A Weekend of Good Food and Music in Franklin, TN

There were plenty of reasons to splurge for the VIP treatment at last weekend’s Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival at the Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin. TN.  

In addition to a private pavilion with televisions to keep up with football, luxe bathrooms, free salon services from a local parlor and premium viewing spots right near the main stage, VIPs received an even more important perk: free food prepared on-site and served daily from some of Nashville’s favorite restaurants who made the trek down to the festival. 

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As soon as the service windows went up, patrons jumped in line to enjoy treats from local heroes from Nashville eateries including Peg Leg Porker, Arnold’s Country Kitchen and GReKo Greek Street Food. While the VIPs were certainly appreciative of the gratis grub, they probably didn’t realize what these restaurateurs went through to bring their brand of Nashville cuisine to the masses.  

Carey and Delaniah Bringle brought many members of the Peg Leg Porker crew plus a huge cooking trailer to create a live-fire fantasy featuring a whole hog presentation and all sorts of fruits and vegetables cooked over embers and fire.  

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Once service began, the staff scrambled like the pros they are to hand out plates of delectable pork and all the fixins to hungry crowd, and you could see the long line constantly advancing, a rarity at many of these music festivals. 

Kahlil Arnold brought friends and family to staff the Arnold’s booth, and any guest who braved their line went home with a real idea of what Nashville meat and three cooking is all about. Kahlil stood in the blazing sun in the back of the Arnold’s tent, cooking up both his famous fried chicken and catfish while simultaneously working the flat-top griddle to pump out corn cakes as an accompaniment.  

Other great side dishes served with every meal were Arnold’s fantastic green beans, slaw and butter beans. While the queue did get a little lengthy at times, it was still shorter than an average day at Arnold’s restaurant in downtown Nashville, so that was another bonus for the VIPs intelligent enough to get that upgrade. 

The GReKo’s crew shared some of the cooking space with their neighbors, offering up their own unique brand of Greek street food. Grilled soulvaki skewers showed off their talents with fire, smoke and meat and hopefully earned them new legions of fans who will visit their great East Nashville eatery. So next year when Pilgrimage passes go on sale again, keep this perk in mind when you decide whether to go for the VIP package. (Hint: you definitely should!)

Heather Sinyard