Pilgrimage Festival Donates Percent of Ticket Sales to Charity

Pilgrimage Festival
2019 Pilgrimage/credit - Erika Goldring/Getty Images Artist- Bre Kennedy

Beginning with the first year of Franklin’s Pilgrimage Music and Culture Festival in 2015, the event has had a quiet partnership with the non-profits MusiCares and Friends of Franklin Parks. A portion of the proceeds from every ticket sale is donated to these organizations.

Being a music festival, Pilgrimage is happy to be able to help members of the music community in need through its direct partnership with the Recording Academy’s nonprofit MusiCares, and to provide funding for capital projects at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm through Friends of Franklin Parks, according to festival Co-Producer W. Brandt Wood.

What is MusiCares?

Founded by three friends — Dallas music entertainment and hospitality organizer Wood, Better than Ezra lead vocalist Kevin Griffin, and New Orleans businessman Michael Whelan — it is no wonder that they have built a connection with an organization that helps those in the music industry. The MusiCares Foundation was formed in 1989 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

“MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need,” according to guidestar.com. “[The organization’s] services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical, and personal emergencies….” The fund helps with everything from rent to drug treatment for music industry professionals, including musicians, singer/songwriters, engineers, stagehands, managers, tour bus drivers, agents, live crew and more.

The recently established MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund provides up to $1,000 to struggling artists to compensate for lost work due to the pandemic. Begun with the donation of $1 million by MusiCares and the Recording Academy, many music-related businesses and artists have made additional donations.

Maintaining Harlinsdale Farm

According to the festival website, it was an early morning run through Harlinsdale Farm that led Griffin to come up with the idea of a family-friendly boutique music festival at the location.

Griffin felt the 230-acre farm with its many natural amphitheaters and rustic beauty was an excellent backdrop for a festival celebrating all types of music, local food, and hundreds of local artisans. With plans to keep the festival an annual event from the very start, the founders feel their help maintaining the grounds is an excellent investment for the community. Recent research show that this investment is indeed paying off. The festival has an annual financial impact on Franklin tourism of $3 million.

Friends of Franklin Parks is a public-private partnership dedicated to provide support to fulfill the needs in maintaining and enhancing the city’s 16-park system. They are currently in the process of raising funds to restore the iconic barn at Harlinsdale

Harlinsdale Farm has a significant history tied to the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry. It was a nationally known horse breeding facility established in the 1930s and working until the City of Franklin purchased the land in 2004, placing it under a permanent conservation easement so it could be shared with the public in perpetuity. Friends of Franklin Parks aims to assist the City in restoring this famous Tennessee landmark.

Festival Provides More Than Music

One part of the Festival that has been very important to the organizers from the start is to ensure that It remain a family-friendly event by closing by 8:30 p.m. and offering a large kids area that provides fun activities to introduce them to both music and culture. At this Lil’ Pilgrims Area, Grammy Award winning producer Ralph Covert will introduce participants to many activities, artists, and musical talent playing just for them.

During the festival, the 200-acre park will support the region’s best with a curated VIP Village; a Maker Village with 70 booths stocked with handcrafted works, wares and wearables; 35 local restaurants and cafes serving their most popular dishes; the Farm to Turntable Food Truck Park with 20 of the area’s best food trucks; the now-famous Craft Beer Hall that’s complete with an array of local, regional and national craft beers; plus plenty of bars throughout the grounds featuring libations like local whiskeys, hard seltzers, specialty drinks and frozen treats.

More than 50 acts will hit the five stages over the two-day event taking place September 25 and 26. Guests will need to order tickets in advance, and will have to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

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