Organizers on Monday posted that "due to circumstances beyond our control" they would no longer be hosting the event. The website said that ticket holders would receive refunds in the next 24 hours. The two-day festival has been a staple of Atlanta since 1994, and this year, it was supposed to be held next month in the heart of the city at Piedmont Park.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that the festival annually generates $50 million. The article also mentioned that hotels and restaurants in Midtown Atlanta will likely feel some of the biggest impacts.
A possible reason for the cancelation points to Music Midtown's weapons policy that bans weapons "of any kind," conflicting with the state's gun laws. It's legal to carry a gun in Georgia parks.
According to an attorney and the Vice President of GA2A , John Monroe, it all comes down to public and private property.
The Supreme Court of Georgia determined that the Gardens held a 50-year lease, which was considered an "estate for years" lease. Under the lease agreement, the garden can operate the publicly-owned land as private property and "exclude persons carrying firearms."
"If you're leasing public property on a short-term basis, like for a weekend festival or something like that, then you have to abide by the same rules that apply to the public entity," Monroe said. "So in the case of Piedmont Park, which is owned by the City of Atlanta, the city cannot ban guns there."
Organizers of the music festival have not confirmed that Georgia's gun laws were what canceled the festival but said "due to circumstances beyond our control," they would no longer be hosting the event. However, sources who work for the festival hosted by Live Nation told Rolling Stone that it was Georgia's gun laws that led to the event being canceled.
"I don't really know if that is why Live Nation canceled Music Midtown, but certainly was their decision to do that," Monroe said. "They could have just followed state law and not banned guns."
11Alive has contacted Music Midtown and Live Nation to ask if the decision to cancel the festival was connected to gun laws in Georgia. We are waiting to hear back.