Atlanta’s biggest music festival, Music Midtown, is now off the table. On August 1st, the Live Nation-hosted event announced its cancellation with only a little over a month until the festival, and refunds will be given out accordingly. This year’s headliners included Future, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Jack White.
While the heartbreaking news may seem out of the blue to some festival goers, others saw it coming as early as several months ago. So here’s why it’s suspected Music Midtown got canceled, and why it’s because of gun laws.
If you’ve ever been to a music event of any kind and you’ve skimmed over the rules that were emailed to you, you know that weapons are usually extremely prohibited. Music Midtown is no exception, and the organizers made it clear that guns on the public festival grounds were a no-go.
However, Georgia has a law — 2014’s “Safe Carry Protection Act” — that gives residents the green light to have guns in bars, schools, churches, and publicly owned land. Piedmont Park, where Midtown was taking place, fits that bill. Where it gets tricky is that Midtown is privately owned. So the question was raised of whether the law truly applied to the festival.
In 2019, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that businesses that had long-term leases for state-owned lands could ban guns legally. However, those with short-term leases, perhaps a short-term music festival leasing out Piedmont Park, can’t. Basically, this new refinement means that if gun owners bought tickets to Midtown, they could sue (and win) if they couldn’t get in.
But here’s the thing: Midtown has always banned guns. Safety is the number one reason, of course. What’s more, some artists state in their contracts that they will not perform at events that allow guns. This isn’t to mention that it would probably be difficult for security to enforce this law at the festival.
With canceling the event, Live Nation organizers can rethink the festival, where it’s held, and ensure the safety of attendees with a solution in their control. The company can also lobby in the state legislature for a change in laws.
There have been some reports of refunds being given out for another Live Nation fest, but as of now, it’s still on. We’ll be waiting to see how that one turns out. 2022 festival season is almost over but there’s still a few left to check out.
Photo via Live Nation