Music Midtown, which was scheduled to run September 17-18 at its longtime home in Piedmont Park, has been canceled. Billboard Magazine reports that industry sources say the likely cause is changes to Georgia gun laws that prevent the festival from banning guns on the festival grounds.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed with two sources that Georgia’s gun laws were behind the decision. Many artists have clauses in their contracts that forbid guns at their concerts.
“Hey Midtown fans — due to circumstance beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year,” said a message posted on the festival’s website. “We were looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon.”
The festival will begin processing refunds for ticket already purchased. Ticket holders were told to expect refunds to be processed in the next 7-10 business days.
Music Midtown began in 1994, and has called Piedmont Park its home for much of its history. Scheduled headliners this year were My Chemical Romance, Future, Jack White and Fallout Boy.
The festival is promoted by Live Nation, which did not provide any additional details.
But gun groups had hinted at potential legal challenges based on a 2019 court ruling expanding Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” law that allows residents the right to carry guns in bars, churches, schools and other private businesses and publicly owned land.
While the 2019 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court, based on a case that involved the Atlanta Botanical Garden, does not force the festival to allow guns into the event, according to the Billboard report, it does create a pathway for ticket holders to successfully sue event organizers if they deny entry to someone openly carrying a gun.
Billboard reported that Live Nation could potentially move the event to privately held land, or could lobby the state legislature to make changes in the law when it returns into session in January.