There is no place for guns at music festivals. It seems obvious, right? Now imagine a world where going to a music festival comes with the uncertainty of whether or not one of your fellow attendees has a gun. This is what a number of Georgia gun rights groups are arguing for and is reportedly the main issue that Atlanta’s Music Midtown Festival organizers were faced with when making the decision to cancel the 2022 edition of the festival.
Slated to take place from September 17th – 18th, Music Midtown had a jam-packed lineup ready to rock that featured Jack White, Future, My Chemical Romance, Phoebe Bridgers, Phoenix, and Fallout Boy among the artists across the two-day festival. But now as Billboard reports, pressure from gun rights groups operating under the guise of Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act — which allows citizens to carry weapons on public land, which Piedmont Park is on — has crushed any hopes for a weekend of music, community, and celebration.
“Hey Midtown fans – due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year,” a statement on the festival’s website reads. “We were looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon.”
While the details of the Safe Carry Protection Act don’t necessarily require the festival to allow guns into the festival, it does leave them open to being sued by gun-carrying ticket-holders who claim that their legal rights are being violated. It’s hard to imagine any scenario where an attendee would need a gun at a music festival. Given that earlier this year, reported gunshots at Lovers & Friends festival in Las Vegas led to a frenzied attempt to flee by attendees who feared for their lives, and that back in 2017, a shooter opened fire on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Vegas, killing 50 people, the optics of this push by gun rights groups feels especially cruel.