Pilgrimage Festival 2017: Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton, Eddie Vedder and More

CMT Hot 20 Countdown Spotlights Tennessee Music Festival Sept. 30 and Oct. 1

The thousands of music fans who made the trip to the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee walked away with concert memories they will never forget.

On Saturday (Sept. 23), Justin Timberlake capped day one of the two-day event with a soul-shaking performance that kicked off with a moving cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” In a powerful display of unification, members of his band joined Timberlake in a long line at the front of the stage as they finished the iconic song. Then they moved into “Drink You Away” and “Suit & Tie.”

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Musician Justin Timberlake performs at the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for M2M Construction) John Shearer/Getty Images for M2M Construction

Later on in his set, Timberlake brought out surprise guests Chris and Morgane Stapleton to sing “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Fire Away” and “Sometimes I Cry” from Stapleton’s Grammy-winning album Traveller.

Other highlights from day one included performances by Ruby Amanfu with Steelism, the Avett Brothers, Better Than Ezra, Gary Clark, Jr., the Jerry Douglas Band, Jillian Jacqueline, Nikki Lane, Angaleena Presley, Shovels & Rope, the Texas Gentleman, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Colter Wall and more.

Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder closed the festival on Sunday (Sept. 24) with a solo performance that included a show a solidarity with players from all 28 NFL teams. During his set, Vedder walked to center stage and kneeled in front of the audience like many players have done during National Anthem performances in stadiums nationwide.

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Eddie Vedder performs during Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Many players in the NFL locked arms and kneeled with their team mates on Sunday in a peaceful protest against racial and social injustice following criticism from President Donald Trump. On Friday (Sept. 22), President Trump angered many in the NFL by calling for team owners to fire any players who didn’t stand for the National Anthem. Players have been protesting during the anthem since the 2016 NFL season in response to instances of police violence against unarmed black men.

Vedder was among the few Pilgrimage performers to express their political views live onstage at the third annual event. Elsewhere nationwide, other performers took a knee with the NFL on Sunday including Rhiannon Giddens, Meghan Linsey, Pharrell Williams, Dave Matthews and Roger Waters.

Rounding out day two of the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival were performances by Ryan Adams, Band of Heathens, Devon Gilfillian, Valerie June, Kingfish, Pokey LaFarge, Muddy Magnolias, Amanda Shires, the Sisterhood, Langhorne Slim, Mavis Staples, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives and more.

Highlights from the 2017 event will be featured on an all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown airing Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) at 9 a.m. ET.

Enjoy scenes from the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival:

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  A view of the grounds during Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Eddie Vedder

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Eddie Vedder performs during Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival


Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Musicians Justin Timberlake, left, and Chris Stapleton perform at the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for M2M Construction) John Shearer/Getty Images for M2M Construction

Gary Clark, Jr.

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Gary Clark, Jr. performs during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival 2017 on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Kingfish

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Kingfish performs during Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Muddy Magnolias

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Kallie North and Jessy Wilson of Muddy Magnolias perform during Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Valerie June

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Valerie June performs at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Nikki Lane and Jonathan Tyler

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Nikki Lane and Jonathan Tyler perform during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival 2017 on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Karen Elson

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Karen Elson performs at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival


Langhorne Slim

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Langhorne Slim performs at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) rika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Mavis Staples

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mavis Staples performs at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival


Fitz and the Tantrums

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Noelle Scaggs and Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums perform during Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Amanda Shires

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Amanda Shires performs at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives perform during Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Mickey Bernal/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

The Revivalists

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  David Shaw of The Revivalists  performs at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Trombone Shorty

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Trombone Shorty performs during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival 2017 on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Jerry Douglas

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Jerry Douglas performs during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival 2017 on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

The Sisterhood

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Ruby Stewart and Alyssa Bonagura perform at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival


Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers performs during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival 2017 on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers performs during the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival 2017 on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Ruby Amanfu

FRANKLIN, TN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Ruby Amanfu perfroms with Steelism on the Synchrony Financial Midnight Sun Stage at the 2017 Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival on September 24, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee.  (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival) Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival
Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.