CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After the Music Midtown festival in Atlanta was canceled over a decision linked to gun laws, Governor Roy Cooper suggested the festival be held in Charlotte.
Cooper took to Twitter to say the festival could be held in one of many amazing outdoor spaces in the Charlotte area.
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) August 2, 2022
Organizers of Music Midtown announced on Monday that the two-day event, originally scheduled for next month, is canceled.
Officials cited “circumstances beyond our control,” but many are saying the decision to cancel the festival is linked to recent changes to Georgia gun laws that prevent the festival from banning guns on the publicly owned festival grounds.
That law, officially known as the “Safe Carry Protection Act,” expanded Georgia’s gun statues to grant residents the right to carry in bars, schools, churches and other private businesses with the owners permission.
Officials say it also expanded gun carry rights on publicly owned lans, like Piedmont Park, although there was no legal consensus on whether or not the law applied to private events on city property, like Midtown Music.
That changed in 2019 when the Georgia Supreme Court set new rules on what types of businesses could and couldn’t bar guns on publicly owned land.
Officials say it was decided that businesses and groups that held certain types of long-term leases for state-owned land could legally bar guns, while businesses with shorter term leases could not.
While the ruling favored the Botanical Garden, officials say it created legal issues for festivals like Music Midtown that held short term leases for city parks sites.
The festival, launched in 1996 by Atlanta-based music promoters, has long barred people from bringing guns into the event.
Some artists even say in their contracts that they will not perform in cities or states where gun laws grant attendees the right to bring weapons inside of a concert venue.