Music Midtown, the long-running Atlanta music festival, will not take place this year, organizers announced. The festival was set to take place September 17 and 18. My Chemical Romance, Future, Jack White, and Fall Out Boy were set to headline. In a vague statement, the festival said the cancellation came “due to circumstances beyond our control.” Reports point to one specific circumstance: Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act, a.k.a. the “Guns Everywhere” bill, which allows people to carry concealed guns in public spaces. Since 2011, Music Midtown has taken place in Piedmont Park, where under the law, guns would be allowed. The festival itself has banned guns (a common stipulation in artist and venue contracts), but earlier this year, Phillip Evans challenged the festival’s ban, according to local outlet Saporta Report. His challenge came after an unsuccessful case against the Atlanta Botanical Garden, in the same park; the Georgia Supreme Court eventually ruled in 2019 that the Botanical Garden could enforce a ban because of its long-term lease, but events with short-term leases could not. Music Midtown has a short-term lease for its festival in the park and as such will not be able to enforce a gun ban.
The cancellation came after multiple letters and complaints from Evans to various festival stakeholders, per Saporta Report. (Evans’s targeting of Music Midtown seems to have come after he previously intended to challenge a ban at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre in Chastain Park, over a Steely Dan concert he wanted to attend, but the Amphitheater has a long-term lease.) Even without a legal complaint, sources told Rolling Stone the gun law directly caused the cancellation. Now, for Music Midtown to continue to ban guns, it will need to find private land.