‘Circumstances beyond our control’: Atlanta music…

Gun Rights

The organizers of Atlanta’s Music Midtown, which draws tens of thousands of people to Piedmont Park every September, announced Monday that this year’s festival has been canceled for “circumstances beyond our control.”

The two-day outdoor festival that started in 1994 takes place about a mile northeast of downtown and is one of the city’s largest cultural events. In 2021, more than 50,000 people attended. This year’s event, which had been set for Sept. 17-18, included Jack White, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Future as headliners.

“A sad day as Atlanta’s @MusicMidtown is cancelled,” Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman tweeted Monday. 

Festival promoter Live Nation did not immediately respond to USA TODAY about why the event was canceled.

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USA TODAY also reached out for comment from multiple artists on the lineup, as well as representatives for the City of Atlanta and Piedmont Park.

While Music Midtown producers haven’t shared a definitive reason for nixing the event – which returned in 2011 after a six-year hiatus and missed 2020 because of the pandemic – the state’s gun law is being tagged as a factor by so.

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Members of the Georgia gun rights group GA2A told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they previously made Live Nation aware of the 2014 state law that allows Georgians to legally carry firearms on public land; Piedmont Park is owned by the city of Atlanta. A 2019 Georgia Supreme Court ruling included wording that would hamper private groups, such as a concert promoter, from restricting guns at events held on public land. 

Music Midtown, according to the festival website, prohibits “weapons or explosives of any kind.” 

Pro-gun activist Phil Evans told CNN he emailed festival organizers in May, advising them of Georgia gun law, and asked the city to deny Live Nation a permit for the event ”as they have publicly stated an intent to violate settled state law.”

“The law is on our side,” fellow GA2A member Jerry Henry told the AJC. “And we spent a lot of time to make sure it was on our side. So if Music Midtown tried to restrict licensed firearms owners from bringing guns to the festival, it would have been a violation of the law.”

Music Midtown organizers posted on Twitter that refunds will be processed within the next 24 hours and could take up to 10 business days.

Contributing: Melissa Ruggieri and Edward Segarra

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

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