Weather Derails Pilgrimage Music And Cultural Festival; Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Jack White Were To Perform

– Pilgrimage
Shoves & Rope
A “rain or shine” event can’t always stand up to hard rain and lightning. Bad weather in Middle Tennessee halted part of Saturday and the entire Sunday program of the Pilgrimage Cultural and Music Festival, a four-year-old event held a half-hour south of Nashville.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>As always, your safety is our first and foremost priority. Thank you again for your patience and support. Please continue to monitor the Pilgrimage app and our social media channels for more info.</p>&mdash; Pilgrimage Festival (@PilgrimageFest) <a href=””>September 23, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Artists that would have performed Sunday included Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Brandi Carlile, Bleachers, Lord Huron, The Struts, Keb’ Mo’ Band, Jade Bird and Pete Yorn. Saturday’s late-afternoon cancellation nixed performances by Jack White, Lionel Richie, Hozier and Elle King.
A statement at the festival website blamed Sunday’s cancellation on “unsafe conditions” and “the threat of continued inclement weather” in the area. 
The City of Franklin and its Deputy Chief of Emergency Management made the decision to call off Sunday’s portion of the program, according to the statement. 
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Williamson County, where Franklin is located, at 10:54 am local time. Some areas in Middle Tennessee had received from two to six inches of rainfall and were expected to receive one to two additional inches. 
The festival ran well and had warm, mostly cloudy weather until late Saturday afternoon. The City of Franklin tweeted that Pilgrimage organizers and deputy fire chief decided to cancel the latter part of Saturday’s event. Explaining Saturday’s cancellation, Pilgrimage said “lightning in the area was going to be passing directly over [the] city of Franklin. 
It eventually crossed over our 8-mile safety perimeter with 69 recorded lighting strikes over the course of the temporary evacuation and one strike as close as 0.9 miles away.” At the festival site, the 200-acre Harlinsdale Farm city park, the worst weather was light winds and heavy rains for roughly 20 minutes as the storm passed. 
No information on ticket refunds had been given by midday Sunday. 
As artists reached out to their fans on social media with apologies, some hinted at upcoming shows in the area. Third Man Records tweeted that “Jack [White] looks forward to making up his performance for fans soon.” 
On Sunday morning, Hozier tweeted his apologies to his fans and added he’ll be back in the Nashville area in the first few months of 2019. 
Pete Yorn tweeted, “I promise to get back to Nashville to play for everyone real soon.” Low Cut Connie, schedule to play Sunday, reminded fans of an upcoming show in Nashville in November. 
Dawes, who performed their entire set on Saturday, tweeted to fans that the Tabernacle, where the band will play Sunday, will give free admission to people with Pilgrimage wristbands or tickets. 
On Saturday afternoon, performances were postponed at 4:46pm local time, and event organizers issued an evacuation as severe weather approached Franklin. The National Weather service had issued a warning for “potential for high winds” in the area, Pilgrimage organizers explained. Festivalgoers were instructed to seek shelter inside their cars and in nearby buildings. 
In the meantime, festival-goers stuck in parking lots were describing their experience on social media and the message section of the Pilgrimage mobile app. Vehicles in Pilgrimage’s parking lots were prevented from leaving for as much as three hours, according to accounts.
 Some people complained about parking problems last year, too, and vowed not to return to future Pilgrimage festivals. For its part, Pilgrimage explained festival-goers’ vehicles, as well as a nearby building and elementary school, were the safest place to seek shelter. In addition, according to organizers, the festival’s evacuation plan called for cars to be held in parking lots until people leaving on foot were off nearby streets. 
Weather is a frequent concern for festival organizers, with recent events marred by mother nature’s wrath including Panorama festival in New York and North Coast Festival in Chicago, who both had to evacuate at least one of their festival days, and X Ambassadors’ Cayuga Sound festival in Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend, which was forced to shorten its first day, although all artists performed. 
Concert insurance veteran Peter Tempkins of HUB International has lots of experience in cancellations and said he has observed fans trusting their weather apps more than the promoters’ decisions. 
“When a festival makes a decision to evacuate due to weather, they don’t make that decision lightly,” Tempkins said. “I’ve been in those ‘war rooms’ and nobody wants to make that decision. People need to pay attention to that.”
“If you went to any promoter and said, ‘You have a choice of making a bad decision by evacuating or having three people injured due to lightning and falling debris,’ my gut is they would all choose the bad press of [cancellation]. … I think [the industry] is very conscious of the importance of keeping people safe.”