Atlanta’s canceled music Midtown festival puts lax gun laws under scrutiny


As gun-control legislation stalls at the federal level, developments in the music festival circuit have outlived the impact of state laws: Atlanta’s music Midtown festival, originally scheduled for next month, will kick off Monday in Georgia. It was canceled due to a court decision that prevented the organizers from imposing the ban. Guns on the festival grounds.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer take place this year,” the festival announced in a statement. on its website And social media accounts, “We were looking forward to meeting again in September and hope that we can all be back soon to enjoy the festival together again.”

Music Midtown, which was founded in 1994 and most recently held last September, is scheduled for September 17–18 this year with Fall Out Boy, Future, Jack White and My Chemical Romance as headliners. it was done. The festivals of the last decade took place in Piedmont Park, about 200 acres of land managed by the city.

According to Board And Rolling stoneLegal liabilities stemming from Georgia, both of which cited industry sources. Expanded Pro-Gun Laws was responsible for the cancellation. Atlanta Journal-Constitution officials cited who attributed the decision to “ongoing legal repercussions”. In 2014, Gov. Nathan Deal(R) signed a comprehensive package of bills that expanded where people could carry concealed firearms to include places such as bars, parks, parts of airports and some churches. The Safe Carry Protection Act, also known as the “Guns Everywhere” bill, gave the state more power to undo local gun restrictions.

In the same year, pro-gun activist Philip Evans Atlanta Botanical Garden sued After being taken out of the premises to keep a weapon. The Georgia Supreme Court considered the case in 2019 and ruled that businesses with long-term leases may prohibit firearms on public land; A subsequent appeals court decision from this year It emphasized that short-term incidents had little power to ban guns.

While Music Midtown took place last year, gun rights advocates challenged the arms embargo this time around. Evans argued in May That their legal damages against the garden, which is on a 50-year lease from the city, set a clear path of victory against occupants of short-lived public land such as the festival. He Journal – told the constitution On Monday he alerted the organizers of his “legal concerns”.

Neither Music Midtown nor its owner, promoter Live Nation, responded to a request from The Washington Post for additional comment on the festival’s decision to cancel. Arrived Monday, a member of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ communications team wrote in an email, “We will look into it.”

City council member Michael Julian Bond told The Post on Tuesday that although Live Nation had not confirmed his reason for canceling, he could see why organizers would be hesitant to hold the event without a gun ban: Piedmont Park The lawn in “is exposed on all sides, practically,” he said.

Bond compared the opening of Piedmont Park to the Live Nation-produced Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire in 2017 and killed dozens of people, The proliferation of guns, he said, comes at an economic and social cost from the easing of state restrictions on them.

“As a society, we are trading one set of rights for another,” he continued. “You can carry any kind of insane weapon, but you can’t assemble in peace.”

As gun ownership rises, Georgia seeks to loosen restrictions: It’s the ‘wild, wild west’

The festival’s security measures have been heavily scrutinized since crowds at rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in November killed 10 concertgoers and injured hundreds; One after check It was found that most of the victims in the Houston event were in a cramped area. Morgan Millardo, managing director of the Berklee Popular Music Institute, said he saw an increase in safety procedures implemented throughout the festival circuit this summer. Some instruct the cast and their crew members what to do in the event of an emergency, such as when they witness an incident unfolding from the stage.

According to Millardo the security of the festival tends to be “quite black and white”. She added that including specific safety measures in a rider – or a contractual set of requirements for an artist to perform at a venue, which local journalist Jorge Chidi said. pointed on friday Music as a possible reason for the impending cancellation of Midtown – is standard practice. What changed here was the laws surrounding the venue.

“It’s an open conversation in the music industry right now: How do we keep everyone safe?” Millardo said. “This stuff happens unfortunately, and it’s something we need to pay attention to. Promoters are doing everything possible to keep their events safe, and artists are doing everything possible…

The cancellation of Music Midtown isn’t the first time the entertainment industry has drawn attention to Georgia’s controversial laws. In 2019, Brian Kemp (R) signed a “heartbeat bill” after Gov. effectively banned most abortionsHollywood Film Producer announced its intention to boycott Georgia, Due to the state’s generous tax credits, the studio did not comply with the threats. Most studios remained silent again last year after Kemp signed the voting restrictions into law, which, as CNBC noted at the time, drew criticism from major corporations such as Coca-Cola and Delta. As the backlash continued to build, Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest.

Stacy Abrams, the Democratic candidate against Kemp for Georgia’s gubernatorial seat tweeted a long statement Condemning his “dangerous and extreme gun agenda” on Monday evening. The nixed festival is “evidence that their reckless policies endanger Georgia’s economy as well,” the statement said, noting later that the event would “damage Georgia’s economy.” Proven $50 million.” Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, who was due to perform at Music Midtown, retweeted Abrams’ post.

Kemp’s office did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

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