Music Midtown aftermath causes controversy in Piedmont Park neighborhood

After two days of Music Midtown, the trash piles up.

Frankie Soto

After two days of Music Midtown, the trash piles up.


Year after year, the aftermath of Music Midtown can be a major inconvenience and disruption for residents of the neighborhood.

“It has a significant impact on me because we live at the site and I personally drive to work down 10th Street,” John Webster, resident of the neighborhood, said. “I enjoy the activity surrounding the park, but this is an extreme disruption relative to other events. The everyday park user is certainly prevented from using the park as usual during this two-week period as well.”

The question of moving the festival has been brought up before.

“My memory is the festival has also taken place at the current site of the Federal Reserve Bank at 10th and Peachtree, as well as the Civic Center Parking lot and Bedford Pines area near the Civic Center MARTA station,” Webster said. “Given the disruption and wear and tear on the park, I would be in favor of some rotation of sites in the future if the festival continues.” 

Other people in the neighborhood think Music Midtown is part of the annual tradition and want the festival to stay in the park.

“I’m all for keeping it exactly where it is, as there truly is no other venue better than Piedmont Park for a Music Midtown event of this magnitude.” Nancy Habif, another resident of the park’s neighborhood, said. “Not only does it put Atlanta on the map for one of the top music festivals in the country, but Grady High School tremendously benefits, as well.”

Frankie Soto
A day after the festival ended, there has been a lot of progress with trash collection and packing up the stages.

Piedmont Park receives no money from the festival operators, even though it costs about $3.7 million for maintenance and primary upkeep.

“The event expected 50-60 [thousand] people per day at close to $200 per ticket,” Webster said. “I see no reason the park shouldn’t benefit from these economics. The Atlanta Track Club, for example, I believe has appropriately made numerous contributions to the PPC (Piedmont Park Conservancy)  because it has used the Park as the finish line for the Peachtree Road race on July 4.”

Although the Piedmont Park Conservancy does not receive money from this event, it is given different resources to improve the park.

“In general, all event organizers are responsible for repairs, cleaning and waste management after their city-permitted event,” said Amy Han Dietrich, spokeswoman for the Conservancy. “They must bring the park back to its previous state or better. Before and after the event, the Piedmont Park Conservancy is available to consult about best practices for damage prevention and remediation.”

There are strict guidelines for events to follow. If they fail to comply with the requirements, there is a quick response. 

“The City of Atlanta issues the permits and holds the event organizers to the conditions of their permit,” Dietrich said. “If, for some reason, an event organizer does not meet their responsibilities before, during, or after their event, the Conservancy makes sure the City of Atlanta is aware and is working with the event organizer to make corrections in a timely manner.”

Residents complain of many disturbances throughout the festival weekend, from the music to the party-goers, they said.

 “A lot of young people wandering intoxicated through the neighborhood with plenty of incidents of public urination and vomiting, for example,” Webster said.

Habif believes the benefits of Music Midtown are worth the disruption.

“From my perspective, I’d say the benefits to the neighborhood far outweigh any negatives,” Habif said. “Less cars, guards at the end of our streets, and more walking is a tremendous help to this very congested area.”

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