The 2022 edition of Music Midtown was set to take place at Piedmont Park this September, but it was recently canceled due to Georgia’s gun laws.
Tensions began in 2014 when Governor Nathan Deal signed the Safe Carry Protection Act, which allows concealed firearms in bars, parks, parts of airports, and some churches.
Even after this bill was passed, Music Midtown still enforced a weapons ban at the festival park. This mostly went unchallenged for the first couple of years, but now, some citizens are speaking against the ban because state laws prevent a prohibition of firearms in a public park.
With guns most likely becoming unavoidable at the festival, many artists will exercise opt out clauses because their contracts have gun safety requirements to ensure their own safety and the safety of their fans.
“As a society, we’re trading one set of rights for another,” said city council member, Michael Julian Bond. “You can carry whatever kind of crazy weapon you want, but you can’t peacefully assemble.”
The cancellation of the festival also signals a significant economic loss in Georgia. Stacy Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, cited statistics from the Atlanta Business Chronicle that estimated the festival to be worth $50 million to the local economy.
This is a sizable chunk of economic activity that is lost. The city as a whole will not notice much, but the entrepreneurs who depend on these types of events to support their business will definitely feel the effects.
This is the first major event that has been canceled over gun law concerns in Georgia, and it most likely will not be the last. Gun laws are not subject to change too quickly, so this exact same problem will threaten Music Midtown next year as well as any other event that is a short-term occupant of public space and does not want guns.