Atlanta suffers economic blow from loss of Music Midtown

Billie Eilish performs on stage during Day 2 of Music Midtown 2019, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. The festival released a statement Monday morning saying that the 2022 Midtown festival would not go on as planned. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Invision/AP)

One of Atlanta’s largest annual festivals has been abruptly canceled without an official explanation, but many are speculating the state’s gun laws are to blame.

Organizer Live Nation announced Monday that Music Midtown will no longer take place next month “due to circumstances beyond their control.”

The festival’s policy prohibits firearms at the event held in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, but Georgia law permits guns in public spaces, including parks.

Festival-goers will be receiving refunds, but many are still upset at the major loss of income and entertainment for the city.

“Obviously, there are small businesses that are part of this, hotels that are a part of this, and more broadly, the economic impact here, I think, is on the music industry,” said City Council president Doug Shipman. “We’re known as a music capital and so it’s a real impact when the music city is not able to put on these kinds of musical events for the public.”

Atlanta City Council president Doug Shipman. (Courtesy of Doug Shipman)

City leaders have expressed concern at the loss of revenue. Shipman joined “Morning Edition” to talk about the economic effects of the cancellation.

Christopher Alston contributed to this report.