Pilgrimage Festival Co-Founder Kevin Griffin’s Divorce: Affairs, Drugs, Money & the Festival

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Kevin Griffin, lead singer of Better Than Ezra, and co-founder of The Pilgrimage Music Festival at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, once told CMT the festival was “middle Tennessee’s best kept secret.” Another of the singer’s best kept secrets was what was going on behind closed doors in his marriage to Laurel Griffin – until now. She filed for divorce from Kevin over two years ago, and it was finalized and signed by the Judge earlier this month, giving a full view to the public of what was once closely guarded secrets.

Festival’s Finances

Of the many interesting findings, in a 61-page final divorce decree, was the information revealed about the finances of the company that presents The Pilgrimage Festival, Pilgrimage Presents, LLC. The judge found Pilgrimage Presents, LLC has ‘no value’, citing “Pilgrimage Presents, LLC, had a shareholder equity of negative $1,885,855, as of December 31, 2017, and a substantially greater amount as of December 31st, 2018, due to the loss experienced in 2018. Kevin Griffin has a substantial personal liability associated with the parties’ interest in the business as the guarantor, with two other individuals, on a $1 million note payable to SunTrust Bank, which matures in March of 2019.

How They Got Here

The couple had been married since October of 2001. In 2017,Laurel cited ‘irreconcilable differences as grounds for filing the divorce case, however Kevin counter-filed, citing both irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct on behalf of Laurel, as grounds for his claim. Before the ink dried, Laurel filed an answer to Kevin’s counterclaim denying inappropriate marital conduct, then filed an amended complaint alleging inappropriate marital conduct, and adultery by Kevin, as additional grounds for her suit. Of course, Kevin Griffin met her with his own new amended complaint, which claimed that he had not committed any inappropriate conduct, but if he did do that, or commit adultery, it would be in response to Laurel’s own misconduct and adultery. Did you follow that? Because we’re just getting started. Let’s skip the next several months, and know that no issues were resolved during the mediation period.

The Affairs / ‘Extramarital Relationships’

While the couple lived in New Orleans, Laurel had an affair with her personal trainer, Don Mullican, which lasted 4 months, and she says they had sex on 4 to 6 occasions. All the sexual escapades occurred in the marital residence, while the 6-year-old child was asleep. Kevin found out via phone records, left the home for one night, then the couple reconciled, and court records say Kevin then condoned her misconduct.

On Three different occasions during the marriage, Laurel kissed another woman, none of which were of significant concern to Kevin, and he condoned the behavior. In another incident, Laurel had sex with another female, Stelina Bicker, who helped the family with the children on occasions. It was after a Better Than Ezra performance. She told the court it was a three-way-encounter with Kevin, but the court did not find her credible on that portion of the claim in the final decree.

Kevin was also unfaithful during their marriage. He engaged in a ‘number of one-night stands’ earlier in the marriage. During the recent trial, he told the court that “his sexual encounters were in response to Laurel’s infidelity with Mr. Mullican. Laurel only became aware of his infidelity after she read Kevin’s personal journals, which he prepared as part of his step-work in a 12-step recovery program. At trial, the Judge found that his infidelity had nothing to do with Laurel’s choices, as Kevin downplayed the earlier encounters.

Kevin admitted to engaging in an extended extramarital relationship with Erica Krusen, who is an employee of musicare – a charitable function of the Grammys. There’s greater details on page 8 of the divorce case below, including details of how Erica met and interacted with Kevin’s wife, Laurel, and how the sexual affair was discovered during text messages on a flight to Italy.

The Money

Laurel had never held a steady job, even before the marriage. She had a series of near minimum wages jobs, other than one $10/hour job, from which she was fired for stealing $125. Once they were married, between 2000 and 2015, her total wage earnings were $316. She then worked part-time for the Pilgrimage Music festival, making limited earnings in 2016 & 2017. On the flip side, Kevin’s income has supported them both throughout the marriage. A 2017 tax return shows a total combined income of $541,848. Records show Kevin Griffin has earned an average of $29,479 per month, over the last three years.

The Drugs

During the marriage the couple admits heavy drinking by both, and drug usage, both together and separately. Laurel admits to using cocaine on two or three occasions. She also says she tried ecstasy and marijuana with Kevin when they lived in New Orleans. During Bonnaroo, she said her friend Brant Wood supplied her with gummy bears containing THC, which she consumed. Laurel also contends that her friend Michelle Edwards supplied her with Lorazepam pills during the 2017 Pilgrimage Festival, since Kevin’s paramour would also be present at the festival. Kevin found these pills in her purse.

Kevin is now a recovering drug addict, who admits to heavy alcohol and cocaine usage early in the marriage, in addition to mushrooms. The final decree details him staying up all night, missing flights, driving high, flying on planes high, sailing high, attempting to score drugs from his doctor, missing a Grammy party, yell at band mates, unable to perform during a concert, missing TV appearances, and other consequences.

The Divorce

Earlier this month, the court granted a divorce to Laurel, finding that Kevin was “either in the throes of active addiction through the use of alcohol and/or drugs or involved in extramarital relations with Ms. Krusen and other women, throughout the marriage. The court also found Kevin was dishonest with the court concerning the nature, extent, and reasons for his infedelity until the proof was incontrovertible.

The court found that Laurel’s vocational skills are ‘non-existent’, and has ‘no ability to earn income’ in the future.

The judge found Pilgrimage Presents, LLC has ‘no value’, citing “Pilgrimage Presents, LLC, had a shareholder equity of negative $1,885,855, as of December 31, 2017, and a substantially greater amount as of December 31st, 2018, due to the loss experienced in 2018. Kevin Griffin has a substantial personal liability associated with the parties’ interest in the business as the guarantor, with two other individuals, on a $1 million note payable to SunTrust Bank, which matures in March of 2019.

Kevin’s music royalties will be split, and Laurel will receive an average monthly payment of $4,377 for the next 8, at minimum. Laurel will also received the remaining proceeds of an adjoining property lot – $476,482, the 2015 Mercedes GL 350, and multiple other money assets, detailed in the divorce below.

Kevin will pay alimony in futuro in the amount of $6,000 per month, which began on March 15th, 2019.

Below is a full copy of the final divorce decree, you can download it directly here.

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