Atlanta’s 2022 Midtown Music festival was canceled because of a conflict over Georgia’s laws surrounding guns in public parks, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The festival usually attracts tens of thousands of people and big-name musicians to Piedmont Park. Now, Democrats are blaming Republicans for the cancellation due to their support of pro-gun legislation. The two-day long event, which was set for December, featured performances from Jack White, Future and Fall Out Boy. The festival’s social media page did not go into detail about the reasons for the cancellation, but attributed it to circumstances beyond their control. A law signed in 2014 by then-Gov. Nathan Deal allowed Georgians to carry guns legally in a wide range of places, including city-owned sites like Piedmont Park. In 2019, a Georgia Supreme Court ruling upheld the consensus that the 2014 law applied to private events being held on public property.
Event organizers were concerned about lawsuits if they tried to put gun restrictions in place. At the same time, if they did not put restrictions in place, some artists might have refused to perform. The cancellation is a major blow to Atlanta’s tourism industry and music scene. The Midtown Music festival, which began in 1994, has attracted artists such as Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Eminem, Van Halen, Post Malone and Bruno Mars. Last year, 50,000 people attended when Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers and Maroon 5 performed. Stacey Abrams, who is running for Georgia governor, assailed Republican lawmakers, including Gov. Brian Kemp. She said that this “reckless policy” endangers lives and the Georgia economy.