Georgia Gun Laws Force Cancellation Of Music Midtown 2022
The long-running Atlanta music festival Music Midtown was scheduled to return this September with headliners My Chemical Romance, Future, Jack White, and Fall Out Boy. Instead, Georgia gun laws have forced the event to be cancelled. According to a statement from the festival, refunds will be processed within 24 hours.
“Hey Midtown fans – due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year,” festival organizers write. “We were looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon.” As Rolling Stone and Billboard report, the “circumstances beyond our control” relate to the Safe Carry Protection Act, a law rebranded by critics as the “Guns Everywhere” law.
Passed by Georgia’s legislature in 2014, the law allows people to carry guns in bars, churches, schools, private businesses (when permitted by owners), and, crucially, on publicly owned land like Piedmont Park, where Music Midtown takes place. A 2019 decision by the Georgia Supreme Court made it impossible for short-term private events operating on public land to enforce a weapons ban. Music Midtown has always prohibited firearms, and many artists’ contracts require guns to be barred from the premises. But Philip Evans, the gun rights advocates who sparked the 2019 court case, has been leading a campaign to pressure Music Midtown into allowing guns in accordance with the court ruling. It appears to have worked.
Music Midtown promoter Live Nation must now decide whether to move the event to privately owned land in 2023 or shut down the festival indefinitely. It’s a big win for the gun lobby and a huge loss for Georgia music fans.