milestone and important barrier to cross. Thanks to a clear vision, an ace team, and a supportive community, Pilgrimage 2015 was one of the most organized, well-curated, and confident first year fests we’ve ever seen, and, returning for their sophomore outing, it was a thrill this year to watch them take a well-established template and improve and adjust, cementing the foundation for what, by all accounts, seems like a festival with a bright future ahead. Pilgrimage is still a young event, but, local or not, it’s already one with a lot of identity and uniqueness; the perfect cap to our busiest festival season yet, and one of our favorite musical happenings of the summer. Once again, we sent the crew down to make the Pilgrimage, and you can check out our thoughts, highlights, and photos from Pilgrimage 2016 below!