The annual Pilgrimage Festival returned to the beautiful “The Park at Harlinsdale Farm.” After taking 2020 off because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fest returned with much anticipation and excitement. That excitement was definitely felt as the doors open and the hordes of patron flowed into the venue.

By mid-day the field was littered with families and groups of friends lounging on their blankets and chairs enjoying the near perfect weather and even more perfect tunes.

I personally do not have anything to compare this year to past years, having never been to this festival before. With that said though, I have been to MANY festivals, some well done, some complete disasters, and I will say that the festival producers appeared to have done nearly everything right. Everything was very easy to find on the grounds, I love that they had food and beverage areas scattered all over, which helped alleviate crowds and massive lines everywhere.

As for the musical selections, I can say it was great, very country and americana heavy with a very mild dose of some rock. I would love to see this festival expand the offerings slightly, however they do need to be careful to maintain the family-friendly vibe. One artist in particular had me raising eyebrows as he constantly ran the F word into every sentence and dropped some MF’s etc.. Now I am not a prude in any stretch and those words have been known to come from my mouth, BUT when on a stage in front of many little ones, I would think someone could control that a little better, it got so irritating before the end of the first song I had walked off to another stage. Other than that, the musical offerings were amazing.

The Americana stage/tent was by far one of my favorites. Seeing amazing legends like Robert Finley and Valerie June perform in such an intimate setting was incredibly special, add in the new talents of the gorgeous Layla Tucker and I could have easily sat in that tent all day.

A close second was probably the Shady Acres stage, a very tiny stage nestled under some massive stage. It had a very cool little “concert in the park” vibe. My only compaint on that stage, would be raise it up a tad, and make it a little larger. Some artists were practically playing on top of each other it was so tiny, but the talent was spectacular.

As for the two main stages, I’ll confidently say I could have done without both of them. I found all the gems and starts performing on the two smaller stages. Better than Ezra was great to see again, and would have loved to see Maren Morris’ set, but when an artist won’t let us shoot them, I don’t bother to watch them. Sadly that also meant that I left before the Black Keys, as I didn’t want to sit for 90 minutes just waiting on them to come on. I had enough editing to do having shot 19 acts already. Apologies to the Black Keys as they are always awesome to photograph and very photographer friendly.

As for day 2 of the fest, sadly due to some unforeseen events with the photo limits I did not return for day 2. Hopefully next year they will be more transparent with any photo limits in advance so they can be worked out in time.

Festival Producers Press Conf.

JT Hodges

Robert Finley

Boo Ray

Emily West

Layla Tucker

Katie Pruitt

Low Cut Connie

Myron Elklins

Valerie June


Natalie Madigan

The Marcus King Band

The Local Honeys

Jimbo Mathus

Amos Lee

Better Than Ezra

Steve Byrne

Dylan LeBlanc