Franklin board considers granting Pilgrimage Festival 5-year permit at Harlinsdale

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2019 Pilgrimage Music Festival, Day 2

This year’s Pilgrimage went off without any glaring safety issues. Co-founder Kevin Griffin was thrilled with the way the community came out and supported Pilgrimage. “It was a charmed weekend with beautiful weather, amazing music and good times.”

Going into its sixth year, the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival is becoming a Franklin staple. 

During the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session Tuesday, the music festival’s leadership team asked the city to make their status more permanent by granting them a five-year special event permit.

“We strive for nothing less than to be a world-class boutique festival that fits Franklin’s great reputation as a city,” Pilgrimage co-founder W. Brandt Wood said.

Wood said each year of the festival, held in September at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, brings the opportunity to become more “granular” by refining details. 

He said the most previous event was a relatively light year for attendance, due to building back goodwill after the 2018 festival was largely cancelled due to a major rainstorm.

 “As far as 2018, we learned some lessons,” Franklin Assistant Fire Chief Glenn Johnson, who served with other city staff as part of a special events team, said. “We went back to the drawing board, we redesigned some of the plans.” 

Ward 1 Alderman Bev Burger said the way the festival founders responded with refunds after the 2018 cancellations was well-received by the majority of citizens she had heard from.

“You got baptized by water,” she said.

“Fire,” Wood added, chuckling.

“Fire and water, a couple years ago, and you’ve made the most of it,” Burger said.

The city has granted multi-year permitting to other events. It includes a review of the application each year.

About 2% of ticket revenue at the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival goes towards the nonprofit Pilgrimage Foundation, which has previously benefited the local arts, education, parks and preservation communities.

The dates for the festival this year are Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27.

Part of the festival includes the partial closure of Franklin Road south of Liberty Pike, as festival attendees often trek into Harlinsdale from downtown or nearby.

The BOMA will vote on the special event permit measure during its next meeting on Jan. 28.

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