ATLANTA — Businesses who were looking forward to the return of Music Midtown are chiming in about the sudden cancellation of the annual festival at Piedmont Park.
“We’re definitely very bummed out,” said Luz Martinez with Zocalo Restaurant in Midtown.
Music Midtown announced Monday it had to cancel its 2022 festival due to “circumstances behind our control.” Channel 2 learned Georgia’s gun debate is just part of the reason why it was canceled.
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The festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the Southeast and Martinez said her restaurant will miss out on the big crowds.
“Oh, they’re definitely, going to be a loss, for sure,” Martinez said.
Sources tell Channel 2 that a Monroe County man is challenging public events that stop people from carrying weapons in public places.
Channel 2 obtained an email from two independent sources that shows a Monroe County man reaching out to the festival. Parts of the email say, “Should any member of your security team accost a legal carrier of weapons and either prevents their entry or ejects them merely because they are lawfully armed, your company could be sued for damages and all associated legal costs, not to mention Live Nation as well.”
This is not the first time a judge has heard a case like this.
A 2014 Georgia law allowed people to carry guns on public land. The case involved a Georgia man versus the Botanical Gardens. That man argued they could not ban weapons, but a judge said they could because the Botanical Gardens had a long-term lease.
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Many wonder if this case applies to Music Midtown.
John Monroe with GA2A, a state gun rights organization, said probably not, “It’s been the law of for several years in Georgia if a private entity such as Live Nation, the promoter of Music Midtown, if they lease the property where they have the festival from a public entity like in this case the city of Atlanta at Piedmont Park, they have to abide by the rules of pertaining to public property.”
Michael Zilla lives in Midtown and has attended the festival before, “I don’t believe that any weapon should be ever brought into any type of massive festival, because you can’t control chaos.”
Many people are now concerned about future events at Piedmont Park, especially since the Atlanta Pride Fest is coming up, “We have taken Georgia Open Carry Law into account with our security plans for many years now. Although we certainly would like to see more regulations and the ability to limit weapons, just because we think that big crowds and guns don’t mix,” said Jamie Fergerson with the Atlanta Pride Committee.
The Atlanta Pride Committee said they won’t cancel the event, but will have extra security. Meanwhile, those who bought tickets for Music Midtown can get a refund.
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