Earlier today, Live Nation announced the cancellation of the 2022 Music Midtown festival, which was set to take place in Atlanta this September, with multiple sources citing Georgia’s weak gun laws as the cause of this year’s cancellation. Since 2011, the annual festival has drawn crowds as large as 50,000, serving as both a highlight for the Atlanta community and a source of revenue for the local economy.
Music Midtown is held each year in Piedmont Park, but thanks to Georgia’s weak gun laws, festival organizers are unable to enforce a prohibition on firearms during the event — a key stipulation for some of the artists who were slated to perform, according to reports.
“Shame on Georgia lawmakers,” said LaTayla Billingsea, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Georgia. “They have already forced us to grow up in constant fear of gunfire, and now, events we’ve been looking forward to all year are being canceled because organizers know that they can’t keep us safe in Governor Kemp’s Georgia. They have put politics over public safety for years, and now Georgians are paying the price.”
“Georgia lawmakers and their ‘guns everywhere’ agenda that forces guns into public places doesn’t just make everyone less safe, we’re now seeing it also has negative economic impacts,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Year after year, the agenda of extremist lawmakers is to increase gun manufacturers’ profits while limiting the safety and freedoms of Georgians, the majority of whom oppose these dangerous and deadly laws.”
As gun violence continues to impact communities across the country, music artists, festival organizers, and event promoters are stepping up and speaking out in support of gun safety. Just this past weekend, Lollapalooza, one of the country’s largest annual music festivals, partnered with Everytown to include gun safety messaging on signage in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Georgia has some of the country’s weakest firearm laws. Despite the state’s ongoing gun violence crisis, earlier this year, over the objections of gun violence survivors, gun safety advocates, and 70 percent of Georgia voters, Governor Brian Kemp signed permitless carry into law, allowing people to carry concealed guns in public with no background check and no safety training. The concealed carry permit requirement was Georgia’s only remaining foundational gun safety law, and in eliminating it, Governor Kemp and state lawmakers opened the floodgates to even more gun violence.
In an average year, 1,693 people are killed by guns in Georgia. Guns are the leading cause of death among the state’s youth population. Gun violence costs Georgia $23.9 billion each year, of which $597.8 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Georgia is available here.