The Georgian state’s restrictive gun laws are to blame for the postponement of the Music Midtown festival in Atlanta in 2022.
Announcing the cancellation of Music Midtown on Monday, Live Nation just said, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year.” We hope to get back to enjoying the event with one another soon and are looking forward to rejoining in September.
Although Live Nation did not formally state why the festival was canceled, individuals connected to the event told Rolling Stone that Georgia’s strict gun regulations were to blame. Piedmont Park in Atlanta has hosted Music Midtown since 2011, and parks are one of the many public places in Georgia where weapons are permitted to be carried. The event lacks the authority to disregard that rule and enact its own prohibition as a transient user of the park. Weapons and explosives of any type are forbidden, according to the festivals website.
The first person to report the potential that Music Midtown will be postponed because of firearms prohibitions was Atlanta-based journalist George Chidi. He remarked on Twitter last Friday, July 29, “My understanding is that it is because Georgia’s gun laws make it illegal to restrict firearms from Piedmont Park, a requirement needed by many musicians concert riders.”
The cancellation of Music Midtown is imminent. My impression is that this is the case because Georgia’s gun laws make it impossible to enforce the requirement in many artists’ concert riders to ban firearms from Piedmont Park. I have heard from a credible source that there will be an announcement. #gapol
The Atlanta Objective by George Chidi (@neonflag) July 29, 2022
According to the Atlanta news source SaportaReport, Phillip Evans, a supporter of gun rights in the state, formally challenged Music Midtown’s weapons restriction in May. Evans had actually filed an lost a court case against the Atlanta Botanical Garden the month prior regarding its right to prohibit weapons on its land. Evans brought up this issue for the first time in 2014, shortly after then-Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new state law known as known as the guns everywhere bill that broadened the locations in the state where weapons were allowed.
Evans ultimately lost his lawsuit against the Botanical Garden despite that expansion, as the Georgia Supreme Court determined that the Gardens’ ban was legitimate given that it had a long-term lease on its land from the City of Atlanta. However, Evans contended that because that decision didn’t address temporary occupants of public property, like Music Midtown, he would probably succeed in a similar lawsuit against the festival.
Even though Evans never filed a lawsuit, he insisted that Music Midtown remove its restriction on firearms. Even as late as last month, he spoke with Live Nation and the event security provider about it.