Kevin Griffin Talks Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Pageant’s ‘Vibes’ – Hollywood Life


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Picture Credit score: Ray Garbo/Shutterstock

Kevin Griffin is “cool as a cucumber” when speaking with HollywoodLife. On the time, it was lower than three weeks away from the 2022 version of the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Pageant (happening tomorrow, Sept. 24 and 25, on the Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee.) This 12 months’s version of the long-running pageant featured Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, The Avett Brothers, Elle King, Jon Batiste, and a stacked lineup, however the Higher Than Ezra frontman – and pageant co-founder – wasn’t sweating the main points. “Truthfully, it’s like summer season camp. All people begins coming in over the following week, and when it winds down, and we’re doing the postmortem, taking issues down and cleansing up the park, it’s that ‘unhappy finish of camp’ sort of vibe.”

“Me and my companions, W. Brandt Wooden and Michael Whelan, have been lucky to develop up going to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Pageant,” shares Griffin. “And what Jazz Fest is, it’s a celebration of the very best music, meals, tradition, artisans, and retailers of the Gulf south — New Orleans has been spreading out —  and man, you’ve received indie hipsters and scenesters with youngsters and households – and there’s an enormous basis, he Jazz & Heritage Basis, that helps music packages and completely different charitable organizations within the metropolis — all these issues. I grew up pondering, ‘Hey, all festivals are like this.’ It’s family-friendly. It’s cool.”

Kevin Griffin (Ray Garbo/Shutterstock)

“And, and fascinating musically and family-friendly will not be mutually unique. They’ll exist collectively, and trigger I’ve seen, I grew up with it,” he provides. Such is the case with the Lil’ Pilgrims Household Stage And Mare Barn Theatre, one of many 5 phases on the Pilgrimage Music Pageant. Households can take within the sights and the sounds of the pageant all through the day, and be again in time to see Jon Batiste and Brandi Carlile shut out Saturday on the Gold File Highway and Midnight Solar phases.

Higher Than Ezra (Robby Klein)

Pilgrimage gives its personal distinctive expertise. When Kevin relocated to Franklin, Tennessee, in 2013, he needed to deliver that “Jazz Fest feeling” to his new residence. “Even in 2013, there was already Bonnaroo; there have been already a ton of festivals. However I used to be like, this higher-end, smaller pageant expertise, there’s actually a lane for it. Possibly you went to Bonnaroo, partied in your tent, and now you’ve received a household. Or, you’d like some good meals, however you continue to suppose, ‘Man, I nonetheless dig some cool music.’ It’s actually cool what we get to do right here within the metropolis. It simply clicks.”

Serving to this 12 months “click on” is a deal with Americana music. “For those who take a look at our previous lineups,” says Kevin, “it sort of adjustments. We’ve had some years which have leaned Americana nation, like this 12 months. We’ve had some years which have leaned extra pop, like Justin Timberlake and Stroll The Moon. After which, extra rock like Foo Fighters and The Killers. And we simply sort of really feel what we’re into that 12 months, and what feels like that 12 months.”

Typically, “the lineups simply fall collectively,” says Griffin. “Typically, it’s by chance, and generally, it’s by design. This 12 months, we locked in Chris Stapleton and Brandi, it sort of set the tone. And we’ve all the time needed to get Jon Batiste – and we could also be one in all his few public performances this 12 months. He’s not doing any festivals as a result of he’s coping with his spouse’s sick well being. So we’re very grateful to be having him. However, this can be a very particular land we’re going for this 12 months, and it appears like we’ve chosen proper.”

Nonetheless, what actually makes the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Pageant stand out among the many relaxation is the deal with the latter half of the title: the tradition. Griffin tells HollywoodLife that’s not just a few “lip service” or branding, however that the pageant celebrates the affect the realm has had on fashionable music. “We now have this enormous tent referred to as the American Music Triangle tent. And the ‘music triangle’ is the triangle that surrounds the Mississippi Delta. For those who do a triangle from New Orleans as much as Memphis over to Nashville and again right down to New Orleans, that area – from Louisiana to Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee – is arguably the place not solely American music (rock, blues jazz) has come from, however it’s infiltrated the entire world.”

“So we’ve this tent the place municipalities from all within the triangle — Greenville Cleveland, Tupelo,  Muscle mass Shoals, New Orleans, Memphis — at even San Antonio with Tejano music, all of them have cubicles there. And we’ve Mike Wolfe from American Pickers curating the room with all these antiques from his personal warehouse. Whenever you go into this tent, it’s like stepping again in time. You may have folks talking about music genres on stage, after which you’ve an artist exhibiting that. We actually bolstered the cultural half this 12 months.”

“We now have the Black Opry, which has simply been this wonderful power and group for black artists within the Americana and nation area,” he says. “After which on Sunday, we’ve a Southern gospel service simply to kick off the day. It’s a non-denominational simply celebration of gospel music.”

And so I feel this 12 months already, I’m simply enthusiastic about it. I do know I’ll look again with admiration for making the cultural a part of the pageant this deep dive into music and tradition and historical past. To have the ability to deliver that to folks after which to get to see what’s in their very own yard and take pleasure in it? And fostering it to a brand new technology is basically, actually cool. I dig that half, and I can not take accountability for it — it’s one in all my companions, Brant Wooden, who spearheads the cultural half. And it’s actually cool.”

“We’ve been unabashed in our tipping a hat again to Jazz Fest in New Orleans,” concludes Griffin. “They do it so effectively —  the cultural half, that DNA is about their pageant. And, and we introduced that to center Tennessee in our personal distinctive method.”

Click on right here for extra details about the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Pageant. 


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