Live Nation called off the upcoming Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta this week. The event, scheduled for September 17-18 had been announced in the spring with performers including My Chemical Romance, Future, Jack White, and Fallout Boy.
No official reason was given for the festival cancellation, but widespread reporting blames the dashed event on lax firearms laws in Georgia, which would have made it impossible for Live Nation to enforce a ban on firearms that it requires at events it operates. Gun advocates had been pushing back against that policy, which ran into conflict with a state law that allows guns to be carried in most public places.
The specific “guns everywhere” law cited allowed firearms to be carried in a wide array of public places where they were previously banned. It had been unclear whether or not festivals could put rules in place banning firearms in public spaces, but a ruling in a 2014 lawsuit by the Georgia state Supreme Court in April held that a short-term tenant such as Live Nation couldn’t supersede the permissiveness required by the state law in public places.
“If you’re leasing public property on a short-term basis, like for a weekend festival or something like that, then you have to abide by the same rules that apply to the public entity,” GA2A Vice President John Monroe told 11 Alive. “So in the case of Piedmont Park, which is owned by the City of Atlanta, the city cannot ban guns there.”
“I don’t really know if that is why Live Nation canceled Music Midtown, but certainly was their decision to do that,” Monroe said. “They could have just followed state law and not banned guns.”
The loss of the festival will reportedly cost the economy of the city of Atlanta an estimated $50 million in business generated by festival attendees. Last year’s festival reportedly attracted some 50,000 to the city. Music Midtown was first held back in 1994.
Last Updated on August 4, 2022