NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess) — The Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival was washed out after organizers were forced to cancel programming for Saturday evening and all of Sunday due to dangerous weather.
The two-day art and music festival has taken place annually in Franklin, Tennessee since its inception in 2015. This year’s lineup included headliners Jack White, Hozier, Counting Crows, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, and Lionel Richie.
The Nashville Tennessean reported that heavy rains hit the festival on Saturday at approximately 4:30 pm, with festival-goers receiving conflicting instructions from festival officials. Some were told to shelter in place, while others were told to see shelter in nearby buildings in Franklin.
Officials closed the road outside of the festival during the evacuation and did not allow vehicles to exit the parking lot. As a result, numerous cars became stranded in the increasingly muddy grass parking lot, the Tennessean reported.
“[That was] because we had approximately 15,000 people exiting the venue in evacuation mode,” Franklin Fire Department Deputy Chief Todd Horton told the Tennessean. “It was for the safety of pedestrians.”
In a statement posted to the festival’s website, organizers wrote:
“While the cancellations of Pilgrimage’s Saturday afternoon and Sunday programming due to inclement and dangerous weather including overall site safety conditions is disappointing for everyone, we fully support the decision made by Chief Todd Horton and the City of Franklin. The safety of our patrons, guests, artists, and staff is the first priority. The lightning strikes on Saturday afternoon forced an evacuation and along with the persistent rainfall has left the site unsafe and unavailable to use. We remain committed to working with Chief Horton and the city as partners now and in the future.
“We are saddened that we can not move forward with the festival as well but please know that we will be issuing refunds as soon as possible. We are finalizing those details and will keep you posted.
“For those asking if yesterday was canceled because of rain, there was lightning in the area that was passing directly over the City of Franklin. It eventually crossed over our 8 mile safety perimeter with 69 recorded lightning strikes over the course of the temporary evacuation and one strike as close as .9 miles away. The safest place to seek shelter was vehicles, The Factory and Liberty Elementary. Vehicles were held until attendees evacuating on foot were cleared from the streets as this was part of our shelter in place evacuation plan. Once pedestrians were safe, we allowed cars to leave the site.”