Music Midtown does more harm than good


The Southerner


Does Music Midtown hurt or help the Grady community?


On Sept. 19 and 20, the wildly popular Music Midtown festival took place in Piedmont Park, right across from Grady. The festival attracted more than 150,000 people, including many Grady students. Although it’s hard to find someone who didn’t enjoy themselves at the concert, the negative effects of Music Midtown on Grady overrule the positive, especially when you consider that Grady barely gets anything in return.

Construction for the concert began as early as two weeks before the festival. This caused a lane on 10th Street to be closed, clogging up traffic going in and out of the student parking lot. I can only imagine how long it would take a student to get into the 10th Street lot on an already crowded weekday morning. During the weekend of the festival, 10th Street is blocked off, as are many side streets. As a concertgoer this year, my plans were not affected because I was in the park, but for many neighbors, going anywhere on Music Midtown weekend was a nightmare.

Luckily, the weather held out this year, causing the damage to the park to be not nearly as bad as last year, when it rained the whole weekend. Even given the perfect weather, Piedmont Park was left trampled and nearly ruined, due to the amount of people running, dancing and jumping during the festival. Even weeks after the festival, it’s still obvious that the park is in worse condition than usual.

This year, the Midtown Neighborhood Board voted down the application for Music Midtown 2014 because of traffic concerns, noise and safety. Their vote didn’t hold the power to move Music Midtown from Piedmont Park, but it certainly says something about how the community feels about the festival.

Sound checks occurred on the Thursday and Friday before the festival and could be heard throughout the school. Because I was attending Music Midtown, the sound checks got me even more excited for the weekend and made it harder to focus on my work. I can see, however, how a teacher would find this frustrating and distracting, especially if there was a test planned for that day.

While Atlanta Public Schools gets paid by Live Nation (the company that organizes Music Midtown), little or none of the money goes to Grady specifically. I think this is unfair, because no other APS school is as affected by it as we are. While I do think Music Midtown is a wonderful thing for the city and Piedmont Park in particular, the effects of it on the Grady community are too extreme for us to not get more compensation. I don’t think the festival should be moved, but Grady should directly receive money from Live Nation. Music Midtown itself is not a harmful event, but it can definitely benefit from improved logistics and thinking more about how it affects the surrounding community.

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