Music Midtown Canceled Due to Georgia’s Gun Legal guidelines, Highlighting Authorized Grey Space: NPR


A crowd attends the Midtown Music festival in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on September 16, 2018.

Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP


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A crowd attends the Midtown Music festival in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on September 16, 2018.

Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP

Organizers of Music Midtown, a major Atlanta festival, announced Monday that the two-day event was originally scheduled for next month. Canceled. Although the official announcement cited “cases beyond our control,” local media reported the reason for the cancellation was a surprise: Georgia’s gun laws.

According to Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University, this scenario presents a problematic gray area in Georgia’s gun laws.

Generally, if a gun owner wants to bring a weapon to a public park or some other public place, state law protects that person’s rights, Lytton said. Private properties, such as a private university or a business, are allowed under certain circumstances to prevent a person from carrying a gun in, he said.

“And now we have an ambiguous case: What if you had a private concert but in a very public venue like a city park? It was a private event? private or is it a public place? And the answer to that is somewhat unclear,” Lytton told NPR.

Music Midtown is held at Piedmont Park – a public park not far from downtown Atlanta. Set titles include My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Future and Jack White.

Based on Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionSources close to the decision say Music Midtown has withdrawn its ban on the event because of a recent court ruling that could limit organizers’ ability to ban guns during the festival.

The news agency said a recent Georgia appeals court ruling made it difficult for private groups to restrict gun owners from bringing their weapons to “short-term events” on public land. The appeals court’s decision specifically concerns the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s ability to ban guns.

Music Midtown organizers did not specifically comment on those reports and did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.

Organizing Committee posted on the canceled event’s website and social media: “Hello Midtown fans – due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year. We are looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we all can. can come back to enjoy the festival together soon.”


Billie Eilish performing in Music Midtown 2019.

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Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP


Billie Eilish performing in Music Midtown 2019.

Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP

Doug Shipman, president of the Atlanta City Council, alluded to the state’s gun laws. He tweeted on the abolition, said: “Public policy has real impacts and in this case – economic and social impacts on a grand tradition.”

In the case of Music Midtown, organizers are looking to use a public venue (Piedmont Park) but will be treated as short-term tenants not long-term rentals of the property, Lytton said. If they continue to implement a gun ban for the event, they could run the risk of a lawsuit from someone who wants to challenge the policy.

Lytton said other businesses in Georgia are in a similar situation. For fear of litigation and because of uncertain legislation, private organizations that organize events in public venues have chosen to lift any gun bans.

“I guess [Music Midtown] the organizers are probably worried about what will happen in court and so they want to find some sort of resolution first and issue a statement on whether they will lift the ban. will stick to their guns, and see what happens through litigation,” Lytton said.

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