By BROOKE WANSER
Though the Franklin Police department did their best to control the traffic from the estimated 25,000 Pilgrimage Music Festival attendees, many complained of difficulties getting out of the venue and lack of cell service to hail rides on Saturday evening.
Franklin Police spokesman Lt. Charles Warner said congestion was inevitable but police would continue to do their best. “Officers will continue working with festival holders today to move the influx of motorists attending the festival, and those simply passing through,” Warner said in an emailed statement.
He referred festival-goers to the Franklin Police’s Twitter account, @FranklinTNPD, where he will share traffic and event updates.
Attendees took to Twitter to express their emotions.
Others thanked the Franklin Police Department for directing the flow of traffic.
Sarah Evins, who came to pick up her son and his friends, said a woman approached her and offered her money to drive them away from the festival.
“Is this your car?” Evins said the woman said. “I’ll pay you $100 in cash if you drive my friends and me to the next intersection. $200!”
Evins said the offer made her uncomfortable, and she declined, to wait for her son.
But traffic woes didn’t stop attendees from enjoying Sunday’s offerings.
“It’s hot, but it’s awesome,” said Tammy Williams as she chowed down on a taco in the food court. “The music is great, the people are great, food’s been good.”
Williams, who lives in Gallatin, Tenn., said she had no complaints about the festival, even after biking four miles each way from her hotel in Cool Springs to get to the grounds yesterday.
After biking back in the dark last night, (“We were crazy,” she said) Williams and her husband and brother-in-law took a Lyft to get to the festival today. “We were here within two minutes,” she said happily.
Nor did Craig McCormick, who drove with his wife and four children, ages two through 18, from Tallahassee, Fla., express frustration with any aspect of the festival.
McCormick sat in the shade of an umbrella in front of the Vanderbilt Health Lil’ Pilgrims Stage Sunday morning while his younger children danced to Kids Improv.
Along with many parents, McCormick and his wife had noise-canceling headphones for their children. “It’s the best music festival I’ve ever been to!” exclaimed his daughter, Claire.
“It’s her first one,” McCormick said bemusedly.
The festival provided no shortage of food or merchandise vendors, many with local ties.
Kristen Pellegrino, the brand representative for Project 615 in Nashville, was in a
tent selling t-shirts made by men dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, and men who are formerly homeless and addicted.
Pellegrino said the faith-based retail project involves teaching men to screen print shirts and ball caps. “They have a ranch where everyone will go there and pretty much dive into the word of God,” she said. “They all give their testimonies and work together every single day to better themselves.”
Items feature Nashville insignia, like the 615 area code, and “Spread Love: It’s the Nashville Way.”
Tonia Sellers is a Franklin-based artist who sells guitar themed pieces with a “folk art flair” under the label of Clever Clogs.
After being a stay-at-home mom for several years, Sellers said she “transitioned
into a creative period of my life,” and began her retail art business in 2010.
She wrote songs and released a CD, then deciding to focus on her artwork. Sellers has been a vendor at each of the past two Pilgrimage festivals, as well as this year.
Sellers said the name of her business is a British expression and came from a friend: “You think you know it all, you’re Miss Clever Clogs,” she said. “I’ve always been creative all my life, it’s full-time work for part-time pay, but I love connecting with the people.”
Larissa Loden is a jewelry creator who designed her own line 15 years ago, after moving from upstate New York to Minneapolis.
She attended the University of Minnesota as an art education major as her line
grew and she spent summers selling it at fairs and festivals.
Her five cousins live in Franklin and convinced her to bring her wares to sell during the first year. She has been coming since then, and her ties make it a favorite.
“The whole Nashville, Tennessee area is special,” Loden said.