Pilgrimage Festival 2017: Wrap Up

On a normal Saturday in Franklin, Tennessee, you will see people checking out local produce at the Farmers Market. The Factory in Franklin will have a small crowd of people walking around and picking up unique gifts and maybe even making one at Third Coast Clay. This is not your normal Saturday in Franklin, that’s for sure.

Thanks to @pilgrimagefestival for having FOCUS on the 615 out at the festival! @thematthewgrant is a guest correspondent covering for us today. Watching from a covered side stage, it's the calm before the "Timberlake storm".😎 Just by asking if he could perform this year (after jumping on board last year), he single-handily doubled the attendance of last year! This big, little town of Franklin, Tennessee is all a buzz and the streets are full of music lovers! 💕🎸 ▪ ▪ ▪ #franklintn #franklin #tennessee #pilgrimagefestival #makethepilgrimage #music #festival #insta #instagram #instadaily #instagramer #instagramers #instagood #fun #cool #outside #sun #hot #crowd #photographer #photo #photography #photooftheday #picoftheday #stage

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An estimated 25,000 people from all over have swarmed in on this quiet town to attend The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival.  The now widely-known festival all started as a simple idea from festival co-creator and front man of the pop/rock band Better Than Ezra, Kevin Griffin.  Griffin who is also a Franklin resident was on a jog just a few years ago when he passed by The Park at Harlinsdale, a century-old horse farm that sits on 230 acres of land. He envisioned not just a music festival, but an experience that would highlight the diverse musical artists, food, beer, wine, and art that is rooted in Middle Tennessee.

Going into the festival’s third year, they knew they had to make it bigger and that is exactly what happened when co-producer and newly-transplanted icon, Justin Timberlake, asked if he could perform.  In what is one of Timberlake’s only musical appearances of 2017, he doubled the attendance of the previous year and he showed up ready to play for his new hometown!

Closing out the first night of the two-day festival which featured incredible performances I caught by The Avett Brothers, The Shadowboxers, Ruby Amanfu with Steelism, and many more, Timberlake walked out to 25,000 people on their feet and applauding before he sang his first note. Proving that he is a class act, Timberlake forewent a big show opener and instead covered Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, a prayer of sorts for the state that our country is currently in. With a bow of his head, Timberlake changed gears and ripped through hit after hit.  From “Drink You Away” and “Suit & Tie” to his closing numbers, the monster hits “Can’t Stop This Feeling!”, “Sexy Back”, and “Mirrors”, Timberlake had even the coolest East Nashville hipsters singing every word; making it a point to tell the crowd several times how much he loves his home state of Tennessee and that his new hometown is Franklin. It was clear, however, that no matter how much he loves Tennessee, Tennessee loves him even more!

The evening was highlighted when he reunited with Chris and Morgan Stapleton for the first time since their CMA Awards show duet.  Exchanging verses and taking turns doing each other’s background vocals on three of Stapleton’s songs.  The trio’s harmonies were so flawless that Timberlake’s band, “The Tennessee Kids”, couldn’t stop shaking their heads and neither could the audience.

As the night drew to a close and Timberlake took his final bow, it was clear that The Pilgrimage Festival delivered exactly what they said they would, a unique family-friendly experience that was for everyone! As the crowd filtered out onto Franklin Pike, you could already hear people making plans to come back next year.

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