Pilgrimage Festival organizers are already planning for next September’s festival, but they’ll get the official go-ahead if aldermen vote to approve the 2019 event permit at Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. / File photo
By JOHN McBRYDE
After a couple of Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings where plans to improve the handling of emergency situations at the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival were presented, organizers of the event are looking forward to what will likely be approval for a 2019 permit when the board meets Tuesday night.
“City staff was supportive of the plan, and I think aldermen were wanting to be assured of that,” said Mike Alday of Alday Communications. Alday was hired last week as Pilgrimage’s local communications liaison.
“We feel positive where things stand. Of course, they still have to vote, but we’re optimistic.”
Last September’s Pilgrimage, of course, was beset with weather conditions that shortened festival activities on Saturday and completely canceled all programming on Sunday. It was the first time the festival had encountered more serious concerns in its four years of existence at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin.
As a result, Franklin Deputy Fire Chief Todd Horton and others on the city’s staff worked with Pilgrimage organizers Brandt Wood, Kevin Griffin and Michael Wheland to develop an extensive after-action report that would address and correct most of the festival’s problems that arose last year. Horton took the better part of an hour to present the report at the last BOMA work session.
“I think that speaks volumes on our city team and how we do things,” Franklin Mayor Ken Moore said recently of how detailed the report was. “They’ve been planning for the next one, and they have also been evaluating what was good and what was bad and how can it be improved. Not only is our team doing that, but they’re doing it in conjunction with the Pilgrimage and the Pilgrimage folks are working on things they need to be working on.”
Alday said the festival’s staff has already been planning for the fifth annual Pilgrimage for some time, but being granted the event permit would help matters move forward.
Artists for next September’s event are expected to be announced in early April.