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Pilgrimage Festival 2021: Best Moments + Performances

What a weekend! Despite the odds, Pilgrimage Festival went off as a massive musical success. Sure there were some transportation issues, lengthy food lines and other problems but, all things considered, the 2021 year did not disappoint. As always, there was music for every type of music fan. These were a few of our favorite moments.

Black Pumas

Black Pumas absolutely stole the show this weekend. The Austin band’s soulful set was somehow even better than I imagined it would be. Frontman Eric Burton’s vocals were impeccable and he’s surrounded by amazing musicians and vocalists. They played under a scorching sun on Sunday afternoon and people couldn’t help but groove along. The dancing turned to screams when Burton invited Dave Matthews to join them for “Dirty Dirty.” This was not a set that Pilgrimage festivalgoers will forget anytime soon.

Cage the Elephant

This wasn’t a set from Cage the Elephant. It was performance art. The band’s frontman, Matt Shultz, brought every song to life and he did it in a tight bodysuit that looked like a shield of armor. Depending on the song, there also might be a matching full face mask. It was a pretty epic hour with “Skin and Bones” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and it was so good to see them back at Pilgrimage!

Maren Morris

Pilgrimage signified the end of an era for Maren Morris. The Girl era ended with an incredible performance that came to a bittersweet ending for Morris. “This is like a hometown show,” she said onstage before telling the crowd it was her last show until she has new music. She delighted fans with a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” and brought her husband Ryan Hurd out for a duet of their song “Chasing After You.” This just served as a reminder to never miss a Maren Morris show.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys closed out night one of Pilgrimage Festival and, as always, they absolutely rocked. This time they also brought the blues. In between their own classics (“Howlin’ for You,” “Lonely Boy,” “Gold on the Ceiling” and more), The Black Keys played covers from their Delta Kream album. For some of the songs, they were joined by guitarist Kenny Brown and bassist Eric Deaton – a special treat for music lovers! My favorite was their live version of R.L. Burnside’s “Going Down South.”

Better Than Ezra

When a Better Than Ezra set starts off with “King of New Orleans,” I know I’m in for a treat. It was so nice to see the New Orleans band commanding the big stage with a 70-minute performance. They performed crowd favorites like “Desperately Wanting” and “Good” and brought Emily West out for a “Don’t You Want Me” cover that turned into a singalong. This Saturday afternoon set was a ton of fun!

Eating a Fresh Banh Mi

Banh Mi & Roll Factory was an unexpected find on my search for Island Noodles. I ordered a Saigonese Banh Mi, one they call a favorite. It’s cucumber, pickled veggies, jalapenos, cilantro, homemade hollandaise, and protein. That’s served in a freshly baked Vietnamese baguette. Every single piece of the sandwich was fresh from the baguette to the jalapeno. I’ll definitely be visiting their Fatherland location soon!

Dave Matthews Band

Festival closers, Dave Matthews Band, brought what looked like the biggest crowd of the weekend. Fans donned DMB attire and danced the night away, singing along to every song. My personal favorite was, as it always is, “Ants Marching.”

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