I woke up on the second day of Pilgrimage Music Festival and decided I didn’t want to hate my kids (aged 2, 4.)
TL;DR – skip to the review at the bottom if you’re wondering about how kid friendly it is.
I really really hated the first day, and I saw no way to not be continually set in a cycle of trying to appease one, then the other, and everyone missing everything and being grumpy because it was too hot, too noisy, too whatever.
This isn’t a Pilgrimage thing, it’s a 4yo thing. I think if we’d just had the one kid along things would have been different, but tethering two children, avoiding heat death, and getting naps in when the car is parked two miles away tended to make things less bearable.
Add in too much weight to pull around with the wagon, too much festival for the old man, and fear that either one would get lost if they ventured more than 10 feet away, and it became a not so happy situation.
We managed to get babysitting as I pled with a friend of ours to watch them as I didn’t want to hate them, and we went back.
Bear in mind Pilgrimage has everything for kids except shade. Any shade is staked out, and exists in a weird spot where you hear all stages at once competing for your attention.
The second day I crowd watched. I’m not one to get lost in the music very much and most of the music was stuff that didn’t require me watching. No really, I did this to get some interviews and stories for the blogs as odd as that seems.
The crowds were not particularly bad as crowds go. Kids were generally safe, nobody was getting plastered off of the few beers they were serving, there didn’t seem to be trample or squish issues, but there did seem to be a lot of overheated kids.
Pilgrimage is a non-smoking event, so of course people would set up next to children playing and proceed to smoke. It’s also a no tall chair or umbrella event but that didn’t stop anyone from classing it up and putting tall chairs in front of people sitting 1 inch off the ground.
Being sans-child the second day we were able to scope out a lot more of the place. there was not anything other than a mist tent and an unlisted watering station that would have helped us the previous day, but at least there was a mist tent available.
We saw several older children enjoying themselves, and parents with a single four year old or younger having fun. I think either we’re weak, or the combo of a 4yo and 2yo and heat was not something we were capable of handling while enjoying anything.
But that’s on us.
OK, a review overall
Pilgrimage Security check
Security is easy to get through with kids or without. This is not a good thing as you’ll hear a lot of people talking about how the metal detectors they’re using don’t appear to do anything.
Day two I was stopped by security for extra search. I’ve got a solid metal phone on my chest, a charger battery as well. I’ve got enough metal in my pockets that there is no way I don’t set off a metal detector. They swiped the metal detector wand all over me and across my wallet and nothing. None of the wands or people stopped ever set anything off.
The wallet contains a metal bottle opener, a battery, a charger cable. I download a metal detector app (works using your phone’s compass,) and yup, everything on me sets off a metal detector. Not theirs. My keys register more of a field disturbance than my knife (tested later,) does as a note.
I stood and watched for a while and nobody who was wanded was ever stopped. People walking by me were commenting on why they would fake this. It was odd. Nobody thought it was real. Nobody walking in thought it was real watching the people who were being wanded.
Food and drink
I heard a non-stop litany of complaints about the food and drink lines. During the two days I was there I never walked into a line except once. Then again perhaps this is because I went during performances and not immediately after.
There’s enough variety for most there. I saw some vegetarian options that looked good, however I was so freaking hot most of the time I didn’t want to eat.
Let me state this clearly – I’ve been to music festivals before and I’ve never been to one that had the sanitation down like Pilgrimage did. There were enough porta potties, they were clean, there was nothing that could have been improved other than adding solar powered fans to cool the insides down and maybe one more handwashing stations.
Besides the changing rooms they offered for babies, this was a place you wouldn’t feel disgusted by. 5 stars.
Everything could be done cash or card that I saw. There were ATM stations, but I didn’t run across anyone who didn’t have Square at least.
I got there early the first day and parked at the elementary school parking. As I had 4 humans in the car it was free. Took about 15 minutes to walk to the event. Left at closing and it took about an hour to get out of the parking lot.
Day two we parked at the VFW which was slightly closer and cost $15. We left an hour or two before closing and had no delays getting out.
I’m told by one of my friends he had to park near a funeral home and walk for a couple of miles. He showed up late however.
As we approached security we heard over and over again to pour out the vodka from your Camelbak and exchange it for water inside. No outside food or drinks are allowed in, however there didn’t seem to be any complaints about the small amount of snacks we walked in with for the kids.
I didn’t see anywhere to get cheap juice or kid drinks. There were some organic juice bars, but meh, my kids want brownish sugar.
Watering spots were not all listed, so feel free to pass up the first one you see which causes major congestion and go for another.
It’s good near the stages. Further back you get higher the chances of getting another band’s music. Not absurdly loud anything we went to. Kid safe about 30 rows back or off to the sides if you don’t want to bring hearing protection.
Fairly PG bands until they started talking about the fucking heat, or JT talking about anything. That man can curse up a storm.
Now, like me, your fun may disappear entirely with kiddos in tow, but there’s not a cleaner, better music venue I’ve been to for kids than the Pilgrimage Music Festival.
If I liked music festivals, this would be the one I liked.