In 2015, three friends — Kevin Griffin, Michael Whelan and Brandt Wood — joined together to launch the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in the pastoral setting provided by The Park at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin.
These lifelong friends set out to create an event that would showcase the community spirit of Franklin through a diverse music lineup supported by local artisans and food vendors.
Over the past four years, Pilgrimage has helped cast a national eye on the beauty of Franklin, while also providing many tangible and intangible benefits to local charities, the business community and the community as a whole.
Since its formation, Pilgrimage has generated billions of impressions through publicity nationally and internationally.
2018 Pilgrimage-Related Media
• Impressions: 123 million
• Ad Value Equivalent: $1.1 million
Pilgrimage has directly donated nearly $180,000 to charities since 2015, including: Friends of Franklin Parks, Musicares, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, Dark Horse Institute, American Red Cross and Artist Mentoring Program.
The Park at Harlinsdale — as the home of the festival — is especially near and dear to the hearts of the organizers. Friends of Franklin Parks receives $1 from every ticket sold to support the continued revitalization of Harlinsdale campus, including projects such as the Historic Main Barn renovation and recently announced Hayes House restoration.
In 2019, Pilgrimage announced the designation of four new local official charities: GraceWorks Ministries, Brightstone, High Hopes Development Center and Mercy Community Healthcare.
Additionally, Pilgrimage has donated tickets for use in charitable auctions for hundreds of local organizations. In 2019 alone, Pilgrimage has donated more than 120 tickets to nearly 50 different organizations for use in fundraising.
New for 2019, Pilgrimage is hosting a Community Day, providing the opportunity for high school kids from neighboring schools to visit the festival site on Friday to meet with the producers and get a behind-the-scenes tour. Pilgrimage is also partnering with Columbia State on potential scholarships and programs for students interested in music productions and film.
The festival provides economic benefits both directly and indirectly. In addition to filling hotel rooms throughout the area and pushing festival goers to local shops, restaurants and bars, Pilgrimage works closely with Williamson, Inc. to fully leverage the assets of the festival to benefit the business community.
The chamber utilizes Pilgrimage as a cornerstone of “red carpet” tours hosted every other year for site consultants from across the country. According to the Nashville Business Journal, the festival was cited as a primary reason that the site consultant for AllianceBernstein added the Nashville region to its list of potential relocation areas. Nashville was eventually selected and will serve as the home for the company and its employees.
For 2019, Pilgrimage has jointly partnered with Visit Franklin on a formal economic impact of the festival.