Georgia gun laws are responsible for the cancellation of the 2022 Music Midtown festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
On Monday, Live Nation announced that the festival – which was set to take place in September – was cancelled, stating only: “[D]due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer take place this year. We look forward to reuniting in September and hope we can enjoy the festival together again soon.”
While Live Nation did not officially provide a reason for the cancellation, sources working with the festival confirmed that rolling stone that Georgia’s gun laws were to blame. Since 2011, Music Midtown has taken place in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, and parks are among the several public spaces in Georgia where guns are allowed to be carried. As a temporary user of the park, the festival does not have the status to replace that law and enforce its own ban. (The festival’s website states that “Weapons or explosives of any kind” are prohibited.)
Atlanta-based journalist George Chidi was the first to report that Music Midtown was likely to be canceled due to gun laws. “It is my understanding that this is because Georgia’s gun laws make it impossible to keep firearms out of Piedmont Park, a condition required by many performers’ concert drivers,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday, July 29.
Music Midtown is about to be canceled. It is my understanding that this is because Georgia’s gun laws make it impossible to keep firearms out of Piedmont Park, a condition required by many performers’ concert drivers. There will be an announcement, I was told by a reliable source.#gapol
— George Chidi — Atlanta target (@neonflag) July 29, 2022
According to the Atlanta news channel SaportaReport, Music Midtown’s gun ban was informally challenged in May by Phillip Evans, a gun rights advocate in the state. The month before, Evans had even lost a lawsuit against the Atlanta Botanical Garden over his right to ban guns from his property. Evans first raised this challenge in 2014, not long after then-Governor Nathan Deal signed a new state law — which had come to be known as the “guns everywhere” law — that expanded where guns were allowed statewide.
Despite that expansion, Evans eventually lost his case against the Botanical Garden, with the Georgia Supreme Court ruling that the garden’s injunction was valid because it leased its long-term property from the city of Atlanta. But because that ruling didn’t mention short-term tenants of public property — such as Music Midtown — Evans claimed he would likely win in a similar case against the festival.
Although Evans never filed a lawsuit, he demanded that Music Midtown lift the firearms ban. He reportedly sent written complaints about this to Live Nation and the festival’s security company last month.