Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival returns to The Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin for its fifth year this Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22, with its usual stellar lineup of music from a number of genres.
Organizers have designed the lineup for the festival, which begins at 10am and winds down at 8:30pm each day on various outdoor stages, with the maximum listening pleasure in mind and a wide range of musical genres in play.
While there may be overlapping times for some acts you want to see, it’s best to plan ahead for your absolute favorites, and leave room for unscheduled and unexpected pleasures that invariably occur, particularly earlier in the day before the headliners hit the stage.
Need we mention that the show is scheduled rain or shine. And we’ve had both at Pilgrimage. Do bring rain gear, wear walking shoes, and pack and reapply sunscreen. Arrive early. Don’t be in an all-fired hurry to be the first to leave after the last notes sound.
Here’s a list of picks to get you started. You’re more than welcome to add the undeniable Keith Urban to your Saturday list, although you’ll have a chance to see and hear him again soon headlining Nashville’s downtown New Year’s Eve concert.
The Wild Reeds, 11:15am-NOON, Gold Record Road stage. Fronted by three women, The Wild Reeds are an LA-based alt-folk band that have become NPR and Spotify darlings of late. They’re label mates of The Lumineers on Nashville-based Dualtone Records.
The War and Treaty. 12:30-1:20pm, Gold Record Road stage. Fresh from triumphant appearances at last week’s Americanafest, the husband-and-wife duo of Michael and Tanya Tucker known as The War and Treaty continue to wow audiences with their soul- and gospel-driven folk. Nashville singer-songwriter-guitar god Buddy Miller produced their breakout record, “Healing Tide.”
Butch Walker. 1:20-2:30pm, Midnight Sun stage. Part-time Nashville resident Butch Walker ranks as one of the more underappreciated guitar-playing singer-songwriting talents in the music business despite many years of critical acclaim, having been called “one of America’s best singer-songwriters” by Rolling Stone magazine.
Lauren Daigle. 2:50-3:50pm, Midnight Sun stage. Young powerhouse vocalist and Nashville-area resident Lauren Dangle has of late been attempting the shed being labeled a Christian artist as she makes the tours of daytime and nighttime talk shows while enjoying more mainstream success for her hit “You Say.”
Jake Leg Stompers. 3:10-3:40pm, American Music Triangle Experience. Murfreesboro’s greatest jug band churns through an always-entertaining set of Pre-War roots music on their period instruments, led by noted photographer and St. Louis Cardinals fan Bill Steber: aka Hambone Willie Nevil.
Leon Bridges. 4:20-5:35pm, Midnight Sun stage. The pride of Fort Worth, Texas, Leon Bridges has been a go-to talent at festivals for several years now thanks to his smooth neo-soul vocals and snappy stage presence.
Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. 5:15-6:30pm, Harpeth River stage. Perhaps better known for a time as Paul Simon’s wife, the revival of Edie Brickell and her band the New Bohemians has been most welcomed for alt-rock fans enamored by their ‘90s hit “What I Am,” which still holds up.
The Killers. 6:30-8:30pm, Midnight Sun stage. Las Vegas dance-rock stars The Killers headlined Bonnaroo in 2018 and continue to pack a punch on stage. Best arrive early, because they opened their ‘Roo set with their smash 2004 hit “Mr. Brightside.”
Fairfield Four Gospel Jam. 11:25-11:55am, American Music Triangle Experience. The chance to see The Fairfield Four, Nashville’s Grammy Award-winning gospel group in existence for more than 90 years — and on a Sunday morning no less — is too tough to pass up.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band. NOON-12:50pm. The hardest-working jazz band in show business carries the time-honored name of Preservation Hall, a French Quarter institution in New Orleans since 1961. You want to hear what Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five sounded like back in the day, these are your cool cats.
Mando Saenz. 12:45-1:30pm, Shady Grove stage. Texas-bred and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Mando Saenz adds quality wherever and whenever he pops up. His songwriting bridges the gap between Nashville pop and Americana, and his upcoming fourth album was produced by ex-WIlco drummer and founding member Ken Coomer.
Molly Tuttle. 2:05-3pm, Harpeth River stage. Winner of the 2018 Americana Award for Instrumentalist of the Year, young Nashville-based Molly Tuttle draws continued praise as well for her vocals and songwriting as well as for her spectacular guitar and banjo playing.
Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real. 3:15-4:35pm, Gold Record Road stage. See and hear what all the fuss is about for Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, as Willie Nelson’s singer and guitar-playing kid and band in recent months have sold out Ryman Auditorium and opened for ELO at Bridgestone Arena.
Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats. 4:15-5:30pm, Midnight Sun stage. Denver-based Americana and R&B road dogs Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats rank among the go-to festival acts for their horn-drenched, high-energy show.
The Foo Fighters. 6:05-8:30pm, Midnight Sun stage. Reason enough to pay for a Pilgrimage Fest ticket this year, The Foo Fighters arguably remain the pre-eminent American rock band of their generation. This is a well-oiled, hit-heavy machine, led by front man Dave Grohl’s powerhouse vocals and sweat-drenched cheerleading, and lead guitarist Chris Shiflett’s riffage.