Pilgrimage Music Festival: A Gateway to Our Mission

Two weekends ago, I had the opportunity to represent Blood:Water at the annual Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tenn., alongside Dan Haseltine, Blood:Water co-founder and artist relations, and our engagement intern, Amanda Wojcinski! Though we were lucky enough to have our booth in full shade all day, I think we got a very small taste of the heat our friends in Africa experience throughout most of the year! Regardless, we were excited to share the mission of Blood:Water with anyone who stopped by our booth.

On the first day of the festival, we put most of our effort into getting the word out as much as possible about the Pilgrimage Pairings show that was happening later that night at The Factory at Franklin benefitting Blood:Water and Hard Bargain Association. The show featured John Paul White, the male voice behind The Civil Wars, and The Secret Sisters, a harmonious duo with a throwback sound. Okay, seriously? John Paul White and The Secret Sisters? I’m not quite sure how you could refuse hearing those two acts perform live. We didn’t have any problems getting people to agree to join us for an evening of music for a good cause!

A music festival is a great gateway to getting the word out about Blood:Water, and the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. Amanda and I quickly found that people are willing to support a good cause when free pins and stickers are involved! We had so many people stop by the booth for those things, but when they left, they also knew more about Blood:Water’s mission.

We made connections with a diverse crowd of festival attendees, from music-industry partners, hipsters with a heart, and a 7-year-old girl who had been saving up her birthday money to give to a clean-water project. We even received a generous cash donation that we later found out had just been dropped into a port-a-potty! But, hey, it’s all part of the experience, and every dollar counts.

Needless to say, both the Pilgrimage Music Festival and Pilgrimage Pairings were a success thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the great tunes and listened as we shared how they can get involved in helping our friends in Africa!

And, I personally want to give a big shoutout to Dan, who put so much hard work into making both happen. We’ll see you next year, Pilgrimage!