Who You Need to See at Nashville’s New Pilgrimage Music Festival

September 24, 2015 | By | Comments (9)

PicMonkey Collage

Now that you’ve had a hot second to recover from Forecastle, fold up your tent after Bonnaroo, and add a new piece of BayouWear to your wardrobe after New Orleans’ Jazz Fest, it’s time to start your game plan for Fall festivals.

This weekend we’ll be heading to this year’s new fest Pilgrimage in bucolic Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Music City. Inspired by the diversity of Jazz Fest’s lineup (think Allen Toussaint to The Who), the Pilgrimage roster includes Wilco, Willie Nelson, Dr. John, Lucius, The Punch Brothers, and Charles Bradley. Steven Tyler is even listed as a solo performer. Many of the artists are expected to use part of their sets for acoustic breakdowns, and some stages will also host “Pilgri-mashups” that pair different artists for one-time collaborations.

Here’s who you should circle on your festival schedule.

Willie Nelson
Sunday @6:30 p.m. on the Midnight Sun Stage

From performing at the the 30th Farm Aid to shooting tequila with Kacey Musgraves in her latest music video, Willie is still rolling at 82-years-old. His latest album, Django and Jimmie, is his 6th collaboration with friend Merle Haggard since they released Pancho & Lefty in 1983. According to Merle, Willie still sings and performs with the energy of a teenager.

Saturday @6:15 p.m. on the Midnight Sun Stage

If you saw Wilco before July 16th, you now have a pretty valid excuse to see them again since they just started performing material from their surprise album they released online, Star Wars. But, let’s be real, you didn’t need an excuse anyway.

The Punch Brothers
Saturday @4:15 on the Harpeth River Stage

You may have seen acoustic rock stars The Punch Brothers covering songs like Radiohead’s “Kid A” and The Strokes’ “Reptilia” with a banjo, guitar, mandolin, upright bass, and fiddle on The AV Club, but you shouldn’t miss a chance to see their raw talent live. Frontman Chris Thile will soon be taking the reigns from famed radio host Garrison Keillor as the new host of NPR’s Prairie Home Companion.

Sunday @12:00 p.m. on the Gold Record Road Stage

While you might come to see which colorful, coordinating wardrobe choice they’re wearing, you’ll stay for the entrancing harmonies of this female duo and their band. They count Wilco, The Decemberists, and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne among their fans.

Saturday @10:45 a.m. on the Midnight Sun Stage

We know. Trudging your way to a music festival on Saturday morning before 11 a.m. is a hard sell, but early birds will get to see who some are calling the next B.B. King. A 16-year-old prodigy and Clarksdale resident, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is now a regular on the juke joint and blues festival circuits in between being a high school student.


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