PHOTO: Scott Metcalf poses with daughters Laila, 8, and Vienna, 4, at Pilgrimage Festival 2017 // Photo by Ashley Coker
By ASHLEY COKER
When many people think of music festivals, they imagine loud music, large crowds and adult libations. While Pilgrimage Festival offers all those things, it also caters to families.
Small children could be spotted during most every part of the festival, from the crowds in front of the headliners to the designated children’s area.
For some parents, the fact that Pilgrimage was billed as a family-friendly event is what got them through the gates in the first place.
Scott and Jamina Metcalf came all the way from Southern California with their kids, Silas, 10, Laila, 8 and Vienna, 4.
“We came because we wanted to see Justin Timberlake, and all the other acts seemed good too,” Scott said. “It mattered a lot to us that the festival was advertised as family-friendly. Even the music is nothing I mind my kids hearing; it is not offensive or anything.”
The Metcalf family has friends in Leiper’s Fork and had wanted to visit Franklin for awhile.
Scott said their visit exceeded the family’s expectations. Well, except for fall’s lingering humidity.
“We quite literally made the pilgrimage,” he said.
Alex and Rebecca Ford traveled the two hours from Chattanooga to see Timberlake with their infant son, Connor.
Rebecca said the couple saw Timberlake at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville when she was pregnant with her first child, who is now two, and were excited to see him again.
She said navigating the festival with Connor was not particularly difficult, thanks to a baby carrier and ample space to sit down during the midday heat.
“It is easier than it would be with my 2-year-old,” she joked. “I don’t know how parents with toddlers do it in this heat.”
Rebecca lounged in the grass with her son while her husband ventured up closer to the stage during Walk the Moon’s Saturday performance.
While some fans traveled with kids, others came from walking distance to enjoy the festival.
Jacob and Lynn Wilson, of Franklin, took in the shows with their 4-year-old son Brooks and infant daughter, Kate.
Jacob said the family lives right next door, so they walked over to the festival grounds each morning.
After spending the day at the festival with their kids, the couple left them with a sitter and came back to enjoy the headliners as a “mom and dad date.”
“They’re aren’t very many kid-friendly festivals, so this is pretty awesome,” Jacob said. “We are very fortunate to have this in Franklin.”
Not only is the festival appropriate for children, it also boasts a designated kids area called Lil’ Pilgrims. There, children could take in magic shows, participate in improv classes and play mini yard games.
The area also had several food stands for both kids and adults to enjoy, including a standalone hot dog truck.
When not enjoying shows on the Lil’ Pilgrims stage, some kids enjoyed the headliners just as much as their parents.
Magnolia Conner, 6, proudly sang every word to “I and Love and You” during The Avett Brothers set Saturday evening.
Her mother, Elizabeth Conner, of Clarksville, said it was Magnolia’s favorite song.