Music Midtown cancellation causes concern for patrons and businesses


Bria Brown

Music Midtown has been cancelled this year due to Georgia’s New Gun Laws. In the past this is what the entrance to the festival would look like.

Hannah Silver

Music Midtown has been canceled this September due to Georgia’s new gun laws

Music Midtown announced the cancellation of their festival on Aug. 1 via their Instagram page and other platforms. Many viewed the cancellation as unexpected.

“I feel like the cancellation of Music Midtown was very unexpected and if something as big as that can get shut down, then many other things can too,” North Atlanta senior Lizzie Havey said. “I think that a lot of smaller artists have lost an opportunity to appeal to such a large audience, which may make it harder for them to get their names out there.”

Students look forward to Music Midtown each year.

Woodward Academy student Ryder Watkins was saddened by the cancellation of the festival.

“I was most looking forward to seeing people from many different schools who I don’t normally get to see, as well as meeting new people who live in Atlanta that I don’t know,” Watkins said. “Music Midtown is a great place to interact with many different people and to experience great music with them. I’m sad that this was taken away from us this year.”

Park Tavern owner Paul Smith expresses his concern for the effect the Georgia gun laws might have on big events such as Music Midtown and how the festival’s cancellation will impact surrounding businesses. 

“Canceling A-list performers in public spaces is potentially a big issue,” Smith said. “A-list artists may not perform in an environment where there are 50,000 people who have the ability to potentially be armed with guns.”

Senior Walker Land was upset at the decision due to this being his last year of high school. Being able to be with all of his friends and having the opportunity to go to the festival one last time was important to Land.

“I was upset because I wouldn’t get to have fun with my friends,” said Land. “I was looking forward to listening to live music and hanging out with my whole friend group, and now I won’t get to have that this year.”

While the news of no longer having the festival this year was upsetting, Watkins understands why the decision had to be made.

“I was very disappointed that Music Midtown got canceled. I already had my ticket and was planning on going with a lot of my friends,” Watkins said. “But I don’t blame Music Midtown–I know that [Music Midtown staff] didn’t want to cancel it, and that it was for our safety.”

Havey said she is concerned for the well-being of restaurants and small businesses which will be affected by the cancellation.

“I think lots of hotels and vendors that were relying on Music Midtown have been screwed over,” Havey said. “Most of all, thousands of people who usually don’t use Marta take the train during Music Midtown, so Marta definitely lost the opportunity to make lots of money.”

Director of Sales at Park Tavern Lauren Blaska said Park Tavern has worked with Live Nation, a global entertainment company that heads Music Midtown, to provide food for the staff working the festival. Live Nation fully commits to Park Tavern for the week when the [Music Midtown] crew comes in, builds, sets up and then leaves.

“For the last several years we have provided catering services to the crew,” Blaska said. “Depending on the day, we provide as many as 750 lunch and dinner meals to crew including stage crew, security, sanitation, logistics teams.”

MARTA spokesperson Stephany Fisher said, in the past, MARTA would work in coordination with Music Midtown to ensure the proper amount of transportation necessary for people during the busy times leading up to, during and after the festival.

“MARTA does communicate with event planners, organizations and agencies ahead of large events to share event schedules, projected attendee numbers and communication platforms,” Fisher said. “This ensures we provide the appropriate level of service and are able to communicate with our customers and visitors.”

Fisher said the festival’s cancellation will cause not cause a big enough loss in revenue to cause concern for MARTA. 

“MARTA does not anticipate significant farebox revenue loss due to the cancellation of Music Midtown,” Fisher said. There are additional large-scale events in September, including the return of Falcons football, the Chick-fil-A kickoff college football games, DragonCon, Black Gay Pride, Atlanta United matches and others where MARTA experiences higher than average ridership and revenue.”

Smith is planning an end-of-summer party hosted by Park Tavern in the hopes of bringing the community together and getting exposure for Park Tavern. 

“To combat the cancellation of Music Midtown we’re going to have an end-of-summer party and just have a typical great day in Piedmont Park with our regulars and hope that we can have a fabulous final weekend of the summer,” Smith said. “When you have an event canceled at the last moment like this, it impedes our ability to produce weddings and special events. We have a lot of different ways of serving the public and we will have a lot of fun at our end-of-summer party.”

Smith wants to see steps taken to ensure that people no longer have to risk their safety when going to large events like Music Midtown.

“I hope that the open carry unbridled gun legislation will consider some restrictions for gatherings of large crowds, even if it’s in public space,” Smith said. “I personally do not believe that having large gatherings, hypothetically 50,000 people carrying arms is a good idea for promoters, artists and our attendees.”