Georgia’s Music Midtown was trending on Twitter recently when rumors began to surface that it might get canceled. The yearly event was set to take place on September 17 and 18, featuring music from My Chemical Romance, Future, and Fallout Boy. The promoter, Live Nation, scheduled the event for Piedmont Park, a public park in downtown Atlanta.
Yesterday, Music Midtown confirmed the rumors and announced the cancellation of the festival. Neither Live Nation nor Music Midtown have released a statement about why the event was called off. However, prevalent media outlets reported that Georgia gun laws prevent the promoter from legally banning firearms from the property during the event.
Media outlets like Rolling Stone and Billboard reported that the cancellation is the fault of Georgia gun laws and 2A advocates. Specifically, the Safe Carry Protection Act expanded the ability to carry on state-owned land. Considering the law has been in place since 2019, the promoter should have been aware of the restrictions long before booking the venue.
Democratic Nominee for Governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams complained that the event’s cancellation would cost the state’s economy $50 million. She blamed Governor Brian Kemp for his “dangerous and extreme gun agenda” and stated, “It’s shameful, but not surprising, that the governor cares more about protecting dangerous people carrying guns in public than saving jobs and keeping business in Georgia.”
A pro-Second Amendment organization, GA2A, challenged Atlanta Botanical Garden at Piedmont Park in 2014 for enforcing a “gun-free zone” on state-owned land. Ultimately, Atlanta Botanical Garden won the case.
As part of that 2019 Supreme Court decision, Georgia’s high court clarified the carry law – businesses with long-term leases on state-owned land, like Atlanta Botanical Garden, may enforce gun restrictions, and those with short-term leases may not.
Therefore, according to this 2019 ruling, two-day festivals like Music Midtown do not hold a long enough lease to enforce gun restrictions on the property.
Since the festival’s launch in 1996, firearms have been banned from the event. In previous years, Music Midtown enforced illegal gun restrictions at Piedmont Park without consequence.