Pilgrimage & Hootenanny

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The Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival and Blood:Water!  

For all the narratives about working slowly and being a sailboat of an organization, sometimes things move quickly. Six months ago I became aware of a new music festival taking place in my own hometown of Franklin, Tenn. In an attempt to be a good steward of my role handling artist relationships, I did a little exploring.

The artist line-up was impressive... if not ambitious. Willie Nelson, Wilco, Sheryl Crow, Weezer, Band of Horses, Cage the Elephant, Neko Case, The Decemberists, Dawes...and on and on it went. It was as if the founders of the festival had raided my music library, and invited all the acts I have been listening to in recent days to come and perform in my backyard.

I had hoped for a Blood:Water booth somewhere on the festival grounds. But after a few conversations with the incredible festival vending staff, it became obvious that THEY had a much greater vision for how music and philanthropy could co-exist.

We spent the better part of four months shaping and re-shaping the ways we could include Blood:Water, and support the artists in the Franklin/Nashville community.

And so here is the culmination of our work...

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Though a pilgrimage can be a solitary experience, it is also made in the light of others that have gone before. For hikers along the Appalachian Trail, there is a constant reminder that although they may walk alone, the path they walk is well-worn by ages of travelers finding their way and reaching their milestones.

If there were to be a word that might play opposite to the idea of solitary travel, it would be Hootenanny.

It is a funny Clampett-esque kind of word that seems to conjure images of everything and the kitchen sink. It is a gathering of everybody bringing what we have. It is as metaphoric as Pilgrimage, and although antithetical to aloneness, it is complimentary in the ebb and flow of our living circumstance. We need hootenanny as much as we need pilgrimage. We need congregation, a cloud of witnesses, a choir, a fellowship that reminds us of the threads we cannot cut and the tapestry we cannot often remember even in all its diverse beauty that we are amidst and intricately woven.

If you happen to be in Franklin, Tenn., this weekend, we will be celebrating the ideas of Pilgrimage and Hootenanny. We hope you can join us.

A Fellow Traveler,

Dan