I Survived the Pilgrimage Festival

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Taking our kids to the Pilgrimage Festival was the first time we had decided to take them to an outdoor music festival of that magnitude ... and we survived it!

When talk of the Pilgrimage Festival first started circulating, we were curious. As music lovers, my husband and I were immediately interested in the lineup. Then, as we learned more about the festival and its children’s activities and such, we were intrigued. A music festival with children’s music, too? This is the first time we have ever been to one such as this. There were several bands that we, the parents, wanted to see and then there were several that we, as a family, wanted to see. How it was going to pan out was definitely on our minds.

With their handy map and lineups for each of the stages, we were able to map out what we wanted to see and do. While my husband went to one stage to check out a band, I took the kids over to the Hohner Little Pilgrims stage. This is the area that Ralph Covert, of Ralph’s World, was in charge of setting the lineup for. Among some of the children’s entertainers that we knew — like Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers and Ralph’s World — were a few new-to-our-kids performers like Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards and more — including their first introduction into Kevin Griffin’s music! We were so excited for them and loved to see how much they were enjoying themselves.

Playin’ Some Music with the Kids.

After we purchased a facepainting session for the both of them at one of the vendor booths, they were ready to check out what else was going on. There was a free musical petting zoo set up for the kids to try out little guitars. Our son showed great interest in this — which surprised us — and he walked up to the volunteer that was there and asked if he could try. The young lady showed our son how to hold the guitar and how to strum it. It was a cute moment where he payed close attention to what she was saying. After that was over, there was another children’s entertainer taking the stage. However, those beautiful pews were not filled with fans. The reason was not the music, it was that there was a pirate ship to the right of the stage that kids could play on.

Ahoy, Ye Mateys!

To the tune of some wonderful kids’ music, the children laughed and played until they were tired on the pirate ship. Every now and again, you would see the children stop and watch the music they were listening to. Several would even find themselves in front of the stage shaking their tail feathers! Our kids were super excited to see Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers … they’re PIRATES singing pirate songs next to a pirate ship! How perfect was that!? Tom Mason even walked over to climb aboard the ship while playing his music, too!

Gettin’ Crafty.

There were arts and crafts, too. This was a free activity done both days by Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards. They were able to make feathered masks and other props to then participate in a Mardi Gras Parade with Jazzy Ash herself leading up to the stage! Some kids were a little shy and hung back, but others were running to catch up to the artist. She then put on a fabulous, high-energy show for the kids.

Free Noisemakers for Kids! LOL.

DSC_3405Not only that, but there was even a time not listed on the lineup where kids could learn how to play the harmonica for free! There was an instructor there and he handed out harmonicas and instructions to every child under the tent (the harmonicas were free courtesy of Hohner … hence the children’s performance stage’s name). Our youngest was once again interested in learning. He sat in the crowd of kids and listened intently to the instructions. He did pretty good, too!

Then, it was back to the pirate ship to play. That’s when my husband returned to check on us. He was having so much fun checking out all the other artists at the other three stages. That’s where I kinda felt a little jealous. I wanted to hear some of them, too, but our kids did not want to leave this area or miss out on any of the performances dedicated to kids. Not to worry, I thoroughly enjoyed each of them, too! One of my faves was Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. It was rap music for kids, but you could understand everything they said. It was fun to listen to and the beat had you moving. He even had a free session of teaching kids how to rhyme and put down some lyrics, too. That was cute to watch.

By the end of the first day, it started to rain. So, we missed a little of the last acts, but we had fun playing in the rain!

Fun for Kids, Fun for Parents!

DSC_3740Once you’ve had your fun with your youngin’s, make sure to check out the other wonderful artists in the lineup for the other stages! We found it hard to leave the kids area on the first day. They decided they had had enough that day, and didn’t really want to come back the second day (it was much of the same lineup for them with just a few switchups). So, we gladly found a sitter for them and enjoyed a great second day of the festival to ourselves. Which was wonderful for me … uh-hem, big Steven Tyler fan here (wink, wink). His performance rocked the house (just look at that crowd in the reflection of his sunglasses)! Wow. He sang his new country single, “Love is Your Name,” which makes me want to hear even more newbies from him, along with some hit favorites.

We were able to check out several bands that I hadn’t heard of, too. This was a great moment to have, checking out the music scene and enjoying the wonderful Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin. We can’t wait for it to return … because we know it SHOULD!

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of two rambunctious kids and a new baby!

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