2022 Atlanta Music Midtown Festival CANCELED after Georgia state law allows 'guns everywhere'
Georgia gun laws will prevent festival organizers from forbidding guns on festival grounds, which are publicly-owned
According to a statement given by festival organizers, the long-running Music Midtown festival at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, slated for September 17-18 with artists My Chemical Romance, Future, Jack White, and Fallout Boy, has been canceled. Several media outlets reported that festival organizers had canceled the event on August 1, Monday, due to recent changes in Georgia gun regulations that preclude the festival from prohibiting guns on the publicly-owned festival grounds.
"Hey Midtown fans — due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year,” organizers announced on the festival's official 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's website also stated, "Refunds will be processed automatically within the next 24 hours to the original method of payment. Please allow 7-10 business days for the refund to be processed by your bank." Organizers had planned to keep festival-goers safe by prohibiting guns on the festival grounds. Concerns about potential lawsuits from gun rights activists had them thinking otherwise, and it didn't help that organizers felt artists would not attend if guns were allowed, according to HIPHOP DX. Music Midtown also posted on their Instagram page to update the fans and festivalgoers. The post caption conveyed the same message stated on their official website.
Fans expressed their disappointment on Instagram after learning that the festival had been canceled. One wrote, "literally gonna go cry in a hole for a while." One user wrote, "every day i wake up, music midtown disappoints me." "I bought these tickets for the lineup this year. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 y'all better get the same bands." wrote another.
Hey Midtown fans - due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year. We were looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon. pic.twitter.com/cI5M37UNW8— Music Midtown (@MusicMidtown) August 1, 2022
One user on Twitter wrote, "Better safe than sorry. See what our new open carry gun laws in Georgia are doing? Music Midtown is canceled because you can open carry in a public park. The world is becoming the Wild West." Another wrote, "i’ve been waiting 3 years to see mcr here a moment of silence for the worst day ever."
Better safe than sorry. See what our new open carry gun laws in Georgia are doing? Music Midtown is cancelled because you can open carry in a public park . The world is becoming the Wild West. 🤷🏽♀️ #Atlanta #GunControlNow @BrianKempGA 👎🏽@staceyabrams 👍🏽 https://t.co/L4DebwtAa2— Triple Vaxxed Val 😷 (@vlrprks1) August 2, 2022
i’ve been waiting 3 years to see mcr here— 𖤐 Matt 𖤐 (@Based_Alta) August 1, 2022
a moment of silence for the worst day ever https://t.co/kJSlmjvs0U
What do Georgia's gun law say?
While the Music Midtown statement made no mention of the reason for the cancellation, industry sources told Billboard that the change in Georgia's gun laws could put organizers in legal hot water for preventing "safe carry" gun owners with tickets from entering the festival with their guns because the event is held on publicly owned grounds.
Billboard discovered that pro-gun rights groups had been emailing and commenting on the festival's social media for months, implying a legal battle for festival organizers following a 2019 verdict that expanded the 2014 Georgia law that critics had called the "Guns Everywhere" rule. The law, officially known as the "Safe Carry Protection Act," now allows residents to carry guns in pubs, churches, schools, and other private enterprises with the approval of the owner. It also permits the carrying of firearms on publicly-owned territory, such as Piedmont Park, where the Music Midtown festival was to be held. There had been no formal agreement regarding private events held on publicly owned land, but the 2019 judgment revealed that a challenge could be lodged.
As part of its 2019 decision, Georgia's Supreme Court established a standard for how the Safe Carry Protection Act should be enforced by private enterprises operating on public territory. Enterprises and organizations having long-term leases on state-owned land may legally prohibit guns, although businesses with shorter-term leases could not. While the verdict supported the Botanical Garden, it raised legal concerns for festivals such as Music Midtown, which held short-term leases for city park locations.