Georgia’s gun laws are responsible for the cancellation of the 2022 Music Midtown festival in AtlantaGeorgia.
On Monday, Live Nation announced that the festival was cancelled, stating only: “[D]Due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer take place this year. We look forward to seeing each other again in September and hope that we can enjoy the festival together again soon. The festival was due to take place in September with Jack White, Future, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy headlining. A around 50,000 people attended Midtown music in 2021.
Although Live Nation has not officially given a reason for the cancellation, sources who have worked with the festival have confirmed rolling stone that Georgia’s gun laws were to blame. Since 2011, Music Midtown has taken place at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, and the parks are among the various public spaces in Georgia where guns are allowed to be transported. The festival, as a temporary user of the park, does not have the capacity to cancel this law and apply its own prohibition. (The the festival website stated that “weapons or explosives of any kind” are prohibited.)
Atlanta-based journalist George Chidi was the first to report the likelihood of Music Midtown being canceled due to gun laws. “I understand this is because Georgia’s firearms laws make it impossible to ban the use of firearms in Piedmont Park, a requirement of many entertainer gig riders,” a- he wrote on Twitter last Friday, July 29.
Music Midtown is about to be cancelled. I understand this is because Georgian gun laws make it impossible to ban the use of guns in Piedmont Park, a requirement of many artists. An announcement is coming, I am told from a reliable source.#gapol
— George Chidi — The Atlanta Goal (@neonflag) July 29, 2022
According to the Atlanta media SaportaReport, Music Midtown’s gun ban was unofficially challenged in May by Phillip Evans, a gun rights advocate in the state. The previous month, Evans had actually lost a lawsuit against the Atlanta Botanical Garden on his right to prohibit guns on his property. Evans first issued the challenge in 2014, shortly after then-Governor Nathan Deal signed a new state law — which had become known as the “guns everywhere” bill — which expanded to where guns were allowed statewide.
Despite this expansion, Evans ultimately lost his case against the Botanic Garden, as the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the garden’s ban was valid since he was leasing his property long-term to the city of Atlanta. But because that ruling did not speak to short-term tenants of public property – such as Music Midtown – Evans argued he would likely prevail in a similar case against the festival.
Although Evans never sued, he demanded that Music Midtown lift its gun ban. He was too reportedly sent written complaints about it to Live Nation and the festival’s security company just last month.