Georgia Politicians Blame Gun Laws – Billboard
Political leaders are weighing the cancellation of Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival on Monday after event organizers announced the 2022 edition would no longer take place. Industry sources say Billboard which the festival was forced to cancel due to recent changes to Georgia’s gun laws that prevent the festival from banning guns on state-owned festival grounds, such as Piedmont Park, owned by the city, where Music Midtown is held.
Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams took to social media to voice concerns about the cancellation, calling the situation “shameful, but not surprising.” Abrams cited the loss of Music Midtown’s $50 million economic impact as a major concern and took aim at his political opponent and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
“Brian Kemp’s dangerous and extreme agenda endangers the lives of Georgians, and the cancellation of Music Midtown is proof that his reckless policies are also endangering the Georgian economy,” Abrams said in the statement. “Rather than respond to increased gun violence by tightening security, he has doubled down on weakened gun laws.”
The cancellation of Music Midtown will cost the Georgian economy $50 million.
It’s shameful, but not surprising, that the governor cares more about protecting dangerous people carrying guns in public than saving jobs and keeping Georgia in business. pic.twitter.com/8cAECHE7IF
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 1, 2022
In April, this Governor Kemp signed legislation this made it legal for Georgia gun owners to carry a concealed handgun in public without a state license. The Live Nation-owned festival did not say whether the bill Kemp signed or other recent gun easing legislation in the state was the cause of Music Midtown’s cancellation. The festival released a statement on August 1 stating that “due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year.”
As Billboard previously reported, pro-gun groups had been emailing and posting comments on the festival’s social media page for several months, hinting at possible legal challenges from gun groups. following a 2019 ruling expanding a 2014 Georgia law that critics had dubbed “Guns Everywhere”. This law expanded gun rights on public lands, such as city-owned Piedmont Park, although there was no legal consensus on whether or not to apply. the law to private events on city property, such as Midtown Music.
President of the Atlanta City Council Doug Shipman also expressed concerns about the cancellation of the festival and what it might mean for upcoming events in Atlanta like Sweetwater 420 and Shaky Knees. Shipman said rolling stone“I don’t know if this is an unintended or intentional consequence of the policy [that it could affect access to other local arts and culture events taking place on public property]. But hopefully as we move into the next state legislative session in January that the state legislature looks at this and really thinks about, is this the kind of impact we want to have ? Or can we create a policy with exemptions for major festivals and ticketed events? »
Shipman has directed his concerns primarily at the economic impact of the festival — which a 2014 report from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Research Center cited by Atlanta Business Chronicle estimated the total economic impact of Music Midtown at nearly $50 million and an Atlanta-area-specific economic impact of $20 million per year. “We know that people come from elsewhere and they don’t just come to the festival,” he said. “They arrive a day early, they stay a day late, they stay in hotels and do other things that create economic activity. So certainly it’s tens of millions of dollars.
Shipman continued, “If festival owners don’t feel like it’s safe to do business in Atlanta, Shipman fears they’ll take their events to neighboring states. “We are always in competition with other cities, not only for music, but more broadly for economic development.”