Atlanta’s Music Midtown 2022 canceled, gun law may be to blame

Music festival was scheduled for Sept. 17-18

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Music Midtown 2022 has been canceled. The festival issued a statement on social media stating the festival had been canceled “due to circumstances beyond [its] control.” It was originally scheduled for Sept. 17 and 18.

Artists confirmed with CBS46 that they were told by festival organizers the cancellation was due to gun safety concerns.

“What was communicated directly to us through various sources was because of gun safety,” said Uni Hunte with Awfbeat, set to make their Music Midtown debut in September.

Awfbeat said they got confirmation of the cancellation from Music Midtown on Monday morning.

“The initial reaction was disappointment just because we have been working on an incredible product we were excited to share with everybody,” said Grant Glazier, the second member of Awfbeat.

“But at the same time, we really do understand the reason for this decision and to know that it was a safety-based choice and that it’s like for the protection of us as artists, we 100% respect it and agree with the decision,” Glazier continued.

CBS46 also talked with 2 Chainz, who said he’d just learned of the cancellation on Monday.

Refunds will be processed within seven to 10 days. Any questions can be directed to Front Gate Tickets.

Social media rumors began Friday stating the festival would be canceled because Georgia law would prevent the festival from banning guns on the premises.

The Georgia legislature passed the “Safe Carry Protection Act” in 2014, which allowed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on public land. The same year, a gun rights group challenged the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s ban on guns. The Garden is in Piedmont Park, the same location as Music Midtown.

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the Garden’s gun ban in 2019, finding that long-term tenants on public land could ban guns if they wished. Short-term tenants such as Music Midtown were not afforded the same right.

Phillip Evans, who lost that Garden case, challenged the festival’s right to ban guns. John Monroe, Evans’ attorney in the Garden case, spoke to CBS 46.

“If a private entity has a long-term lease and by long-term, I mean 50 years or more and basically has complete control of the property, then they can treat it like their own private property and they can ban guns if they want to,” Monroe said.

“You have to pay property taxes on the property if you have a long-term lease. With a short-term lease, you do not have to pay property taxes. It’s sort of a double edge sword. If you want to ban guns you have to pay taxes, if you don’t want to pay taxes, don’t ban guns.”

The Governor’s Office told CBS 46 “We are not planning to comment on a matter, which was litigated between two private parties, at this time.”

Music Midtown originally ran from 1994 to 2005. It returned in 2011 at Piedmont Park and has drawn headliners such as Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Post Malone, and Bruno Mars. Around 300,000 people attended the festival during its peak. Last year, organizers estimated around 50,000 people attended. The 2021 edition was headlined by Maroon 5, Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.

Reaction to the cancelation of Music Midtown

The festival was set to be headlined by My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Jack White. We will update this story as we learn more.

Alexandra Parker

Alexandra Parker joined CBS46 as a Digital Content Producer in July 2022.

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy is veteran journalist with 22 years of television news experience. Adam has been the Consumer Investigative reporter at WGCL-TV CBS46 in Atlanta since 2003.