The Music Midtown festival in Atlanta has been postponed for this year. Billboard and Rolling Stone received confirmation from festival insiders that the event was cancelled because Georgia’s recent changes to its gun laws made it difficult for the festival to prohibit guns at an event held on public property. The festival’s representatives have been contacted by Pitchfork for comment.
Hey Midtown enthusiasts, we regret to inform you that Music Midtown will not be taking place this year due to unavoidable circumstances. “We hope we can all soon come back to enjoying the event together,” they said. “We were looking forward to rejoining in September.” Refunds are being sent out automatically. The dates for Music Midtown this year were September 17–18 at Piedmont Park. Turnstile, Denzel Curry, Freddie Gibbs, Jack White, Phoebe Bridgers, Mitski, Future, Phoenix, Fall Out Boy, 100 Gecs, 2 Chainz, Tinashe, and others were scheduled to perform.
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The cancellation follows a non-public challenge to Music Midtown’s on-site firearm ban by Georgia gun rights activists. In response to the festival’s restriction, pro-gun activist Phillip Evans told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he contacted Live Nation with “legal concerns.” He referenced a 2019 court decision that said organizations and companies with long-term contracts might legitimately forbid guns on public property.
The decision raises the possibility that private companies with short-term leasing agreements, like Live Nation, may not be able to prohibit guns without exposing themselves to legal risk from anyone turned away because they were carrying a firearm. The last event was in September of 2021, but protests from local proponents of gun rights started earlier this year.
One of Atlanta’s public parks hosts numerous music festivals, including Music Midtown. One Music Fest will take place in October, Shaky Knees will return in May, and Sweet Water 420 will happen in the spring. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp approved a legislation permitting unlicensed firearm concealment in April. Doug Shipman, the president of the Atlanta City Council, described Wednesday as “a terrible day” for the city. He wrote on Twitter, “Public policy has real repercussions and in this case, economic and societal implications on a great tradition.